As a continuation of No More Elimination Diet Trials- Part 1, I’m now writing up the changes I’ve seen in MeMe over the past three months, after taking him off gluten, dairy, and eggs.
I decided not to write this post right away because I had just given MeMe cheese in his white rice bread sandwich and I wanted to see if the unwanted behaviors would die down- they did!
So here’s the roundup (sorry if it gets a bit long, but that’s a good thing!):
MeMe is more relaxed, more confident, less frustrated and agitated, and meltdowns are rare. I cannot remember the last time he had one.
He has better self-control so if he does get wound-up, he can stop himself before he reaches meltdown-point. He isn’t as compulsive also because of his better self-control. He is a better judge of his actions and can foresee cause-and-effect, so even if he compulsively bothers a sibling, he recognizes what he did and can have some control over that same action next time. He can also monitor his behavior better because the consequences are much more real to him now.
(This should all be in CAPS, these are HUGE improvements!)
MeMe also started to display sympathy for a sibling who got hurt (or who he hurt). His face shows he is instantly sorry and he wants to comfort the other child. He wants to make up for what he did or help the other person. (Compare this to a blank expression on his face and running away to play with something else. Or saying “Nuh-uh, I didn’t do it” while jumping up and down.)
(A short story to illustrate this new skill he has: A few nights ago when I was putting my kids to sleep, I placed my toddler in the crib in her room and then left to put my other son to sleep in his room. I had planned to come back and settle her down- cover her, sing with her, put on her favorite cd, etc. I heard her crying for me and so I went back to her, and by the time I got there MeMe had her lying comfortably and quietly on her pillow, he had covered her and he was stroking her back and shushing her gently. I was amazed (still am). It was completely out-of-character for MeMe and so unexpected.)
On top of all this (Wow!) MeMe has better comprehension and is not saying “What? What? I didn’t hear you!” all the time. He mostly understands what we say the first time. His speech has picked up wonderfully and he can actually tell a story without missing details and in order, describe a situation accurately, and give short speeches that I can follow!
He is showing more creativity, more imagination, and has better logic skills. He can look at himself in the mirror and see where he needs fixing up, if his snow hat needs to be adjusted, etc.
He can split or share a task with someone else. If I ask him to clean up the blocks with his brother, he doesn’t come crying that his brother is cleaning up too many, or hit him. He understands that a job can get done by two people working together.
MeMe has shown enough responsibility that I can trust him to cross certain streets in our neighborhood as well as run small errands such as mailing an envelope, buying himself a coloring book from a store near our house, purchasing eggs or other small food items I might need, or buying a treat for his siblings at a nearby bakery.
MeMe also has gotten pretty good at playing ball. He can throw and catch as well as his classmates and he actually started running to get under a ball to catch it. He used to keep his legs stiff as a statue and watch the ball fly by. Or duck so as not to get hit.
So that’s that. He has a come a long way in the past few months. Not to say things are perfect but practice will make it so eventually. His worst behaviors come out when he’s hungry or needs to go to the bathroom and go resolve those fast enough. Or during a transition but he’s gotten so much better about that.
To compare, here’s a list of the “unwanted behaviors” I mentioned before that he had when eating dairy: He was constantly arguing with me, very easily frustrated, extremely irritable and agitated, compulsive, chewing on his sleeves all the time, and always feeling crowded while simultaneously getting right into other people’s faces for no reason.
To end this long post, I’ll have to admit that we had gone off the Learning Breakthrough program for more than two weeks and I wasn’t very good at giving him his vitamins. We’re back on Learning Breakthrough at least. And we’ve started on some new exercises for building his skinny arms and legs into muscle. Hopefully I can stop forgetting about his vitamins and I’ll have some more good news to report back to you!