We are on week two of a gluten and dairy free diet for Little Man and Lizard. We took Little Man for food sensitivity testing and his wheat (whole wheat, spelt and gluten) and dairy (whey and casein) were high. Not off the charts allergic, but high enough to warrant a go at it to see if eliminating gluten and/or dairy would help with his behavior and his eczema. We are also following this for Lizard to see if we can pinpoint the cause of her ongoing stomach aches, which to date we have not been able to figure out.
It has been a challenge for sure. Not insurmountable, but a challenge. And very expensive. We eat an above average diet – not the healthiest out there for sure, but far better than many people. Even with that, it has been interesting to try to come up with alternatives to our normal choices. You can’t just grab a bag of goldfish crackers to fill the kids up. There are gluten/dairy free alternatives, but one box for $4.00 is the size of one snack – for one kid - maybe! Plus it is a challenge to find items the kids will eat. It has been some trial an error but we are making our way.
We started out thinking the whole family would follow it. But due to cost and the impact on our food budget, we are only following it strictly for the two kids. It is maddening that alternative foods… organic…gluten free… or whatever… are so much more expensive. It is actually ridiculous that I just referred to it as “alternative” because the general public should be eating THIS food, not the processed, chemical filled “food” the food industry shoves down our throats through coupons and cheap options. The more I learn, the angrier I get. It cuts to the core when I have to make a food choice based on cost and not on what is the healthiest choice.
In the end, I am not sure eliminating dairy and/or gluten will make much difference for Little Man. I guess I am hopeful that it will have a positive impact in improving his behavior; but skeptical at this point. Maybe I am reaching for something to “blame” for his actions, his defiance and his difficult nature. I know I must explore all the possibilities for my kids to be successful and provide that to the best of my ability. At the same time, it is hard to swallow that Little Man’s behavior might not improve despite our best efforts. I hate that he might be labeled the difficult kid… the trouble maker… the one that the other parents roll their eyes at and talk about. We have already had a small taste of it.
What I want people to see is that he is so full of life, funny and smart. He is amazing. He is athletic, runs faster than any kid I know and has a smile that lights up a room. He says the funniest things (like just the other day telling Soccer Girl, “hey you have polka dots on your face” referring to her freckles, as if she didn’t know!). I think people can see it a lot of the times when there is no structure and he is free to play on his own and on his own terms. But if structure or directions are involved, it is not as visible.
One of the other things Chief and I have talked about is our role as parents in his behavior. There is cause and effect in most things in life… when we react a certain way to Little Man’s behavior it can cause him to react a certain way. We are trying to monitor our reactions. I know there are times when I have escalated his negative behavior due to my reaction. It is funny, people say by waiting to have kids until you are older, you are more mature and can handle the ups and downs better. Maybe so, but I have found I have less patience and am more tired than I was when had my other two and was "younger." My challenge is to be calm, quiet and thoughtful in my responses.
We will keep plugging away at things for our Little Man. He deserve that. I know there is purpose for this struggle even if I can't see it right now.
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11