No, it’s not always roses for us. Even after 4.5 years of helping my Hayden with ‘food is medicine’…
Here’s how we have gotten to ‘JOY’….
Well you may have already read Hayden’s story. He is extremely sensitive to chemicals and certain foods. When he eats the wrong food, his brain is inflamed for 4 weeks until he wakes up one day and his true self comes back to us.
When Hayden was 4, he went through a year of picking up another child’s food off the floor to taste it. A single Tiny Teddy would give us 4 weeks of ‘ADHD’ hell. A coloured pasta from craft…4 weeks of hell.
We spent 4 weeks:
+ yelling his name without response
+ needing speedy reflexes for his impulsive grabbing, hitting, ripping..
+ breathing through spontaneous meltdowns at any point
+ needing to entertain his short attention span constantly from morning to night
+ the frustration and exhaustion that goes with it..
Our nervous systems have all suffered, along with our adrenal glands.
Fast forward to Hayden’s first year of school and he matured.
He didn’t eat any culprit foods for the whole year…until the second last day of the year. He ate someone’s Milo snacks as I had forgotten to send his banana….
Four weeks of craziness, just to remind us what the good ol’ days were like. And an extra 2 weeks at the end with such irritated eyes (like conjunctivitis) as his body tried to rid the last of the Milo snacks. We knew this from kinesiology.
This year, Hayden has been back on track for the first half of the year. We have always thought ‘imagine what his teacher would think if she saw this wonderful, bright and sensitive child on the culprit foods’.
The other side to Hayden
Well now she has. We thought his system would cope with a tiny bit of dairy and buckwheat. Before we knew it, Hayden was having the spontaneous meltdowns. He was reported to have been in trouble at school. His brain could not focus. And it went back to me following him around like a 1-year-old getting ready for school. He can barely hold one step instruction in his mind, let alone focus on getting the whole job done (finishing his breakfast, brushing teeth, making it to his room to get dressed).
Let alone the constant sneezing and itchy eyes and borderline ear infections. It’s not hayfever.
It is like Hayden wastes 4 weeks of his life. Everyone is calling his name over and over. He gets told off for not following the rules, not concentrating, not completing tasks. And not to mention the label of ADHD is now being thrown around again. And I don’t blame anyone, after 3.5 weeks, we have nearly forgotten the true self of our son too.
Then there are the emotions. Hayden dreads going to school. I spend the day wondering how his day is going at school and what frustrations he will bring at home too. It takes a lot of energy to keep the love as strongly, I can tell you!
It is exhausting. It is so disappointing to see your child behaving in such a different manner to their ‘true’ self. There are dealings with school. There are wonderings of how best to deal with it all. Let alone the guilt of giving him these foods.
And the final straw….. I found out the other day that the school staff have seen Hayden picking up kids’ food off the ground at school and eating it, just to taste it.
I feel just so sad and disappointed that my son has to go to that length…. It is a clear sign that he feels deprived. He tells me he can’t help it. Even though he has for most of the last 2 years. I am thinking it is because his brain is not firing clearly and he has far less control to tell himself no.
Here we go again.
So we are now facing another 4 weeks of craziness. And I am scratching my head as to how to help my son.
Step 1 – have a cry and work through my own emotions!
Step 2 – acknowledge the terribly hard time it is for Hayden
Step 3 – step up the love and joy – both with food and other activities
Being honest with ourselves.
This weekend, we were due to go camping. But facing some rain, we got real with ourselves. Housing Hayden with a fuzzy brain, in a day for a whole day is NOT a holiday!
So we are having a HOME-iday! Instead of camping, we are being grateful for the space and activities we do have here at home and around. Anthony, my husband has gotten creative in the kitchen and baked some new treats. We have spent one-on-one time with the kids. We have made a point of having fun.
And wouldn’t you know, yesterday, Hayden pulled this card!
So our HOME-iday is our Project JOY.
It is amazing how fulfilled you can feel by prioritising joy! And amazing how quickly you can forget it in the busy-ness of life. Particularly for our little ones.
I will say, I know there are families suffering FAR worse than this. But I also know there are others that might take comfort in knowing they are not alone in dealing with children with ‘difficult’ behaviour.
And I also know there are many families who deal with children with ‘fuzzy brains’, that aren’t even aware there is complete hope of changing their child’s life (and their own) around, by looking at food and chemical intolerances.
You don’t need medication (that inflames the insides), when you can help your child’s body to run like the miracle machine that it is!
So stay tuned, photos of our Project JOY!
In tiggy and rainforest hikes
Oh Heidi, my heart goes out for you. You are doing so much for Hayden – what an amazing mum you are! I know this feeling so well as I am going through this with F.
Kindy gave him a birthday cake full of dairy a couple of weeks ago, despite him having dairy-free cakes in their freezer to give to him in these situations. We had a crazy week of fuzzy brain, crazy ADHD type behaviour, wetting himself, mouth rash, difficulty going to sleep… a completely different child. It’s exhausting – physically and emotionally. I wish there was more support out there for parents around this stuff. Thanks for sharing!
Oh NO Nicole. I feel your frustration – our daycare would sometimes forget the cakes in the freezer and my boys would have to sit and just watch the others eat it. It breaks your heart.
I hope you are surviving the crazy times. Nice to know that dairyfree does make a difference?! I am aiming at starting a FB group soon enough for all of us mums in this type of boat 🙂