So I have been trying really hard to step outside of my comfort zone and actually leave my house a bit. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but the thought of “glutening” my daughter frightens me. I know its going to happen, I know it. I am just not prepared or know what the hell to do when it happens!
Last week, I took a big step and went out to dinner with my brother and sister in law. I left Chloe and Connor at my house with my niece Tiffany. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Valle Luna and I took my digestive enzymes beforehand to avoid another Jack in the Box experience. (Digestive enzymes are pills for people living a gluten free life like me, but don’t actually have a problem like Celiac) I made sure I fed the kids before we left so all Tiffany had to do was play with them. Simple enough. That small step was HUGE for this mama. We had a great time at dinner and Chloe was just fine. I am not worried about my house at all. I know its gluten free at this point. I have replaced all of my cutting boards, pots and pans, dishes, glassware, and basically my entire kitchen. (That was cheap.) It’s like new people live here and I guess basically we are new people. Our lives have changed so much the past 3 months that we are completely different.
Today and Tuesday were also big steps for me. I volunteered at the school to help the PTO with the book fair. I brought Chloe with me and that was no big deal. The big deal was all of the snacks around. Cupcakes, chocolate, cheez-its, pizza, taco bell, pop tarts, soda, and so much more! I had a really hard time not devouring all of the deliciousness around me, but knew her little eyes were watching me and I am not that cruel. She was so good though! She asked for a piece of chocolate and I politely explained to her that it will hurt her belly and that’s why she can’t have it. I am pretty sure she gets it now though. She never asks twice or throws a fit when she gets told no. She remembers that nightmare of a summer we had. I was smart today and brought her own snacks. Coconut bites, apples, and her sippy cup of almond milk.
I understand that the school, PTO, our families homes, friends homes, etc. are not going to be filled with gluten free options. Hell, 3 months ago you couldn’t find a thing in my house that wasn’t full of gluten!! I get it and I am glad I put us in that situation to see how she handles it. This is just the beginning!
After we made it through these steps, I am starting to worry about her birthday party next month. Every single time I mention it, she tells me that she wants a chocolate cake. Shit. Of course she does! Doesn’t everyone?! Fortunately I live in a big city and there are lots of gluten free bakeries around. Big shout out to Gluten Free Creations for being the rock stars that they are. I called them and explained her other allergies and what she wanted. They took so much time to explain things and talk to me about the options available. Since she can’t have corn or dairy, the only flavor of cake she could have was chocolate. Thank you Jesus! I ordered her a rainbow castle cake and they explained the sprinkles still have high fructose corn syrup so to be sure she didn’t eat a sprinkle. This was so awesome! I had no idea what to do for a cake and was not about to have another nerf gun fiasco, especially for this poor little girl! So, the cake is ordered and the hard part is done. Only cost me $60 for a cake to feed 15 people. So that was fun….not… and since we can’t go anywhere cool like Peter Piper Pizza or any of the normal birthday joints, we have decided to do a small family party at my house. We will make everyone who comes indulge in our gluten free lifestyle. I have no idea what else to do for this girl!
This is when this gluten free lifestyle gets so hard. It is not just about food choices, this has affected every aspect of our lives. I am a hermit now who is scared to show up at the PTO. I have absolutely no social life. If I do manage to escape, it takes weeks of planning. I have no clue when the hubby and I will actually get an entire night to ourselves. We desperately need it, but neither of us are ready or willing to leave this separation anxiety ridden toddler. Everyone keeps telling me how inspiring I am, but they have no idea how much I am struggling with this on a daily basis. Every meal, every plan, every fucking thing. I cry a lot. I am mad a lot. I am so frustrated every single time I make her something and she scoffs at me and yells “Yuck!” I am sad a lot too. My heart breaks for this sweet girl knowing she will always be different. She won’t be able to eat food at birthday parties or enjoy pizza parties at school. She will always know that she can’t have what other people have and that gets to me. Most days I can put on a happy face and pretend I am okay. Today is not one of those days. I am just bummed out.
I think about going to the zoo or the aquarium or even a movie and then I stop and think about the food choices. This is why I am a hermit. I can’t take her to the theater full of popcorn and candy. I can’t take her to Peter Piper to play games. I can’t plan a day of fun activities for her unless I bring a cooler full of food for her to scoff at. Yep. Home it is. I have found that if I don’t let her snack a lot in the day, she will most likely eat the meal I make. So telling a sickly 2 year old no to snacks when I know she is hungry is hard. I know she needs the nutrition and food to grow, but I know she needs the meals more. She loves cauliflower lately so I have been making it a bunch. Last night we had teriyaki chicken wings with roasted cauliflower and carrots soaked in liquid aminos. (Liquid aminos are a healthier version of soy sauce and actually tastes better in my opinion.) Apparently, she decided last night that she doesn’t like cauliflower anymore and spit it out. She would only eat the chicken. So frustrating!! I wanted to pull my hair out. I know we will get through this and a year from now will be a different story, but days like today are hard. And I would kill for pizza. The end.