Week 1: Failing miserably

I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. How on earth can I do this?

On top of realizing almost every meal at daycare contains milk, I’ve also realized almost everything in my pantry contains milk, and I constantly have to remind my husband that “milk” is in more things than you’d think. He thoughtfully concocted a casein-free frosting to put on Logan’s cinnamon roll this morning; of course, he should have known the cinnamon roll itself has milk in its ingredients. Same thing at lunch – in the process of making a sandwich for Logan, my husband paused to wonder out loud, what can I put on this? He was using Earth Balance “butter” and meat slices on bread, and I wanted to point out to him the bread had milk in it and couldn’t be given to Logan—but like a coward I didn’t, because I knew it would only make him stare at me and say icily, well, then, what’s he going to eat?

And I wouldn’t be able to answer him, because inside I was already crying, I don’t know! What is he going to eat?

He refused to eat Thursday and Friday at daycare. His teacher finally gave him some Graham crackers, not wanting him to starve. And now that I think about it, I’m sure they had casein, too.  We tried boxed dairy-free macaroni and cheese, since mac ‘n cheese is Logan’s favorite. It was god-awful. Honestly, I was surprised the dog ate it. How can I expect Logan to follow this diet if I can barely stomach it and my husband can’t even read an ingredients list?

As it is, counting everything on my “Logan’s diet” chart, our first week contained nine CF infractions out of a possible 30 meals and snacks. And actually, it could be more like 20 infractions, since I learned today that “lactose-free” milk can contain casein, and “lactose-free” is what daycare serves. I’ll have to ask to read the ingredients list to see if he’s actually been reducing casein from his diet, or if so far all my efforts with food have been pointless.

And I can’t help but thinking, all this for what, anyway? On Friday drop-off at daycare was the worst it’s ever been—literally, ever. Usually he pays me no mind as I hug him and say goodbye, but Friday he went into complete meltdown mode, screaming and crying for maybe 10 minutes. Saturday was a good day (we spent it at the pool, which he loves), but Sunday morning we saw tantrum after tantrum, and in the afternoon, full-on meltdown struck.

I’d been steeling myself to tackle CF cooking this weekend; I’d picked two recipes I thought would be fairly easy and drawn up two shopping lists—one for the normal grocery store and one for the natural foods store. I pushed my husband and the kids in the car and set off to run our errands.

First we went to Target, and Logan picked out a backpack for preschool, which begins on Thursday. He chose one with Mario and Bowser, and Sadie ran up and down the aisles, laughing delightfully. So far, so good. As we left the parking lot, Logan happily said, “Now to the hardware store.”

I knew it was coming.

“No, honey,” I said. “First, we have to go to a new store, the natural foods store. Then we’ll go to the hardware store.”

Logan let loose a scream that made Sadie cry. His face turned red, and the screams kept coming, all 20 minutes to the store. In the parking lot, he refused to calm down still, so my husband stayed in the van with him while I took Sadie inside to get our items as fast as we could. Twice Logan calmed down enough for my husband to bring him inside, but as soon as he stepped in the doors, I could hear him scream from all the way on the other side of the store. Sadie, too, was now fidgety and fussy, and didn’t want to be strapped into the cart. I had to hold her while trying to manipulate the cart and find these still-foreign-to-me products such as CF bread, buns, pizza crust, and muffins, all while panicking on the inside because I knew Logan was still torturing himself—and my husband— in the car. I’m sure my blood pressure was at top level—I had to focus on breathing to not hyperventilate or cry.

Heading home, Logan’s screams still did not abate, which makes this his longest meltdown ever. He’d scream, his voice now strained slightly, “I want to go to the natural food store! I want to turn around! I want to be happy! I want to be in the green zone! I’m never going to be in the red zone again! I want to go to the natural food store! I don’t want to go to the natural food store! I want to go to the hardware store! I want a Lightning McQueen backpack! I don’t want a Mario backpack! I want to go to the natural food store! I want to a drink of milk! I don’t want a drink of milk! I want to turn around! I don’t want to go this way!”

We drove straight home, dropping our other errands. Even once we were home, it still took Logan another 10 minutes or so to calm down.

That night, our plan had been to make personal pizzas. I started following the CF pizza sauce recipe, with tomatoes, honey, oregano, fennel seed, rosemary, garlic powder, basil … crap. Because we hadn’t gone to the normal grocery store, we hadn’t bought basil. Oh well, I thought—I can omit that. I then realized I’d also need to omit pureed squash, since that, too, had been on the “normal grocery store” list.

At least it’ll save me from having to Google what the hell “pureed” means, I thought.

The pizzas still turned out all right, I think, though Logan refused to eat any more than a few forced bites. How long will it make sense to stay on this diet if Logan stops eating?
A friend suggested I get a juicer to help Logan get all his nutrients. I’m loath to admit my immediate thoughts were:

  1. What’s a juicer? Sounds expensive.
  2. Great, another appliance to clutter up my counters.
  3. Oh, hooray—something else to have to hand wash every night.
  4. Easy—yeah right. Sounds like a lot of peeling, coring, and chopping first.

I hate being so cynical—especially since I know my friend meant well and I’m sure she’s absolutely right about it being a good idea. Why am I so negative? Why is this so challenging? Am I sabotaging my son’s chances of success? How can I make myself better at all of this?

Feeling: Beyond worthless

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2 responses to “Week 1: Failing miserably

  1. Lynne

    We have a feeding clinic at Gillette to help kids who have difficulty eating. I’m not sure but maybe they could help your son adapt to a new diet? http://www.gillettechildrens.org/conditions-and-care/nutrition-and-feeding/ And we have it at our Burnsville Clinic!

    Hang in there. It’s a huge change and it’s hard, especially when he can’t calm himself.

    • Hi Lynne,
      Thanks for the tip! I’ve met with one feeding consultant at Fraser Behavioral Center, and am keeping resources like that in mind–but it seemed from my visit that the kids they usually work with are much pickier than Logan. I think it seems bad to me, but it’s all relative–he does eat some things, at least!

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