This past winter has been rough for our family. We’ve had constant sickness. In November and December we struggled with strep, impetigo and the stomach flu. After December the stomach flu seemed to make its way back again and again in on our one-year-old about every other week or so.
For several months it was almost a joke that “Asher was sick again.” By March the constant symptoms had become more alarming. I also worried that his emotional health wasn’t what a toddler would normally have.
Instead of a peaceful joyful boy who had some toddler outbursts his emotions were all over the place.
He was often clingy, especially in the morning or while going to sleep at night and when things didn’t go his way he’d begin what I’d call an “out of control” meltdown. I understand that it’s normal for toddlers to have outbursts, especially if they are strong-willed but these outbursts were out of the norm.
Something was not right. He was acting more like a little monster than a strong-willed toddler. I began to read on parenting strong willed children and asked people to pray for me because I wasn’t sure how many years I could handle his emotions.
One day while driving home I began to brainstorm. Should I try taking sugar out of his diet? Perhaps gluten? Then it hit me that all of his symptoms, from the mental behavior to the sickness and stomach issues, were that of a child not tolerating gluten well. toddler behavior and gluten
My stomach tightened at the thought and anxiety set in.
I didn’t do well with grains. This I knew well but hadn’t been addressing it since the birth of my third child. Eating for my own issues is one thing. Preparing food for a picky toddler is quite another! Especially one that LOVES his bread.
The day I took Asher to the Doctor I was fed up and very ready for answers. Ready enough to allow my itty bitty boy to be poked and held tight while he watched in anguish as a needle took his blood. He was still traumatized by the blood draw that night when going to bed and pointed at the crease in his elbow. A little whimper escaped and he let out a weak “owie.”
Negative on the celiac test.
I asked people for advice, did my own internet searches and finally settled on trying to switch his diet.
I’d received feedback from a healthcare provider who had given many helpful ideas and I went for his diet.
No grains, no dairy ( Except milk from A2 cows – learn about it here Medical News on A2 Milk) and no fruit (in case it caused more diarrhea) for one week. The no fruit was easy since this picky eater wouldn’t eat most fruit anyway. The dairy proved okay too since we already received milk from a dairy with Jersey cows which are A2. The absence of grains was a bit harder. I also made white rice and then refrigerated it overnight to help his immune system (rice chemistry).
As a lover of baking and healthy foods, I was familiar with grain free cooking and made a baking plan so that we could bring snacks with us wherever we went. Even so, I felt in over my head.
Day one was rough. Maybe he was just detoxing, but he was definitely emotional! By day three though, I noticed his snotty nose was almost gone and his attitude seemed a bit more balanced.
I wondered if it was just me as the boys went to visit their Grandparents one day. I secretly was waiting to see if they’d say anything about his personality.
I was thrilled to hear back that “Nana” thought he seemed happier.
It wasn’t just me! Or was it?
I continued the diet and by the end of the week I was exhausted from so much baking. I felt defeated but Asher was not. He was on top of his game.
The snot was gone and this “strong-willed” boy was now a much better listener. He was at peace.
Just last night I asked my husband if he thought Asher seemed less “strong-willed.” I knew his answer would be honest and unbiased. He immediately responded with a yes.
Please know that I love Asher’s strong will. It isn’t a bad thing. I love even more though, that he can use it for good rather than being controlled by it! He still wants to do EVERYTHING himself because, hey, he is the “big boy,” but he’s doing so much better at working with me instead of always appearing to feel victimized by my answers. He’s able to conquer life as opposed to just needing to be held!
As of now, we’re still testing foods to see what will work best with him. It was a hard thing to change but SO worth it.
It’s wonderful to see Asher running and playing like a thriving child and not think twice about bringing him to public places for fear he will get sick.
I look at these past few weeks and can’t help but remember this quote by Tony Robbins:
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
It’s been a rough few weeks for me, but compared to the months Asher endured sickness, I know my “pain” was small.
Curious what we did? Here’s some of what I tried:
Paleo Pancake and Waffle Mix
I got a big bag at Costco in preparation for our week. Asher loved them for the first four days and then decided he’d had enough. They are quite sweet.
Simple Mills Pumpkin Muffin
Hooray for muffins from a box! I got these from a local natural foods store. This brand of grain free muffin mixes have been the easiest and best snack for Asher. They are spendy, but helpful when you are constantly trying to make food. He’s LOVED all the flavors.
Almond Flour Brownies. Love this recipe best! Sub coconut oil for the butter when dairy free and half the chocolate. Asher’s other favorite snack. I made a double batch for my mom’s Birthday party and they were a hit.
Homemade Chocolate pudding
Zucchini Noodles -Asher loves these things. Especially with some spaghetti sauce and meat.
Sweet Potato Fries…Uh, yes Paaalease! Who doesn’t like these?