Over three months have gone by since I put MeMe and my other son on a gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free diet.
First I’ll write about my other son (the one who used to have horrible eczema): I’ll have to give him a nickname for this blog so I can stop saying “my other son with eczema- I’ll use SeSe because his first initial is “S” and it rhymes with MeMe.
SeSe was always smart as a whip and an adorable, mature toddler. He amazed people with the little person he was, hiding in a 2 year old body. He crawled at 3 months and was speaking full sentences at the same time he started walking- about 12 months old. His teachers in nursery loved his insights and he was Mr. Popular among his classmates. When he was 4 years old, his teacher once remarked to me: “Sometimes SeSe will say something and it catches us all off guard, like I’m wondering why there’s a 30 year old in my nursery class.”
SeSe’s only 5 years old now but what has happened as he turned from 2 to 3 to 4 was that not only did he have terrible eczema on his face, elbows, wrists, knees, stomach, diaper area, scalp, he also became increasingly moody, plus he incessantly complained about his stomach hurting him. I can’t count the number of times I had to pick him up from school, the number of pajamas stained with all sorts of creams to try and relieve the awful itching from the eczema, the sleepless nights when all he was doing was scratching or having meltdowns in his sleep (every night, sometimes multiple times!)
I tried kinesiology and homeopathy, and was unsatisfied by the results. It came to a point where SeSe’s moods were so often and so horrible that I realized we were walking on eggshells around him. He would become aggressive, throw toys and stuff, and seem to completely lose his self-control. My happy, adorable, smart little boy had become someone I didn’t recognize! Oh, and did I mention he could argue anything out for hours? The manipulation coming from him was incredibly over-the-top.
SeSe did have some sensory issues- he loved to wrap himself in baby blankets, he always asked me to hold him tight. I’m still amazed that he recognized his sensory needs as a 2 year old and was able to play accordingly. He told me sometimes that he needs to chew, and I’d allow him to take a plastic spoon from our stash and use it as a chewy thing. Many times he’d say: “I need to squish something!” and we’d find some soft doll or a toy that was good for “squishing.” Because of his incredible-self awareness, I never thought of his sensory needs as a disorder, although it was clear he needed more sensory input than other kids. But it was never a disorder for him, he was immediately able to identify what he needed and then fulfill the need.
We’ve always known that SeSe was allergic to eggs and tomatoes. Once I gave him fried eggs and his eyelids blew up, it was so scary. And I recognized a pattern in him, every time he ate pizza or tomatoes or tomato sauce, he’d be scratching within an hour and complaining about his stomach.
Fast-forward to 3 months of being gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and tomato-free:
SeSe’s eczema is GONE. Completely disappeared. The only thing left is some dry skin which we can actually put lotion on without it burning the area. Did I mention that the winter cold usually makes eczema much worse?
SeSe’s stomach aches- GONE. (He had one last week when he was nervous about going to school because he knew there’d be a birthday party he couldn’t participate in.)
SeSe’s moodiness- GONE. Once in a while I’ll see something like a bad mood flash on his face but in a second it’s over. The hours of manipulative arguing, the meltdowns, the aggressiveness and lack of self-control- GONE.
I have my happy, flexible, easy-going, little boy back. He’s doing as well as ever in school, and everyone in his class is his best friend, according to him.
SeSe doesn’t mind much eating differently than his classmates. In-school birthday parties are a bit of a problem but I make sure to pack for him a bag of treats that he can eat while everyone else eats birthday cake, and he seems satisfied. I buy him terrific substitutes for the foods he can’t have, and he’s happy. (My bank account on the other hand is not, at $7/loaf of bread!)
Sometimes SeSe asks me when he can go back to eating regular food and for right now I’m avoiding the subject. How can I put him back on the foods that made him (and us) miserable? “Not any time soon, sweetheart,” is all I can answer, in my mind.
Next post I’ll have to describe the changes in MeMe over the past 3 months, I didn’t mean for SeSe to take up the whole page. 🙂