Hi. My name is Hilary, and I have been a G-Free Mommy for 24 days. Yes, I know that sounds like that phrase that people use as an intro at an AA meeting....but at times that’s what being a G-Free Mommy feels like. I would imagine that an alcoholic feels like something they love has been taken away from them and they can never have it again. Only as a G-Free Mommy, what’s been taken away from me isn’t something tangible like bread or alcohol. Its the idea of having a perfectly “normal” child.
When my seven year old son, Ethan, had some abnormal blood test results, and the doctor suggested that we see a GI specialist, I wasn’t that bothered. My dad has celiac and he deals with it just fine, thank you. But then, as we got closer to the date of his appointment, I started to realize that it wouldn’t be about just changing what we eat at home. Having celiac would put him in situations that would alienate him socially. What happens if his class has a pizza party? Or if they have cupcakes for a snack at Boy Scouts? Is there even anything he can eat at drive thru’s? What do you do when your end of year class party is a pizza party? Come on! When you are seven, passing up on pizza or cupcakes makes you weird....or at least gets you some unwanted attention. In first grade, “different” isn’t exactly a desired quality. It’s all about fitting in. No one wants their kid to be tagged as “the one who has to eat weird stuff”.
After we found out the biopsy was positive and that he had celiac, I cried for about a week. Over anything. But what was even more upsetting was having to tell my son the news. When he realized that he wouldn’t be able to eat pizza, pasta, birthday cake, or even a McDonald’s happy meal, he was not too thrilled. And we have had lots of tears and temper tantrums since. All those situations I had imagined and worried about....well, they have all happened. Ethan and I are trying to figure out the best way to deal with them as we go. And to add insult to injury, my first few attempts at G-Free baking have not exactly been successful. My first loaf of banana bread was an “off” tasting brick and my attempt at a sandwich bread tasted a little like I had mixed some green beans into the batter (which I obviously did NOT). So, in my new role as a G-Free Mommy, I guess I am trying to help my son figure out how to live with celiac without being defined by it. Oh yeah, and trying to figure out how to bake a decent loaf of G-Free bread.
Until next time,
G-Free Mommy Hilary
Hilary - I have been diagnosed with CD and my daughter (now 21 months) is on a gluten free diet too. I've had the luxury of starting her out young gluten free, so she's not having tantrums about no longer being able to have that happy meal - that must be devastating to both of you.
Eating a GF diet is a lifestyle change, but you should be encouraged to know that it's only becoming easier as more options become available and more restaurants are catching on to the demand.
Thank you for publishing your thoughts after the first 24 days. I have also had my bad days thinking about how my daughter is going to be the "weird kid who can't eat anything". I've decided it will be important for my daughter to have her special outings planned for her and her friends for that end of year party...Also, when I am able, I try to supply the food at the kid events my daughter is attending, so she doesn't feel left out. It's can be a pain, but I think it's worth it.
Good luck, and please feel free to contact me if you want to bounce ideas!
Its great to hear from other moms who are dealing with this same issue. I know a few adults who are dealing with CD, but we don't know any kids that are. Thanks for the encouragement!
It is tough to make a change- my daughter had to change her diet just a few months ago- she's 12. She's going on a trip with her youth group- we're sending food for her to eat. We do this whenever she has sleep overs or goes to a friends. We keep frozen GF cupcakes ready for her to take to parties and choose pizza places that serve GF pizza- yep there are some. Also, if the school will give you the opportunity, explain to the class what CD is and how they can help your son eat safely. Compare it to asthma or diabetes- things most kids have heard of before. Any event that your child will be attending, call ahead and ask about what is being served and sometimes if needed expalin why- send the most comparable thing you can. Before your son goes on a camp out find and try some camping recipes that are safe for him. Maybe if the scout leaders are willing- have the boys eat the same meals. It's not impossible, just takes a bit of planning ahead. Also, find out what his grandpa likes- this could be a good opportunity for the the two of them to have special bonding time. There are support groups in our area for those with CD. If there are some near you this would be an opportunity to meet other kids. BTW my daughter has been GF, corn free and peanut free for almost 4 months now.
My son has been gluten free since he was 3 years old. He is now 11. It has been challenging but I have now have it down to a science and know which brands are better than others. There is a lot of prep work that will make life easier. bake a chocolate cake ice it then slice it wrap it in wax paper and put in a zip lock bag and freeze. pull one out when you have parties or function. lots of restaurants are coming out with gluten free menus, outback steakhouse for example. Also disney world you can call ahead as to speak to the chef and he will make gluten free pancakes or waffles for you. he or she will also be able to tell you what is gluten free on some of there buffets and if nothing is to the liking of the child they will make something.
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To let you know Betty Crocker has come out with Gluten Free yellow cake, brownies, chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies. I have tried the brownies and chocolate cake and love them. There is a all purpose GF flour mix out there, on line only called Jules Nearly Normal Flour. I use it in substitute for all my recipies that call for wheat flour and it works wonders. From crepes, pancakes, muffins, and banana bread. It's a bit pricy but so worth it especially if you have a little one who has to eat GF. GF Corn flakes are great for crushing and making chicken tenders with, my daughter can't tell the difference. Mix it with a little peccerino cheese or parmesan and good to go. Also Snyders recently came out with GF pretzles, I bought some yesterday and they are half the price of Glutino and just as tastey. Hope things get better.