Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Gluten Experiment

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When we first moved I started looking for an acupuncturist right away.  I knew I was holding a lot of stress from the move (and from parenting and for the miscarriage and, and, and...) and I knew that is was important to treat it in whatever way would be fastest.  I felt like having a baby when you already above your threshold is just a bad idea.  Because first, you have to relax to get the baby out and then you use up everything you have left with sleepless nights and (no doubt) the stressed out only child becoming a sibling.
I found a really warm and friendly place here called Asheville Community Acupuncture. I'd seen them when looking around for a low cost option and then my midwife sent me that way too.  Perfect.  For the first month and half and cried every time I got there.  The relief of being in a place where people only cared about  me and what I needed was overwhelming.  And then getting to lay down for 45 minutes or more in silence where I could meditate or drift or continue to cry as needed?  Well, let's just say I was a believer from day one.  I am not usually the type to cry.  I usually grit my teeth and make sarcastic comments that I pretend are funny.  But while they were helping me unwind the tears just flowed in the best way.
A few weeks ago I went in after a particularly horrific day with E.  When they asked me how the day was I pretty much dissolved. She said, "What is going on??"  I told her about how violent and wild E can get, how it is like his ears shut down completely, how it seemed like a complete impossibility for him to sit still for even one minute when asked.
She suggested a few things- an herbal tincture for me (so I could rest), a visit to her for E and an experiment with removing gluten for from E's diet.
I was surprised at first when she said that gluten can make a big difference in behavior in kids.  Call me blind, I am trained as a health coach, but I may never have gotten to this thought without her help.  If he had a skin problem, complained of stomach trouble, even seemed depressed, maybe- but for wildness?  For hyper activity?  I just thought he was being who he was and I was not able to handle it.  Or my parenting was all wrong for him.  All the reasons I could think of came back to one thing: I was an inadequate parent for this child. This lack of confidence is not like me, but I have been worn down and down.  Nothing we tried seemed to work.
Gluten free is an easy solution, really.  The day to day of it takes some planning but I knew it would be easier than wondering if it might work.  Right after Christmas we took him off gluten.  In days I felt like I could see a difference.  Days.  He began to be able to sit with me through a few books at a time.  He started to come back to me when I asked him even if he knew he'd done something I was going to correct him on.  He asked to do activities that involved sitting and focusing.  He became more fun to work with in the kitchen as his focus increased and he stopped arguing over every step.
He is no angel.  He is still very much a three year old, and now that I see what that is supposed to mean, I wouldn't want it any other way.  He is obstinate, he gets wildly upset, he wants to do things his own way.  But I have not been driven to yell, scream or physically remove him from a situation since then.  I have seen him upset others and then truly think through and see what he did.  And want to find a way to make it better.
We are two weeks in.  I'm not looking back.  We've added acupuncture for a few weeks and a little herbal supplement for him too.  Things are only looking up.  Yesterday was one of those rare days for a parent of a young child, where everything went so smoothly and you just have to soak in the goodness of it. So we'll be keeping it up. :)

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