Mineral has been gluten-free (GF) for a few weeks now. At first it was really challenging, but then I found corn tortillas, and everything has been fine. No, really. He loves tacos.
Actually, what’s made it easier is that Mineral is really committed to being GF. As soon as I told him we were going to try it and that it might help him with his behavior, he was on board. After a few days, he told me he thought it helped him sleep better at night — which is a big issue for him. He tends to stay up later than all the other kids, playing with Legos or reading in bed. Since going GF, he’s been able to fall asleep earlier, and easier.
I’ve made it easier on myself by not insisting that all of us eat GF. This helps because eating GF can get expensive. In theory, if I were to avoid all flours and grains it might be less expensive, but since Mineral ate gluten for over nine years, I’ve been making substitutions and those items are expensive. GF pastas and breads cost more than regular items. GF cereal — there’s this one that’s really good but it’s $6/10oz! — is costly. Meanwhile, I’m trying to make sure that he has GF treats, like GF brownies and cookies, and GF pancakes on weekends.
At first it was really challenging, but now it’s easier. If I cook dinner for all of us I make sure it’s entirely GF, and he will eat leftovers the next day for lunch. Also, Mineral loves fruit, which is GF. If he hates dinner, his next day’s lunch is a hot dog with a GF bun or peanut butter and jelly on GF bread for lunch. There’s the delicious-yet-expensive GF cereal for breakfast, and Earth Fare has GF items for their weekly Kids Eat Free night.
Not insisting that we ALL eat GF has helped me, too. I think I was more traumatized by the idea of eating GF than Mineral ever was.
He’s also taking a new medication that is supposed to help with outbursts, along with his twice-daily ADHD medication. Recently I lost his prescription and he was out of the ADHD medicine for three days. That was NOT fun. (Maybe I need some too?)
Some other things I’m trying
- I got him a pair of noise-canceling earmuffs. The kind that construction workers wear on a loud site. He was telling me that his sisters’ loudness bothers him (Hey, it’s not just you, Mineral) and I thought the earmuffs might help. Mineral LOVES wearing costumes and other weird stuff, and I knew that the earmuffs would be aesthetically pleasing. His only complaint is that he can’t hear the radio when we’re in the car and he’s wearing them.
- We started a chart that includes daily expectations in hygiene, school and chores, as well as extras (which earn between 10c and 25c per chore). So now he knows what is expected of him and what is an extra.
- He can take a five-minute break if he needs to. This is not a chance to get out of doing a chore or a way to completely avoid a responsibility (like his Occupational Therapy, which seems to cause a lot of stress), but an opportunity to take five minutes to stop what he’s doing and calm down before continuing.
Often it seems like two steps forward, one step back (or vice versa), but I can see improvements overall. Next week we’re going to Florida and I am hopeful that my parents will see a change in Mineral’s behavior from the last time she spent time with him. We no longer have to step on eggshells quite so much with him.