Migraines. Montessori. Breaky For Din Din.

According to Wikipedia:

“Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms.”


“Up to one-third of people with migraine headaches perceive an aura: a transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbance which signals that the headache will soon occur.”


(This photo is pretty much the way a migraine is for me, minus the double-decker bus sized screw sticking out of my head.)

I’ve had this issue for about 12 years now.  It used to happen every couple of years and it would be super intense.  It always started with me losing feeling in my thumb and hand, then losing sight in one eye.  Those things were followed by what I like to call “getting dumb.”  I can’t read, remember the names of anyone I know-even family-and I just generally get stupid.  Then, as if all of that isn’t bad enough, a headache of gargantuan proportions sets in and debilitates me, fetal-position-style, for at least 24 hours.  That still happens, but more like once or twice a year now, and in addition to the more frequent killer migraines I now have minor ones about once a month.  By minor I mean I lose feeling in my hand and/or eye, only get slightly as dumb, and am not entirely debilitated, although pretty miserable with pain.  Someone in the Bible had migraines, I can’t remember who but somehow it comforts me.  I’m such a A-hole.

Anyway, not to be a Debbie downer but seriously, it isn’t awesome and I had to tell someone.

There is stuff that is awesome though and I’m going to tell you about it.  I’ve been reading about Montessori and I dig it.  I dig so many things about it but mostly I love how baby Dub so naturally gravitates to anything Montessori-esque that I’ve tried to implement.


I have been reading a cool blog How We Montessori  and getting some awesome ideas for how to stimulate Dub with daily activities.  I’m not a fan of electronic toys or anything battery operated.  I like wooden toys, or just items he can explore around the house.  I have a couple of drawers in the kitchen that have random items in them that he loves to go through while I am cooking.  I rotate the things so it stays interesting.  A spice jar filled with dry beans that he loves shaking.  A wooden rolling-pin, some napkins, tupperware, popsicle molds, strainers, etc.  He loves it.  He also loves the good old-fashioned wooden spoon and pots technique.  Anything that make noise has been a hit.  Yesterday I took a glass pan and filled it with small orange and black lentils and let him play with them.  It was a big mess, but he loved it.  Then I filled it with water and a couple of cotton balls.  He liked that too, but he kept trying to put the cotton balls in his mouth so I had to take those away.

Today we got down Montessori style.


I took a cornstarch can, emptied and washed it, and then poked holes in the lid.  Then I took thick toothpicks and cut off the sharp ends.  I showed Dub how to push the toothpicks through the holes and holy mother of Jesus, he was riveted for THIRTY SEVEN MINUTES PAST his normal nursing time.  I mean, he is normally whining for the boobie  20 minutes early, but he was so focused on his task that we both lost track of time.




Serious focus.

Yeah so that happened.  The cool thing about this whole new world for me is that it takes very little to really fascinate a little kid.  Dub is learning so much just in this one activity.  The hand/eye coordination, the pincer grasp, dexterity, the satisfaction of getting them all inside and shaking the jar and hearing the sound.  When I help him to empty the container and they all fall out he gets so excited!


Another version was with a plastic container.  I just put one hole in the top and used a kabob skewer (sharp end cut off).  Dub didn’t really like this one as much (yet) and just tossed it to the side.  It was definitely more challenging, as he needs to raise his arm much higher, and probably needs to hold his hand closer to the tip of the skewer in order to aim properly.  It’s nice because no matter what he does with it he is learning something.  I can let go of needing him to do it in any certain way.  I show him how I do it.  He can either copy me, or do his own thing entirely.





Another thing I did was take a couple of little buckets and fill one with metal canning rings.  I showed Dub how to transfer the rings to the empty container.  He did a couple and then just enjoyed shaking the buckets to hear the metal rings banging around inside.  I put each “activity” in a container and left them on the lowest shelf of our bookcase so he can get them if he wants to.  It will be a while before he can carry them over to his play mat himself, but I’m loving the whole idea that there is an “activity area” and one specific activity at a time.  After that there is being involved in the clean up.  It’s just cool because Dub really wants to help me with everything.  Giving him the opportunity to have some responsibility is really empowering for him.

You might have guessed, but tonight I had a migraine.  About 4 hours before it came on I lost feeling in my hand in the checkout line at Trader Joes.  I was pretty worried since I needed to drive home and I normally lose sight in one eye right after the hand thing happens.  Oddly, losing sight in my eye didn’t happen until much later in the day.  Once I “perceived [my] aura” as it were I knew it was coming.  Because of that dinner needed to be simple.  Why not breakfast for dinner?

I melted butter in a pan, added a few cloves of garlic and sweated them for a moment, then added 1/2 an onion and sauteed until slightly translucent.  Then I added about 5 medium-sized sliced potatoes and cooked those on medium heat until they started to brown.


Meanwhile I diced up some arugula and picked some fresh basil.  I like to lay each basil leaf on top of one another (I used about 5 large leaves) and then roll them lengthwise like a rug.  Then I cut into slivers.



I added the arugula and basil to the potatoes, salted and removed to a bowl where I mixed them with about 1/4c goat cheese.


In the same pan I added a bit more butter and a couple of eggs cooked sunny side up.  I scooped the potato mixture on to two plates, topped each with an egg and some avocado, and voilà.  Breakfast for dinner is served.  It’s delicious, even with half of my sight strapped behind my back.


If only delicious food could fix a migraine.  This dinner tried.  It really did.


4 thoughts on “Migraines. Montessori. Breaky For Din Din.

  1. not that you have time w dub and fam and all but S.N. Goenka, the dude who pretty much brought Vipassana meditation back to India and spread it throughout the world, originally came into it BECAUSE of his migraines. His teacher refused him bcs his intent was to meditate away his migraines instead of meditate to meditate but after he changed his mindset to meditate to meditate, his teach accepted him and after his 10 day course and a regular daily practice his migraines have disappeared entirely over time. He had severe ones that required hospitalization too…just to plant that seed w ya 😉

    http://www.dhamma.org in case you feel like trying it in the future. I’ve done a few… 😉

    • This is crazy. When I worked at All City my friend Kelli and I talked about doing a Vipassana. You are right, I don’t have time. Clearing of the mind and a regular yoga practice would probably help though right? And why, btw, aren’t you here in my town to do late night mama-yoga classes? Love you girl.

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