The Story, Part 1

July 11, 2008 at 11:57 am (*) (, , )

It’s been a rough day.  I’m not feeling the greatest, the kids got up super early, and I waited too long to get my caffeine fix.  But that wasn’t the rough part.

What made it rough was seeing the expression on my son’s face, knowing it meant 1) he’d eaten something with gluten or casein and 2) it was going to be a frustrating day for both of us.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll notice that I haven’t talked much about how we got to a positive test result of gluten/casein intolerance.  Honestly, it’s hard to talk about and some of it feels very private to me.  My hope and prayer is that if I do write about it, I can help even one person avoid the rollercoaster and heartache we’ve experienced.  I guess that means that I’m going to have to open up a little.

So, here we go.  Please know that this really doesn’t even scratch the surface.  My thoughts are incomplete here and it will take several posts to get it all out.

Imagine sitting on the floor playing with your two children.  One is 2 and a half, the other is 6 months.  To this point, the older child absolutely adores the baby.  Then, completely unprovoked, the older child crawls over and headbutts the baby.

What would you do?  Discipline, of course.  Do you automatically think to yourself, “Wow, maybe this is a food problem!”???  Of course not.

Then one day, when said child is seemingly done with his nap, you bring him downstairs to sit with you on the couch, only to find yourself dealing with an over-the-top, completely whacked out temper tantrum.  His eyes are closed, he is crying and hitting you in the face.  After a few swift swats to his backside and some stern words, nothing is working.  But then, as if a switch has been flipped, he opens his eyes and smiles at you.  “Hi, Mommy!”

What?!?!

Suppose that when leaving the house with the children, you always go through the garage.  One day, you need to leave something on the front porch, so everyone leaves through the front door.  Suddenly, your child is so distraught over the change in routine, that he cannot function.  He cannot follow simple directions and behaves as if the world has come to an end.

This child needs discipline, right?

Let’s say you ask him to put his shoes on, but there is a fuzzy on his toe.  Even though he’s been talking in full sentences for quite a while, he doesn’t verbalize the problem, and refuses to obey, even after repeated discipline.

Who cares?  Mom said put your shoes on, JUST OBEY!  Obey, right away, all the way, with a smile on your face.

Or, let’s say that you’ve just eaten a burrito from Chipotle, complete with fajita veggies and pico de gallo.  Your child comes to sit on your lap, but the situation quickly sours as your onion breath is more than he can handle.  It’s not just a matter of turning away and not breathing in his face.  He literally cannot function with the smell of your breath.

Ridiculous.  Get over it and don’t be rude.

On a good note, when putting your child to sleep, he loves to have his arms, back, and face rubbed.  However, if you stop for one moment, he loses his composure.

At some point, while on your own journey to lose the baby weight, you learn how bad refined sugar is for your body.  Knowing that sugar makes kids hyper, you decide to cut out sugar from your child’s diet.  You’ve known for a while that this child seems more sensitive to sugar than your baby.  You see some improvement.

No matter how gentle you are, washing your child’s face is always a fight.

You grow tired of telling your child to “take it out of your mouth”.

One day, you walk around the corner and see your child, jaw clenched, eye-to-eye with the baby, acting as if he were going to squeeze or vibrate her brains out.

Warranted overreaction and automatic discipline, right?  Of course.

Then you see him do it to his stuffed animals.

At some point, other parents and family members begin to reassure or encourage you.  “He’s just a boy.”   “Boys are just more aggressive.”   “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”  “Maybe you have strong-willed child on your hands…”

You are really growing tired of telling your child to stop talking like a baby, knowing darn well he can talk like a big boy.

Some days, it seems as if your child has gotten a caffeine buzz.  He gets so excited, it literally seems like the excitement is trying to escape every pore on his body.  He hops and jumps.  He spins around non-stop, runs like a crazed maniac from the kitchen to the living room and back, and loves having daddy throw him in the air.

Then there is the look (like the one I saw this morning).  It nearly brings you to tears to see it and try to describe it.  Honestly, it looks as if your child is possessed.  No lie.  Eyes wide open and a mischievous smile.

You easily lose your patience sitting at the table with your child.  He constantly swings his legs, kicking you or the table.  No amount of spankings or verbal reprimand can change the behavior.  He’s not even aware that he’s doing it.

Oh, and then there’s the grinding teeth.  (But of course, that doesn’t mean anything…YOU did it as a child….)

Oh, and how annoying is it to hear constant noise from your child?  Whether it’s playing with a plane, a truck, or a piece of lint, it’s constant noise.  “Sccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!”  or “VVVVVVVVVVVVVrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!”  But he’s just a boy.  Boy’s do that.

Oh how frustrating to tell him again and again and again, “Do NOT ‘fly’ the plane that close to your sister’s face!” or “You do NOT need to ‘accidentally’ bump into your sister when you walk by her.”

But then he comes to sit on your lap and cuddle.  Finally, a moment of sweetness.  Oh wait.  Nope….he just wants to squish your face or say something “icky”.

When called or asked to do something, your child does not respond immediately and you must repeat yourself fifty bajillion times.

By now, you know it’s gone beyond silly.  It’s not even obnoxious.  It’s beyond that.  It’s not normal.  You are frustrated beyond what you can handle.  Fine, get a book on parenting.  Get twelve.  Name a book, you have it.

  • The Strong Willed Child
  • Raising Boys
  • Bringing Up Boys
  • Dare to Discipline
  • Creative Discipline
  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart
  • Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
  • Don’t Make Me Count to Three

 

You read them and try their suggestions.  It’s not working.

You spend hours reading, perusing internet boards about parenting and discipline techniques.  You seek the advice of other parents.  Most parents who have spent time around your child don’t understand what you are talking about.  “He’s so good when he’s at our house!” or “I’ve never seen him do what your talking about”.

It’s not working.  You figure it must be you.  You are so absolutely raw and frustrated.  Tired of raising your voice, losing your patience and your temper.  You are tired of feeling like you are the worst, LAZIEST, meanest mommy in the world.  Deep in your heart, you know there is something more, but you can’t figure it out.  One day, the thought crosses your mind to drop the kids off with a friend and leave.  Yep, you just need out.  Maybe not permanently, but you need a break.  Your heart literally feels broken when you look at your child and realize that you don’t even want to look at him or be around him.  You hate yourself for not liking your child.

Try feeling that way for two and a half years (or more!) and living with in-laws for part of that!!!  (O & J, if you read this, you know it’s not about you!!!)

Try being at odds with your husband over this.  After all, he did a lot of this stuff, too.  He acted this way.  Except not.  (Baby, if you read this, you know it’s not about you either!)

Now what?

As a last ditch effort, you decide to try some weird, over-the-top diet that you’ve noticed in all of your hours on the internet and with your nose stuck in a book.  It seems odd to most to try to fix behavior with a diet, but you are desperate.  And lots and lots of other parents have had good luck with it.  Great results.  When you bring it up to your husband, he reluctantly agrees, hoping this will be the last fad or gimmick.  When he asks you what you’ll do if this one doesn’t work, you tell him that you are going to get counseling.  If this doesn’t work, you know you are the problem and therapy and counseling is your last and only option.

So you immediately put your child on the diet, hoping for, but not expecting any result.  A few days in, you check in with your husband.  Does he see any improvement?  He says no.  You feel your heart breaking even further.  You can almost feel yourself slipping into a point of irreversible dispair.  But then your mother-in-law (who watches your kids once a week) comments on how amazing your child’s behavior was that day.  And then your sister-in-law comments on it the next day, after watching the kids.  You can see a glimmer of hope.

Then your husband needs to go on a trip with his mom.  You are dreading being left alone with the kids.  It’s still rough and you are contemplating having to call a counselor.

Your husband returns from his trip and he tells you about the conversation he had on the plane ride with his mom.

In reality, he HAS been seeing improvement in your child, he just doesn’t want to admit it.  In talking with his mom, he finds out that he did NOT act like that as a child.  His sweet mother tells him that she does not find this behavior normal for a little boy.

That flickering hope is starting to grow.

He tells you that he will be 100% behind you on this diet.  He’s researched a little and has begun to see what you are talking about, understands the whole “inability to break down protein” thing.

Holy cow.  Suddenly, a scene from a few weeks ago comes rushing back to you.  Against your better judgement, you and your husband decide to take the kids to a 50’s diner after a long day.  You decide to let them split a kid’s size milkshake, expecting to deal with a little bit of a sugar buzz.  Your little girl?  Yeah, she’s fine.  Doesn’t even affect her.  Your little boy?  Within two minutes, literally two minutes, he is so buzzed and hyper, it’s almost comical.  Almost comical (but not really) that it hit him so fast.  You do your best to manage the situation, but eventually have to leave the restaurant so as not to disturb other patrons.

Holy cow, again.  Now, on the diet, you realize that it wasn’t the sugar, but the malt in the shake.  Malt has gluten.  It’s like you had given him a shot of straight LSD.

Whoa.

Then comes the positive test result.  You know it’s not an end-all, cure-all, but it’s certainly a start.  And it’s validation.

Okay.  I’m burned out just from writing that.  There is still so much more to the story.  But that will have to wait for another day.  I need to go love on my children.  🙂

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3 Comments

  1. Mom said,

    Hey sweetie,

    We’ve been right here through all of this and know all of the details, yet I sobbed as I read your story. You know we are praying for you, Jarid and our precious Benjamin(cutie Kayia, too!). Benjamin is “fearfully and WONDERFULLY made…marvelous are His works..” We are so thankful that you’re on the right track and we know that God will contiue to give you HIS strength, patience, wisdom and hope!!! You are a FANTASTIC mommy. I’ve never once seen in you anything but love for your children. Don’t ever doubt that fact. We all get frustrated, and maybe you, in your situation, even more, but the love and caring in your eyes and heart cannot be hidden! Give our little buddy a great big hug and tell him Grandpa and Grandma love him to the moon and back! We love you too, sweetie. 🙂

  2. Heather said,

    Hi,

    We have/are living through this as well. We are about 8 weeks into the diet. An amazing turnaround!!! Glad you found something that is really working for you.

    Heather

  3. Tara said,

    Thank you for sharing that. We make many attempts at good nutrition for our kids, but the bad decisions override all of the good things. I don’t know where to start, but your story is encouraging. Thank you for your transparency so we can pray & blazing the trail for so many. I really need the Lord’s help w/ our diet change lest we all starve. 🙂 (Cooking is not my area of strength. Dad cooks. Mom investigates foods to avoid. Not a good combo.)

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