So last weekend, I’m hanging out playing Legos with the boys. Ethan starts to whine that he’s tired. Ayden, his four year old brother, retorts that he’s tired because he ate a Pop Tart at Grandma’s house. This, of course, piques my interest, so I start asking about one hundred questions on where, when, how and why he got a Pop Tart. Turns out Grandma was in the shower and he snuck it because he was starving. Then the conversation gets a little more interesting. Ayden tells me that Ethan also had chicken nuggets at Grandma’s house….and before I start to get attacked about how I only feed my children fast food, I just want to state that they only get it about once a week and my husband and I cook dinner every single night. For health reasons as much as for my own sanity. Would you want to take three boys out to a restaurant? I think not! But back to my story. The whole Pop Tarts sneaky deal I can understand, but for him to get chicken nuggets, someone had to have helped out by, say, ordering and paying for them. And I’m positive Grandma knows they are off limits. So, eventually the boys stammer out some really long, convoluted story about how Grandma asked the drive thru lady if chicken nuggets were gluten free and the McDonald’s employee said yes, so Grandma ordered them. When Ethan got his food, he told her he couldn’t eat them, to which she replied that she wasn’t going back through the drive thru so he had to.
Well, I’m sure you can imagine that I was less than pleased for more than a few reasons. First of all, I have explained to Grandma that chicken nuggets are, in fact, off limits. Why on earth would she take the word of a McDonald’s drive thru attendant as gospel? I’m pretty sure that they don’t require all of their cashiers to have a degree in nutrition. Which brings me to another issue….my husband and I have got some of the weirdest responses while searching for gluten free ingredients at our local supermarkets. Here’s my favorite one…the other day, my husband was at WalMart trying to find gluten free pasta. He asked one of the employees for assistance….and after explaining that its basically wheat free pasta, received a very blank stare. So he tried explaining that his son has celiac and can’t eat wheat. And the employee responded (with disgust) “Oh, how do you catch that? The same way you catch diabetes?”. Uh, yep, you totally “catch” them the same way. How’d you know?
I guess the point I’m making in this blog is that it seems like no one has any clue what the heck celiac (or gluten) is. And even after you explain it to them, they apparently still don’t think its that important to stick to the regimen. I almost feel like people would take it more seriously if it was explained as “wheat allergy”. Even though that’s not technically correct, people generally understand that if a child is allergic to something, its not okay to feed it to them. Ever. And they also don’t think of allergies as a contagious disease. I don’t know what exactly happened with the whole chicken nugget incident at Grandma’s house, and this time I am going to let it slide. But it’s really hard to teach a seven year old that I’m not around all the time and that, ultimately, he’s going to have to be in control of what he eats. Because I heard if you have celiac and you eat too much gluten you can “catch” diabetes too, and that would suck even worse. 🙂
Gluten Free Mommy Hilary