Recently I’ve become very aware of what people with serious allergies or food tolerance issues go through. My last grocery shopping trip took me almost 2-hours, and those of you who know me know just how much I despise the base Commissary. It’s amazing just how many products contain certain things, and you become very aware of this when you actively start looking and trying to cut things out.
The reason for my new adventures with food are due to discovering my son is lactose intolerant. When we first started him on table foods he was an awesome eater and would readily try most anything you put in front of him. After his first birthday he slowly started dropping things he used to like. Eating became a battle of wills, as did most other daily activities. Getting him dressed in the morning was akin to wrestling a bear. I’m talking kicking, screaming, just long and drawn out meltdowns of epic proportions. His behavior was insane and if an attention span was gasoline, he wouldn’t have enough to power an ant’s motorcycle around the outside of a penny. He would bounce from one activity to another, back to the first, then to a third. Oh, and sleeping. It’s always fun waking up at night to your child screaming like he’s being skinned alive…with no apparent cause in sight. We had him evaluated for a sensory processing disorder, were dismissed and told “it’s normal toddler behavior.” In my attempt to find something to help him and our family, I reached out to every parent’s best friend now days: Google.
When I came across a message board posting of another parent asking if anyone had experienced hyperactivity in their child due to lactose intolerance…it hit me like a brick. How could I not have figured this out sooner? I’m lactose intolerant, I’m also of Native American ancestry and we have one of the highest rates of LI in the world. I can count the number of things Joseph will willingly eat on one hand, so milk seemed the logical place to start. We switched him to lactose free milk and within a few weeks he was a completely different kid. His concentration has improved at home and at school, his meltdowns are what I would consider “toddler/preschool normal.” He’s not pooping 6 times a day anymore either. Toss in better sleep, no more snoring, and you have a much happier kid.
I have to say though, even if he couldn’t tell us what exactly the problem was, he knew it had something to do with food and started making choices in his mind about what to eat and what not to eat. It made me realize just how adaptable kids are and wondering where in the life cycle to adulthood we lose that ability? When do we become so unwilling to make lifestyle changes even if they are for our health? I’ve started trying to cut back on dairy products and embracing my own issues with the big L. I gotta say..not easy. I love cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Finding alternative sources that don’t taste like crap is difficult. I’m old and set in my ways. I love my cheese! I admire my son’s ability to just cope and eat what doesn’t make him sick, even if it makes meal times a little difficult. I think we (grownups) could all stand to be a little more like kids when it comes to our ability to handle the shit life throws at us.
Song Title: “Winds of Change” by Fitz and the Tantrums.