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Hi. Welcome back, everyone. I’m your host, Sarah Southwell, Founder of groWise Be Well, a holistic and inspirational lifestyle company for families of all shapes and sizes. GroWise be Well, empowering you.
Hello everyone, it’s Sarah Southwell with groWise Be Well. I hope this podcast finds everyone getting into their summer with some cool pools or some inside cold drinks, whatever it is that helps you cool off in the heat this summer. We aren’t quite in the thick of it yet are we? Even though it is coming up on the Fourth of July here in Montana. It’s just now started to get hot. So, those of you that have been in the heat for a while, hang in there. I’m sure that you’ll get some relief sometime soon. Everything always shifts, and we always see something come along, a breeze or something to bring us some comfort.
Well, today, I really wanted to talk about my son, who is a very big boy. He 6’4” and 250 pounds, and he is muscle, and he is just intelligent. He’s an amazing person. He is only 16 and he has such ambitions in his life and I really enjoy his company. He is my son that was diagnosed as having a sensory processing disorder when he was five, five and a half. He was the main driving factor in my husband and I deciding to buy a farm and focus on our family and our health, and our children’s health, and growing most of our own food, because we found a lot of correlations between environment and food in how a child heals and recovers and displays their best qualities, whether they are on the autism spectrum or not.
He is now 16. It has been 11 years that we have been here, almost 11, that we’ve been here on the farm. It has been 10. We have done so many things throughout those years to help ourselves and our community and others thrive and have access to raw goat milk and vegetables and permaculture pasture, raised beef and pork and eggs, and things of that matter. If you want to check out more of that, I certainly did a podcast, gosh, it must be now two years ago, that I did a podcast on my background, what we’re doing, about the farm, ABC Acres is the name of that.
But today, I really wanted to kind of talk about my son and where he’s at. I’m not going to divulge embarrassing things that he’s overcome, but when he turned about 12 and a half, he really made this shift, this like invisible shift, that we had been working diligently with oriental medicine, and nutrition and diet and herbs, and a specialized educational environment, all of these things to help him thrive and learn how to live a fantastic life, with or without sensory processing disorder.
I mean, obviously, we have two younger children that are not on that spectrum. Well, actually, my youngest might be. But really, these principles apply for anyone. At about 12 and a half, he really kind of all of a sudden it was like this switch going off and he stopped some of the behaviors that he’d been having and some of the reactions he was having. He really kind of, all of a sudden, seemed like he was past a lot of the challenges that he was facing every day. We reduced some of the oriental medicine and we still rely on it. He still gets bloody noses. He still has this feeling that something stuck in his throat, which is called [inaudible 0:04:41], and we still treat that. There are other things that we’re still aware of and we still use diet and proper learning environment, and fresh air, and clean water, and all those good things to continue to help him and everyone thrive.
But he really has fallen in love with baseball. Last year, he joined a traveling team and he really gives it his all. He’s the guy who, when you need someone to come through, he will do anything in his power to come through for you. He wants to be the best at everything he does. And he doesn’t stress about it, thankfully. He doesn’t beat himself. I really encourage my children to, please, be their best friends, because we don’t need to beat ourselves with guilt and anger when we make mistakes.
I am pleased to say that my children have so far not done that and, when they do, I lovingly, say, “Hey, we really don’t need to do that. I know that how you’re feeling. I’ve been there with that disappointment before, but the only thing we can really do in those moments is really think about it, meditate on it, and figure out what we can do to not have that happen again or try our best to not have that happen, again, if possible. It wasn’t even in our control,” right?
Anyway, he’s into baseball. Last year, he joined that traveling team. He was awful. He will even say that he was awful. I watched my 11-year-old play in league this year and his older brother was there watching one of his games. I said, “Wow, he’s really good. He’s about as good as you were at that age.” And he said, “He’s better than I was at that age.” He said, “He’s better than I was when I was 15.” I’m like, “Oh, come on, now. That’s a little hard on yourself.” But he really does recognize that he had a lot of learning to do.
This is a child who didn’t ride an upright bike, the two-wheeler. He had to ride a recumbent bike, or should I say he chose that because his neurological system was, I guess, a little mis-wired in a way. He didn’t have the proprioceptive skills that most children do and he didn’t have the equilibrium, and he never enjoyed riding an upright bike, because it just scared the heck out of him because he never had any real balance. He didn’t like skiing for the same reason.
When he started playing baseball at the age of 12 and a half, 12 and a half, yeah. Then, we missed a year for COVID, and then he got back into it at the age of 15. But when he started, I mean, I remember just tears coming down my face, because here he was catching a ball. I mean, this is a boy that couldn’t ride a bike or ski, and here he was catching a ball. That’s eye-hand coordination, and that is something he didn’t have most of his life.
He didn’t have that sensory, he couldn’t laser in on that thing, that ball coming at him. He literally was the little boy out there on the field playing soccer because his parents made him be active, right? “Oh, kids, you all got to have a sport, you’ve all got to be active.” Little did I know that he really couldn’t even track the ball. He’d literally be standing there in the middle of the field, like looking around, like, “What am I supposed to be doing? Where’s the ball?”
Here he was, playing baseball, and he was he was succeeding, in my opinion, because he was actually able to hit the ball, every once in a while, with his bat, and he was actually able to catch the ball every once in a while, too. Then his skills increased as his age increased, and his proprioceptive skills increased. Here he is now, he’s 16, and he’s in Legion ball, and he is first baseman on the B team. He has been a designated hitter and he’s very, very, very proud of that.
He is the guy that will get to practice an hour early, because he feels like he didn’t play well in the last game. He wants to constantly learn. He wants to know how to be better. He loves baseball so much he wants to be an MLB player someday. That is his goal. That is what he wants. For all the people that have said to me, “What? Are you kidding me? Have you told him that that’s almost impossible?” No, I haven’t told him that. I’m not going to tell him that. I don’t believe that.
I believe that, if that’s what he really, really wants, he can work really, really hard. If, some day in the next six years, he decides it’s not something he wants anymore, and whether that’s because he’s not advancing or whether that’s because he simply decides there’s something else that’s more interesting for him in life, well, then that will cross his path. But right now, this is his goal. That’s what he’s putting his sights on and I applaud that.
I say, always set your goals super high, because dreams are good. Dreams keep us alive. Dreams keep us fueled and excited about life. There’s something we’re working for. So, he has really just – I mean, loved the sport. Part of that is because his father is really into baseball, and his father loves the Astros, the Houston Astros. He’s a huge Houston Astros fan, and he watches all the games. We go down to Texas, once a year, at least, to watch a game.
I believe that my boys have figured out that that has been a way for them to connect with their father. But also, I think that they all really love the sport. My middle son has natural talent at it. Granted, he has natural talent at most things. He is one of those golden children that he’s pretty good at almost everything he does. So, he’s going to have to find what really makes him passionate and I hope he finds that and just goes for it because, whatever that is, he will excel at it.
Now, my 16-year-old, he has to work really hard and he does. So, this year, he starts out with Legion ball. Last year he wasn’t so good, and this year, he’s better because we got them some coaches to come and work with them in the offseason, in the batting cages, and in our backyard. So, we kind of kept this going so that they could get better and feel great on the field during a game. Well, I noticed my 16-year-old at the beginning of the season, doing wonderful. I mean, he hit a home run. He was the designated hitter. He’s a power hitter. He’d get up there and he’d whack it out. He had the swagger when he’d get up to the plate. All the kids in the stadium be like, “Oh, Atticus”, and they’d be so excited to see Atticus, and then his own team, not all of them, I don’t think really super appreciate him because he’s younger than some of them and it’s his first year. Yeah, he’s a rookie, I guess.
But I think most of them, thought he’s a pretty good player and he really felt like he was a pretty good player. I’m using past tense because, unfortunately, in the past month, I have started to see him decline and I’ve watched it and I’ve thought, “Gosh, this isn’t really going the direction that we need it to go”, and he’s seen it. So, he’s actually asked the coach to come in earlier and work harder, and more. I finally put the pieces together and realized, because this has been so long since we’ve really actively treated his neurological system, that I realized it’s actually his neurological system. It’s showing signs that it is under great pressure from him, and it’s from a lot of different places. It’s not from just playing ball, because that is a love of his. That really fires him up.
I have watched him, over the past year, make decisions about his nutrition that I have not agreed with. I started letting him make those decisions, because I realized that he would be driving soon, and that he would be going out in the world on his own, and he would be making decisions for himself when mom isn’t around. I need to let him start playing with some of those poor decisions while he’s in my house, while he’s around me, so that he can have me as this, should I say, like his angel, looking out for him, saying, “Gosh, you’ve got a bloody nose tonight. What do you think that’s from?” and helping him recognize that his choices could be leading to the outcome.
Instead of him moving out and he behaves poorly with his nutrition and plays video games all day and blah, blah, blah. Then, there’s no one there to help him learn that maybe some of those decisions weren’t really the best. Instead, he just says, like a lot of people do, “I don’t feel well,” or “I’m sick.” Or “I hate my job,” or “I hate what I’m doing.” Or “This sucks,” right? Instead of literally having someone there saying, “Hey, so I know you love cheese. But is there any way that it could be that you’re eating dairy?” “Ah, no, no, not at all.”
I started in a year ago saying that to him and, just two days ago, after this last weekend of playing ball, where he played miserably, and he will tell you that. I’m not judging him. He played miserably, and he couldn’t catch the balls and he couldn’t hit them. And that right there was the last straw for me, because I realized that his hand eye coordination had slipped. It is because his neurological system is – it’s special.
He was born with these extra powers, but to bring them out, he has to take really good care of himself and he’s got to figure that out now, because I think when he stopped having a lot of the sensory processing issues years ago, about four years ago, I think, as we all do, when we start to feel better, we forget about what made us feel bad to begin with. Then, of course, it takes us probably a couple more times of making ourselves feel bad, and then we finally say, “Okay, that’s it. I’m not going to do that anymore. Because now I really get it, I can see the pattern. Every time I do that, this happens, and I don’t want that anymore.”
I think he’s finally at a place where he realizes his choices for nutrition have led him to poor performance and frying out his neurological system and confusing it and dumbing it down and making it numb, and all of those things that he was feeling before. When he was getting daily acupuncture treatments, he would tell me that he had brain fog. It was like this fog that would come down over his brain and he couldn’t think. He couldn’t make simple decisions; what to wear, what to have for dinner, what show he wanted to watch. He couldn’t make simple decisions. With acupuncture and oriental herbs, he has been able to clear out that brain fog.
Well, now we’re going back to some herbs. He had an acupressure treatment this morning, and I think that he should, for the rest of his life, probably have a monthly acupuncture, acupressure treatment. I do. I do them just to stay in the sweet spot, right? Because I fall out of balance and I need to get back in the stream, where it’s easy, less resistance. We’re on it now, but it’s been very interesting to me to watch him and to allow him to make these decisions for himself. Some of the decisions have led to the place where he realizes he’s not playing ball well anymore.
I’m so glad that he we found this out while he was still living at home so that he can learn from this experience, and know that, man, look at the beginning of the season. You can play ball and you can play ball well. This past weekend is not an indicator of your abilities. This past weekend was an indicator that you’re eating too much dairy and gluten. I removed both of those because they’re like gasoline and fire for any child who has any kind of learning or behavioral challenges, and that goes for the autism spectrum. It goes for the ADD spectrum. It goes for anyone, really, who’s having issues with processing information.
He’s been eating those in combination. He’s been getting less sleep. He has been playing video games more. I allowed him to take his video game player this past weekend to the hotel room, so that he could play a baseball game with his good friend who shared a room with him. I thought that would be nice for him to do. I heard from some of the other parents that they let their children do that and the boys really liked to do that during their downtime, in between games. It’s the only game besides a driving game that I let my children play. So, I thought, alright, that’s okay with me.
But now after this weekend, he and I have had conversations about the fact the reason why we limited the video game playing years ago for him, Tim would show them these video games like Zelda. I mean old school stuff, like pixels. This is not the new stuff. He was working off of a really, really old Nintendo and it was like the little doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, the little pixel guys. Even that, after 30 minutes, all of our children displayed behavior that was unbecoming.
I realized then that it was too much; it’s too much for their sensory systems. They couldn’t handle that. We started letting them play some games like the baseball game, and Minecraft, because, again, it’s one of these things where I know they’re going to grow up and move out, and they’re going to make the decision to play video games all day. In fact, one of them told me that when they grow up and move out, they’re going to sit in their apartment all day, and play video games. I thought, “Oh, my gosh.” I’ve got to start letting them have some more video game time, so that they learn balance while they’re under my roof, so that I can, again, be their angel and be like, “Hey, so that behavior that you’ve got going on, that’s probably because I let you play too much video game today. So, we’re not going to do that tomorrow, right?” They can actually then draw those lines and figure out what’s good for them, and what’s not. What’s going to get them what they want, and what’s not.
Thankfully, my oldest son is very level-headed and he’s very devoted to baseball, because he can directly see how his decisions are impacting his dream, and he will do whatever it takes to see his dream happen. He has already fully agreed to going back to gluten free, dairy free, and to reducing his video game time to one, two days a week, for 45 minutes each. He’s really willing to make the changes. He was willing to go in and get acupressure today. He’s going to take the herbs. He said that, at practice last night, he said his coach was super excited because he was hitting the ball better than he had in a long time.
Within two days of correcting this, now, the gluten still in his system, so is the dairy. It’ll take a little while to get both those out, but we’ve already started to get a handle on his neurological responses, just with some more sleep, and removing the video games, and altering his diet and getting him some herbs. I realized that this is his life going forward. He’s going to have to learn when his body is rejecting the choices he’s making. He has a little bit more sensitive of a body. His body is going to respond stronger than most people’s to their poor choices. But all of us are making choices every day that our body may or may not like. Because our bodies are so amazing, and they heal themselves all the time, we don’t always see that our bodies don’t like those choices until it’s really serious.
I invite everyone to really take this time to think about the choices they’re making, and whether or not they think that that’s really going to help them to achieve their goals. Is this going to get you where you want to be? If your goal is to simply get out of bed in the morning and have energy, that’s a great goal. Even if you’re not out there trying to make it into the MLB, if your goal is to just wake up and have energy, well, what can you do to help yourself do that? Is the extra cup of coffee really something you should do? Or maybe you should see a naturopath or a doctor of oriental medicine. Or maybe you should get more sleep or stop reading that book on your device at night and go back to the old school actual paper book. Or maybe you do an hour bedtime routine or you cut out certain things of your diet.
Anyway, who knows? Who knows what the choices are that you know we need to make in a day. They’re all absolutely individual to every single human on the planet. There is no prescription for everyone or even categories of people. That is so old school and old fashioned, it doesn’t work anymore. So, it doesn’t matter what height and weight you are as to how healthy you are. We now know that. Really this is so individual, and we can affect real change in ourselves by making some simple changes.
Anyway, I invite everybody to kind of learn from my observation of my son working through how his body is responding to his choices, and think about how we can have the most optimum day possible by making choices that are good for us.
Alright. Good luck on that one, everybody. That’s a little homework, huh? But, well, everybody, have a really nice, cool week. Get some nice – I like to get a nice little shrub with some sparkling water and get some ice in my glass. It’s so delightful. So, I’ll be thinking of you all. I’m having a nice sparkling shrub drink tonight, which, by the way, a shrub is just a fruit syrup with apple cider vinegar. So, it’s nonalcoholic, and it’s super, super refreshing. Alright, everybody. I will see you next week, probably. Well, I won’t see you. But I’ll be here next week. Hopefully you will be too. Bye.
Thank you again for tuning in. If you’ve missed any of the previous podcasts or just want to listen to some of them over and over again, which I hope you do. Please go to our website. They’re all there for you and so easy to listen to from that platform, gwbw.com. www.gwbw.com. GroWise Be Well, empowering you to live your best life.