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