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The Gluten-Free Experiment

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The Gluten-Free Experiment

Most mornings, I hid in my room, feeding the baby, while listening to Duane eat breakfast with Monkey. Her crankiness in the mornings made me want to stay in my room for as long as possible.

The tantrum of all tantrums happened early one morning in November, while Monkey was on antibiotics for an ear infection and pinkeye. It was as if she lost her mind and suddenly snapped, incoherently screaming about nothing. Duane finally carried her, kicking and screaming, to her bedroom, and sat holding her, trying to calm her down. It took about 30 minutes for Monkey to calm down enough to eat her breakfast. I almost cried, thinking “what have those antibiotics done to our child?”

I googled the side-effects of her antibiotics and found nothing about tantrums, but the warning label did say, “if you get a bloody nose, discontinue use and contact doctor immediately.” At least that explained why Monkey had a bloody nose every day for the past week. I called our doctor, and he blamed the dry weather. Just for the record, Monkey has not had a bloody nose since then. So I blame the antibiotics for the bloody nose. I also blame the antibiotics for damaging her gut, which is directly connected to one’s mental health.

There were more dramatic tantrums in the weeks to follow. The most ridiculous one, was when Monkey lay on the floor behind her bedroom door, yelling “open my door!” But I couldn’t open it because she was in the way. Every time I tried to open the door, she’d slam it shut again and scream louder, “open my door!” She was freaking out, and I could not reason with her.

In March, we began preparing to do GAPS diet, by finishing off all the gluten and diary in the house, that way there would be no temptations. There was lots of extra drama as we ran out of beloved yogurt, Mac&Cheese, quesadilla, and all things glutenous and dairy-filled. But Monkey loves all fruits and eats most veggies, so she didn’t starve, but she did eat lots of oatmeal (which is not GAPS approved). Overall we very much failed at doing GAPS with her, but we did succeed at keeping her gluten-free, and diary-free for almost 2 months!

After 6 weeks GF, DF, I realized I had only put Monkey in time-out maybe 3 times in the past month. Then I braved taking her to the “Milk-Making Mama’s group.” I had taken her once before, which was a terrible idea since they meet 5-7pm. Those are the exact hours during which all hell breaks loose until we get both kids fed and put in bed. The first time I took Monkey to the group, she climbed and jumped over and off of everything – couches, coffee tables. It was a bad case of over-tired hyper and out of control, which is especially dangerous when there are little babies rolling on the floor. I realized I can’t take Monkey out in public that time of day, ever. But after 6 weeks GF, DF, I tried again, and took Monkey to the same group, at the same time of day. She sat and colored quietly the whole time. Wow! I have a whole new kid!

I didn’t fully realize how pleasant Monkey had become, until a couple weeks ago we gave her pizza and suddenly bedtime was a giant civil war again. Not fun!

After settling in at our new house, we let Monkey eat pasta and brownies. Bad idea. I don’t know which is worse, gluten or sugar, but neither are worth the drama they created. It’s one thing if she accidentally eats gluten at a friend’s house, but I can’t purposefully give her gluten when it makes her crazy. She looses her mind and can’t function normally for the rest of the day. It’s not worth it.

So it seems our “gluten-free experiment” shall continue indefinitely. Sorry kiddo, but don’t worry, for your birthday I’ll be making some yummy gluten-free brownies, which taste way better than any cake made from a box.

Becky is wife to Duane, mama to "Monkey-girl" and baby "Lioness" aka "PipSqueek." She is the administrative powerhouse for YWAM Bend and keeps our team grounded and organized. Her hope is to inspire and encourage other mamas in their journey to raise healthy, thriving families.
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