We committed ourselves to a month-long gluten-free trial diet for our toddler, Joseph. Read about the smashing success of our first few weeks here. We were ever so pleased with his calm and happy demeanor that we almost forgot about the tantrums and spontaneous refusals to cooperate with even the simplest requests. So confident were we that when we traveled to Aunt Jen’s wedding in Kansas at the end of the 30-day trial, we allowed wheat to be part of the grand occasion—and paid the price. Dearly. We once again faced the eye of the notorious tornado: Total Toddler Meltdown.
In my heart, I secretly thought, It’s not the gluten, those healthy grains found in virtually everything from fish crackers to cream of broccoli soup. It’s the blip in routine: an airplane flight, a different bed to sleep in, the convergence of cousins from far and wide. I felt like even though he was eating bread and butter with dinner, it wasn’t a “controlled test” because we were out of our daily routine.
Anyway, here we are, halfway into November and Joseph is once again gluten-free. His nursery school has been incredibly supportive and I have been reading labels dutifully. Where I used to be hyper-vigilant about sugar content, I have added strict gluten surveillance to my list of things to be overly concerned about. Yes, I’m one of those mothers, who can’t accept the innocuous offering of a snack during playdate before suffering the giver with a thorough cross-examination. Please don’t judge; pity, perhaps.
Still, I’m unconvinced. My husband, on the other hand, has had a revelation. He now remembers that when he was Joseph’s age, he was put on medication for exactly the kind of uproarious frenzy our son demonstrates when he’s had gluten. He wished his parents had tried a diet change, like we have. So why am I so unconvinced? First, little J is getting close to three. Shouldn’t we expect him to act, well, childish? Isn’t this part and parcel of the age-group? Also, he still has his moments where he mysteriously refuses (crying, kicking and running away) when we are simply trying to get him to put on shoes. To be honest, while I want our little guy to be calm, happy, self-assured and at ease, I also want him to experience the full, shall we say, “pageant” of life’s emotions. I would never sculpt his personality through the introduction of pharmaceuticals, certainly, but I do want him to know that it’s OK to feel really strongly about something and it’s my job to help him find more constructive ways to express himself.
I guess what I’m asking is, does my son have an aversion to gluten, or should I just learn to be a better parent?
**looking for more about my gluten-free toddler? See the latest here.