I haven't updated about Big lately and I wanted to do so. Here is a fun picture of him helping me in the kitchen when he was 5. I love that face.
So many of you have been following our journey and I haven't done a really great job keeping you updated.
It's hard in some cases because Big doesn't really have any physical reaction in your traditional sense. There are no rashes, no throwing up, headaches, stomach aches, discoloration of skin. Nothing. Our only indicator is his behavior.
Now let's be honest, we have all paid at least a minimal amount of attention to our poop, so we know that the food we digest takes time to work its way through our system. That being said, his behavioral response is the same way that it happens anywhere from a few hours to two days after he's eaten something and can last up for up to four days till it's all out of his system. Food takes time to be digested and effect your systems.
This makes paying attention to his food, his behavior, his sleep, his transitions every day, all day exhausting.
For the last month or so I have been cautious to write anything because something deep down in my gut has been telling me that something, albeit very small, but still something is off.
If you get discouraged by the use of my vague description words, I apologize. I try so hard to find words that describe what happens when food effects my son. The words I keep coming back to are:
Hard. Constant. Fight. Push.
When something is off with Big, I can tell because his pushing back and fighting me is constant. However, it is often small things that, when, you pull that specific instance out on its own, it's no big deal. But you put it right next to every behavior he has and they are all the same, you start to wonder. When these questions/statements start coming up continually through the day
"Big, can you hear me? I have asked you four times to ________. Let's take off the angry face. Please stop your whining. Don't argue. Stop yelling. Watch your ton of voice. Sharing is a way that we show love to others."
All of these statements are things a parent says countless times during the day. My life is no exception. HOWEVER, a healthy, normal child should be able to listen at some point. A normal, healthy child should be able to make a wise choice at least once during the day. When Big is in his heightened state, any ability to make a good choice, to control his voice, to show kindness, to understand his emotions, is impossible.
The last month has shown small indications of these behaviors. However the last month has also been either mom, dad or the whole family gone every weekend. It’s been the same meal over and over again. It has been the loss of our Sabbath because we have been gone. All family time is shopping for food, preparing food, or packing or unpacking, so there have been late nights and less intentional time. All of these factors have been the reason I understand Big’s behavior to be the way it is. These are legitimate reasons.
However, something has felt off. Just a little something, but something all the same.
This is what I have learned over the last month:
- All natural Pineapple Salsa from Trader Joe’s still has sugar in it. I didn’t realize that until we had eaten Mexican Lasagna two days in a row and I prepared it for their sitter.
- Their All natural cough medicine from the Co-op that has lists of names I can’t pronounce still uses Soy and Gluten. But you have to research the names in order to find that out. I’ll be honest, due to the constant checking labels, there are times where I just take names “all natural” for granted, especially if it comes from the Co-op where things feel the most natural and best for you. I still take those labels for face value, and you can’t. YOU CAN’T. You have to be diligent in checking and looking and researching. It is tiring, that’s why I let this one slide, and I now know different.
- Sweet Potato fries from Trader Joe’s also have sugar in them.
- When using different salsa and stopping the cough medicine I have seen changes in Big. We are still dealing with our transition out of a crazy schedule into normal routine, but he has the ability to cope. He didn’t before. We don’t have to remind him to do things 20 times before he does it. I can’t tell you what that means! On the right diet, Big has the mental capability to hear me, to listen, and to respond. He still gets cranky. He still doesn’t like to share most of the time. He still whines. BUT, he has moments of making good choices. He hears me and will get his shoes on and get dressed without it being a fight. Without complaining.
- Its hard to post this because he/we are still human. I like to have a couple weeks go by with this “regular” behavior so I know it’s not a fluke. I can tell it’s not a fluke because he hugs me again. He will look me in the eye. He can remember the rules and do chores without me needing to ask.
- I know some of you might not agree with me that food plays this huge important role in our lives and behaviors, but there is NO way you will ever convince me of that. I see constantly with myself and my children the way food has changed our lives. The right kind of food. I have also seen other parents start to monitor their child’s intake of sugar and then they are amazed at the difference. It often doesn’t take much, but even small changes can make the world of difference.
For your sake, I would love to figure out a way to communicate more effectively the change I see take place in my children when they eat right. Food not only fuels them, but gives them the opportunity to live life. I see Big’s relationship with his siblings and with me struggle. I see our whole family hurt. I see that Big wants to choose different, but its almost like he can’t. Food takes over and takes away his ability to make healthy choices.
I understand. I GET IT. Food is only piece. Schedule, parenting, discipline, school, family, emotions, it all plays a part in our choices. I GET IT!
But why don’t ever give any thought to food being a piece of that puzzle? And if we are looking for a way to help our children be the best version’s of themselves, than why don’t we look at just one piece of the puzzle and make some changes to that one piece.
I bet you would be surprised, just as we were, to see how strong a role food plays in your ability to live life to the fullest.
So, Big is doing great. We continue to discover all sorts of new things to create a healthy, satisfied family and life.
Thanks for walking with us.
If you have other insights, I would love to know about them. We continue to learn and grow and share as we go along.