Just When We Think We Have a Handle On It…


Marsha Delaney: Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:49 AM

I know, at times, I come off all high and mighty with my gluten-free, “insights and knowledge”, but the sad truth is, there are days when I feel like I just can’t get a handle on this whole gluten-free world.

Take the last couple of weeks, for example. I feel as though I’ve been an utter failure with keeping my children gluten-free. It’s not that I’m giving them gluten; they’re taking it all by themselves…knowingly.

This all started several weeks ago. We accidentally gave my son something that was, from a gluten-free standpoint, questionable. The ingredients all sounded okay except for the listing of, “natural ingredients.” (We wouldn’t take that chance with our oldest daughter, but sometimes we do with our son since he doesn’t get sick if he accidentally ingests something with gluten in it.) It was a mistake. At that time and since, a trigger was set in his brain that causes him to crave, seek out and acquire anything gluten. It works like a drug in his system. He’s become, for the lack of a better description, a gluten junkie.

I’ve come into the kitchen at 2:00 in the morning, to find him sitting on top of the refrigerator, nabbing cookies, candy, or whatever gluten-free items he can get a hold of, shoving them into his mouth before I can snatch them away. We thought we were being responsible parents by keeping these items out of his reach. Honestly, we can’t go any higher. That’s the highest cupboard in the house. The only thing left to do is to actually put a padlock on the cupboards, but I cannot live in a house where we have to padlock the cupboards. It sounds too militant (although I am beginning to consider it at this point).

I’ve made his bed and have found half-eaten loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread tucked underneath his covers, shoved under his mattress or hidden in his closet. We’re not talking nice, wonderful bread, either. We’re talking cheap, crappy, discount-store sandwich bread that my husband buys for the little sandwiches he makes for his lunch every morning.

I know, you’re probably saying, don’t keep any of that stuff in the house. I would be happy to do away with it all, but my husband, their father, is not gluten-free. He does well with eating everything that I make, but we both think he should be allowed his one little sandwich that he takes to work with him daily. He’s already limited. I don’t want to deprive him of his right to eat, either.

Because my little gluten junkie continues to get just enough of his drug to keep him hooked and wanting more, his behavior continues to be atrocious.

Drama has returned to our lives. One moment he’ll be my sweet, normal little boy, then the next, he’ll turn into a raging little beast. The other morning I was getting ready to leave for the bakery to prepare for the farmers market. It was 3:30 in the morning. Naturally, it’s best to keep everyone asleep in the house while I sneak out, particularly my two-year-old. Well, when I got out of the shower, my son was up watching TV. It was surprising to me that he was up so early. It was usually an exhausting exercise just getting him out of bed before 10:00am during the summer holidays. I went with it. Okay, here’s your breakfast, watch some cartoons, yada, yada, yada. About fifteen minutes later he started saying, “There’s nothing to do. There’s nothing to do.” I went through the list with him of the things there were to do, but it didn’t matter one bit. He’d started a chant, a mantra of sorts. He wouldn’t stop repeating it. The problem was, it was annoying enough on its own, but he kept increasing his volume. By the time I walked out the door, he was screaming, “There’s nothing to do! There’s nothing to do!” There was only one thing I could do: leave and hope my husband could deal with him more calmly than I could right then. I had to get to work.

This little annoyance was nothing compared to some of the tantrums I’ve found myself dealing with lately. One of them was over dessert that he’d lost (by behaving badly that day). He thought it a terrible injustice that we were depriving him of dessert. So what did he do? He lost it. He started screaming and hitting. I put him in his room on a time-out. When I closed the door, he then threw everything he could get his hands on against his door. I tried to ignore the disaster that was going on inside his bedroom. He even broke his bed and knocked down one of his free-standing shelves. Then he began hitting his door with his guitar. I couldn’t ignore him. I went inside and threatened him. It didn’t help. He hit me repeatedly. I held his arms, so he kicked me. I had to pin him on his stomach on his bed just to keep from getting beaten by my seven-year-old. As soon as I let him up, he began again. At one point, out of total frustration, I held him upside down by his feet. Where was I going with this? I had no idea. I just wanted to keep him from hitting and kicking me. In the end, I felt like a terrible failure as a parent.

I still do, as he just walked in here, sat down across from me and started saying, “There’s nothing to do. There’s nothing to do.” Here we go again……

As for my daughter with celiac, she’s convinced herself that the Irish chocolates that were brought over for us by my in-laws are gluten-free. I’m not convinced. She’s broken out in the worst eczema she’s had since before her diagnosis. The fact is, I’ve never seen it this bad. It’s everywhere. The chocolates: they’re gone. I hope her eczema goes now as well.

Wish me luck!  I need it.





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