Brighten Up
It's a Batman Rollerblade Party

January Blah

Oh! Look at the date. Just one more day 'til February Blah. Yay. 

I've been locked in a somewhat all-consuming battle for health, both in brain and body and in the bodies of my children, who are every day getting sent to classrooms utterly decimated by the flu, a variety of stomach viruses and God knows what else. I'm stuffing their backpacks with donations of hand soap and antibacterial wipes and crossing my fingers our flu shots hold, but today I still woke up with a cough and a sore throat and an overwhelming feeling of blaargh. 

Meanwhile, poor Ezra's developed migraines and is getting regularly knocked down with them, which oh my God. As a fellow migraine sufferer (and thus, likely the genetic reason he's getting them), I am soooo sorry, buddy. He can't even swallow pills yet and here I am, dosing fucking adult-sized migraines with grape-flavored liquid. (Yes, we're working with his doctor to make sure there's nothing else going on, but all signs so far just point to: Wow, migraines at nine years old. That sucks!)

And since we're on the topic of hollow, useless apologies to my children, I have another one to offer on behalf of the Brain Thing: Holy hell, have I been a total asshole to them. For months. A year, even. Maybe more than that. Now that I'm getting where I need to be, therapy and medication wise, a level of patience and even-tempered-ness has re-emerged from the depths. It actually takes me by surprise, when I realize my default reaction to low-level kid annoyances is no longer an angry snappish answer. Or yelling! I'm...not...yelling at them so damn much. And when I do, I actually HEAR MYSELF and can mentally step back and be like: Wow, you sound like a dick, knock it off. 

Anyway, to my boys, who have never expressed an iota of interest in reading anything I've ever written about them here, let it be known that I put it on the Official Internet Mommyblog Record that I was not a bastion of perfect parenting via too many Instagram filters, I was an ill-tempered ragemonster who was irritated all the time and yelled too much and I am very sorry. You are awesome little humans and I really do love being your mother more than anything, even at 7 in the morning when we're out of cereal and you can't find any paa-aa-anntss.

Also, I pledge to work harder to be the kind of mom who actually deserves birthday cards like this one:


Although I feel like the accompanying portrait was surprisingly accurate:







Oh, I have so been there, and I think/hope that what the kids will choose to remember is the calmer, more level-headed mom, the one who recognized that shit was getting out of hand and not going well and chose to tackle the program and make things better, mostly for them (but damn it is also nice not to be a ball of anxiety 24 hrs of every day again). In the immortal words of the one bad mother podcast: you are doing a great job.


Ohh migraines suck eggs. I recommend trying ginger. Whenever i feel my brains are going south, i eat a few lumps of ginger from a jar. (The sweetened kind in syrup, fresh ginger is waaay too sharp) it takes off the edge and at times reverses all of it. I hope he gets better over time, poor kid.


I've been reading for years, and this might be my first comment!

I'm right there with you, with the sweet kids who don't deserve such a crabbypants mom. Depression, anxiety and some ADHD going on. But at the end of the day, they hug me and tell me they wouldn't want it any other way. You got this, Amalah.


Oh Ezra my heart hurts for you. As a fellow migraine sufferer I'm terribly sorry you are going through this, but I know you are in GREAT hands with your mama and the doctors! I hope you find something that works for your migraine symptoms SUPER soon!

Mary Ann

Poor kid!

My migraines started around that age and the trigger was undercooked nightshades. It started with my stepmother's eggplant parmesan. If they're totally cooked, it's fine. If I have a little potato or pepper that's slightly underdone, I'll probably be okay. If I eat undercooked eggplant (tempura being the mostly likely source), I'm absolutely done for the day. Anyway, I didn't put that together until I was thirty-three years old (because the key is in how cooked it is, so I was like "no I eat baba ganoush and canned tomatoes all the time and I'm fine..."), so I thought I might throw it out there, just in case it's useful.

Kari Weber

As a fellow migraine sufferer with also no discernible trigger, I offer my sympathies. Sometimes I feel like mine might be triggered by hormones (probably not Ezra’s problem! Lol!) and light. Wearing sunglasses religiously when outside (polarized) helps me. Also, hydrate! The solution to pollution is dilution! Hugs.


Ugh! So sorry that your family is hit by illness. It’s the worst.

I wanted to pass on a tip that our pediatrician taught us for teaching kids to swallow pills-my son started a daily meditation back when he was 6 and this trick saved us!

First off-don’t do this in a rush-do it some weekend day (and maybe teach all 3 boys at once! That’s what we did).

Get a package of tic tacs and have them learn to swallow those. Tic tacs are small, taste good and if they can’t swallow them it’s no big deal. Once they learn that and can swallow them well, graduate to m&m’s. Have them learn to swallow those. Once they have those down move to skittles. My six year old mastered this in one day. My eight year old took several days and then needed a refresher a year later when we got some pill antibiotics (my 8 year old didn’t take a daily pill like his brother).

This is a fun way for them to learn and really helped us. Good luck!


Oh lady. I'm right there with you. When my husband starts noticing me being to bitchy towards our daughter he knows to make sure I've been taking my medicine and/or to have me talk to my doctor about switching things up. We're working with a counselor who suspects my munchkin has ADHD so I've been able to try to temper my responses by reminding myself that she most likely can't help it and screaming at her won't help anyone.

TLDR; I empathize and thank you for helping me not feel alone.


Ezra might not get so lucky... but I started getting migraines when I was around 8, and they got progressively less frequent and I outgrew them when I was in high school. So you never know, perhaps he will be dealt a slightly easier hand! Hope everybody feels better soon.


Mine started at 9 (which is also when my period started) so mine are usually hormone related but I second the sunglasses suggestion and also throw out there that a little caffeine sometimes helps if I catch it early (like excedrin). The drs encouraged it back in the day but not sure if that’s frowned upon now. I was on Imitrex by 6th grade. Hugs and good thoughts!


My intense sympathies - I second Cheryl, above - thank you for making me feel not alone.
(and, Cheryl, by TLDR, did you mean your comment was too long? I feel for you, too, and appreciate your experience!)

Heather Laura Clarke

I feel like I've been a monster to my kids, too, ugh. I've adjusted my dosage (down, not up) and seem to be in a better place over the last couple of weeks. More patient, more living, and less psycho-mom who snaps at anything. xo

Julie C Kilbride

For what it's worth, my 8 year old was having chronic headaches and magnesium has done wonders. Bio calm 1/2 tsp/day dissolved in water - he'll take the lemon flavor plain or I'll mix it with juice. It's a legitimate CDC listed headache treatment
Good luck with finding something that works for him.


Oh, one of the above commenters NAILED teaching kids to swallow pills. We just did this for my 8 year old son last week! He was REALLY scared of it though, so we started with sprinkles and graduated up to mini M&Ms. Which are the same size as his pill! Took 2 days :)


So...does that note state that "You eat people"??!!

Probably not, but I prefer my interpretation.


Ike doesn’t write; he was just born last week. Nice try, forger-lady.


My little 8 year old gets migraines. Not often, maybe twice a year, but they really are a kick in the teeth. He also can't handle do pills so we dose up with the kid's Tylenol, put him in the darkest, coolest room in the house and administer cold wash clothes to the head and neck. It all sucks mightily and I'm sorry Ezra has to deal with it too!

Laura in Michigan

Ezra, 9?? I think you may have miscalculated or something, because he was JUST BORN!!


Poor Ezra! I’ve had chronic migraines since I was 14 and it’s the pits. I’ve got one now. I hope they can find some preventatives that aren’t turbo powered. 9 is so young to deal with the side effects of some of these meds. Migreleif is a supplement I take that you may want to check out. It has magnesium, B12, and CoQ10. There’s also a formula with feverfew and butterburr. Maybe that would help and not be too upsetting to his system. I’ll be keeping him in my thoughts and hoping for a positive update soon. ((Hugs))


Another bit of hope, I had migraines at 9 and largely outgrew them by...11? By high school for sure. I have had sinus headaches so bad they were maybe a migraine, but honestly just a handful of times in the 30 years since. My pediatrician prescribed a synthetic caffeine pills that really helped, so maybe something to ask about? Even now, I use a Benadryl, a Sudafed and a caffeinated soda to deal with a serious headache and it usually works.


Sorry to hear about the migraines. We get them too and fluctuating temperatures / pressures can bring them on as well as too much dairy or soy.

I finally got my kid to swallow pills with this thing called Pill Glide. It's a strawberry spray that tastes good and helps the pull glide down. Totally works.

Hope he feels better soon. Congrats on the not yelling thing too ( I'm going thru the same thing...)


In case random advice from the internet is at all helpful to you- my husband gets terrible (read: debilitating) migraines that are triggered by 1. Sunlight 2. Irregular blood sugar 3. Irregular sleep. Basically, if any of his sleep or eating patterns change, his brain will revolt Dramatically. He had a series of migraines a few years ago that helped us figure this all out. They still get him occasionally - especially when we travel - but as long as he eats regular meals (and watches his blood sugar), maintains a regular sleep schedule, and wears shades in direct sunlight, he can keep it under control. It’s kind of a bummer, but learning all your body’s tricks totally helps!!!!! Ezra has plenty of time to figure this out. Wishing you all the best.

Mary Casey

I started getting migraines when I was in early elementary school, and I so feel for him. I was always helped by lying on a heating pad, for some reason, although my apparatus of choice now is an ice pack or cool washcloth over my eyes. Also, ice held at the base of the skull in the back might help.


Long-Time reader, first time commenter (I think).. Reading this post feels like looking in a mirror.. I suffer from anxiety and finally got treatment for it this summer and it's been life changing for me.. I didn't realize that the overwhelming feelings I was feeling 90% of the time weren't normal.. (doesn't everyone feel a weight on their chest, like they are failing all the time, overwhelmed at the drop of a hat) I was exactly like you.. I would rage at my kids for the smallest things.. and while I knew that my reactions weren't ok, I couldn't snap out of it like a "normal" parent.. Now that i'm on meds, I'm patient, even tempered and have stopped yelling.. Life changing!!!!!! So i'm really happy that you're feeling better and wanted you to know that you're not alone <3

Liz Miller

I never had migraines, but I did have debilitating head-aches that started at around 9 years old. My doctor diagnosed me with a lazy eye, and I got glasses and eye exercises that really helped (getting me back to being able to function).

Later (like, within the last 18 months), I found out that some of the headache was due to TMJ.

My son also started getting debilitating headaches a few years ago, and glasses helped him immensely as well.

Obviously, this probably doesn't apply to Ezra due to familial history, but I thought I'd bring it up just in case.


Poor little guy! I've been getting migraines since I was 4. I get them from my mom's side of the family - everyone has migraines on that side. I'm 42 now, and although they're better (because I'm better at catching them early and knowing my triggers), I still get them maybe 7-10x a month. As a kid, they were much worse - I also couldn't swallow pills, so I took chewable Tylenol, which did nothing. I basically had to just go to bed and wait for the pain to end. That said, there are migraine prescriptions out there now that are available as nasal sprays. Zomig nasal spray is one of the meds I use, and it works great. I doubt it's available for kids Ezra's age, but maybe there's something out there that's just as good? Or it's something to keep in mind for when he's a little older. Good luck!


Because every kid is different - when my son was diagnosed we were given a list of dietary triggers. We eliminated the major triggers (nitrates, caffeine, chocolate, nuts, etc.) and started reintroducing foods. Turns out my kid's migraines are triggered by happiness in our household. I hope Ezra's triggers are just as simple.


Gluten sensitivity/ celiac often manifests itself as migraines in children. I had horrible migraines as a child and frequent headaches until I was diagnosed with celiac 5 years ago. Maybe worth looking into ? The preliminary testing is a blood panel, nothing invasive. Removing gluten from my diet has been life changing for me.


This video taught my 7 year-old to swallow pills in two days with no tears. So simple and it works

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