It is going to be a long night with an incredibly difficult day to kick it off. The blunder I made was due to being lazy. In not knowing ahead of time what I would be making for dinner and in turn deciding to order food in.
Charlie is on a highly restrictive diet of gluten. dairy and soy free. When he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified or P. D. D. - N. O. S. also known as the gray area of the autism spectrum. I decided to put him on it. He had long been dairy free due to an allergy which showed itself during a blood test at a year old. The diet has enabled Charlie to loose that particular diagnosis while his therapist marvel at his amazing progress.
In my wayward thinking I ordered Asian food. Vegan to be sure. But from what I can gather soy inclusive. I shared my meal with Charlie. Green beans. snow peas. carrots. Some green sea leaf. tofu (which I did not give him) and black bean sauce (which I did). Black bean sauce which I did not realize then but a quick google search proved soy sauce as a main ingredient. Hold on a second while I kick myself. hard.
I began the morning awakened with the sobbing cries of my toddler at my bedside. The cries quickly turned to unrelenting screams. and a complete inability to communicate any type of ill or pain. I got out of bed and we went about our morning as usual. Van happened to sleep until I woke him at 10 am which is very unlike him and we set out about our day. with plans to head to a coffee meet-up in town. Although Charlie was a little less than the stellar listener he has become. he was still doing well. We decided to do a little shopping with our friends at a few stores nearby.
The fruit and vegetable market. Not great listening but not the worst child ever. Yet not typical Charlie behavior. and a nagging feeling in my gut. An organic free trade lollipop as the first bribe.
The natural food store. Complete break down of listening abilities. but the very kind elder shop woman used her skills of distraction to disarm Charlie from causing too much trouble. and allowed me to finish our shopping. A vegan chocolate raspberry bar as the second bribe.
A discount shoe store with cheap trendy shoes. We find Charlie a new pair of shoes which we later discover are one size too big. Charlie enjoys playing with shoes and has a few moments where he begins to really break down. Crying a little screaming. a lot of hugs and some time relaxing in the stroller while I am forced to carry Van who falls asleep in my arms.
Head to the car to feed the meter and to strap on the Ergo baby carrier. The baby is now on board.
On to the next shoe store. Payless. A tad bit more expensive. and slightly better quality. They measure Charlie's foot and we discover he is a 9 wide as opposed to the 10 I had just purchased him. Charlie enjoys picking out fabulous glitter and pretty pink shoes for his friend Jenna. When it comes time to pick out another pair for him the major melt downs begin.
We find a nice Toy Story pair in his size and he tries them on. He begins to freak out over having to take his new pair of shoes off. which at first he likes the Toy Story ones. But it is not long before he begins to panic and yell that they are "TOOOOOOO BIG." He starts to demand "lightening McQueen." also known as his old too small pair. He continues to scream for the Toy Story sneakers while crying that they are too big.
I don't know if you know or not. but trying to reason with a toddler is like trying to teach a dog to sit at the dinner table to eat his meal with a fork and a knife. It ain't easy. And it isn't productive either. Spend enough time and energy you might get half way there but your going to have food all over your walls.
The result was Charlie screaming and crying at the entrance to the store in his bare feet that the shoes were too big. After he had a previous melt down due to his evil mommy asking him to clean up the size 9 women's purple pumps he had tried on. "TOOOOOOO BIG." That nagging gut told me something was wrong. but what?
Back to the car to feed the meter and thankful I had not been given a ticket for the expired meter.
We are all out of bribes as we head into the knock off clothing store. Yet Charlie does fairly well and our stay is brief. We intend to go to one more location. a child's clothing boutique which is rather pleasant due to their accessible toys on hand for Charlie to occupy himself with as we peruse the premium priced merchandise.
Homeward bound. Speech Therapy at 3:15.
Charlie has some trouble transitioning and has the first showing of his legendary tantrums this new therapist has ever seen. She shows some concern.
We decide to take a family trip to T. J. Maxx fairly close by. because it hadn't been enough of a publicly difficult day thus far. so why not! Soon after arriving one could find Charlie in the men's section crying and screaming about his inability to walk. "I CAAAAAAANT" After talking him down off the ledge we place him in the cart and he squirmed as if the seat was made of porcupines. After vigorous questioning and him relentlessly pointing to the "boo boo" he received a week ago we realized. It's the food!!! This is what soy does to him!!! He is on estrogen overload!!! I half expected him to have his first period right there in the store and my husband remarked. "this is like a flash back to a year and a half ago."
What some might deem typical toddler behavior is not typical for my toddler. Unless he is having a reaction to food. He spent the entire day crying. screaming. whining. He was argumentative. oppositional and defiant. He was a complete and total wreck. He was over sensitive. including to everything he touched and which touched him. Walking up the stairs barefoot appeared to be like walking on fire. It was as if his sensory system was in the red. With what I have learned about food and nutrition it really makes me wonder whether normal American toddler behavior is actually normal or truly reactive to what we are consuming. When people write about other countries getting it right with their children. I ponder if what they are actually getting right is their meals. Are the "terrible twos" real or a byproduct?
Now as I sit here in the dark in the middle of the night writing this. it is because my poor child is having this reaction and is waking up roughly every twenty minutes screaming in some sort of pain I do not completely understand. and their is nothing I can do for him but be here. reassuring him. providing him with whatever he needs. and waiting for it to pass until he wakes again. screaming.
I do not know what it feels like inside of him but I know it can't feel good. I am grateful though to know that this is something that can not just be avoided but eliminated completely with the offending food or irritants. Although accidents and mistakes will happen.
My child is injured. inside. and I will do everything in my power as his own personal super hero to heal him and protect him from the very thing that we all require to sustain us. Food is a tricky topic. Especially in the world we live in. It is my mission to provide my beautiful baby with a way through this nightmare no matter how much coffee I might need tomorrow.
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