Today I’m Feeling

Right now I’m feeling… well, not guilty exactly.  I guess I’m frustrated with myself and also with my son’s dairy intolerance.  My little boy has been having tummy problems for about the last month.  First I thought it was the dairy in some fish sticks I offered him.  As time went by and he got no better, I concluded that it was the fish itself.  More time passed.  I hadn’t introduced anything new except the fish sticks, and I’d put a stop to that a while ago.  No progress.  No callback from the GI doc.  I took him to the regular pediatrician, concluded the problem must be acid.  He must have outgrown his dose of reflux meds.  I practically beg her to adjust the dose for me, since the GI doc wouldn’t call me back.  She agrees and I think all is right with the world.

Fast forward to day four on new dose of reflux meds.  If the higher dose were helping, we’d start seeing improvement right about now.  I experience the sickening realization that nothing has changed.  Nothing has improved.

He will hardly eat anything.  It’s been this way for weeks.  I’m having to coax him to drink more formula.  But it can’t be the food he’s eating.  He’s not eating anything new.  In fact he’s hardly eating anything at all.  I wrack my brains and I wrack them some more.  It must be something he’s eating.  If it’s not the reflux, it has to be something in his diet.  Since he’s not eating anything, the culprit can’t be too hard to find.

And then I think about the chocolate organic pop tarts I’ve been feeding him.  It’s one of the only foods he’ll eat.  There must be dairy in the filling!  That HAS to be it!  It’s the only thing he’s eating that has any dairy or soy in it, the only thing he’s been eating that’s (sort of) new.  Why did it only take me four weeks to come up with it?

It took me four weeks because I knew he could tolerate the organic pop tarts.  I’d been giving them to him for a few months, including the time immediately before all this trouble started when he was feeling fine.  How could it be the pop tarts?

And how could I have known?  My son is fine with dairy so long as it’s baked in.  The dairy ingredients in the chocolate pop tart are exactly the same as the ingredients in all the other flavors.  The ingredient list never tells you how something is prepared.  It rarely will tell you whether the questionable ingredients are in the crust or the filling, whether they are baked, fried or neither.  It tells you the minimum information you need to know.  There are allergens in here.  Somewhere.  Your desire to give your child a tasty treat that’s safe is your own problem.  Caveat emptor.  I’m guiltily frustrated.  I’ve been causing my child’s problems, however unknowingly.  And I expect myself to know better, to do better, after a year and a half of label-reading experience.  But I’m still a novice.  And I want my son to eat whatever he can.  I don’t want to keep him from all dairy if I don’t have to.  Clearly, they don’t have a label for that.

So I feel like I’m in that poem about the hole in the sidewalk.  Normally, that’s not a poem about me.  Normally, I fall in once and then come up with a plan that involves staying away from the hole and then I stick to it fairly well.  But when it comes to my son’s health problems, I just. keep.  falling. in.

This post was inspired by Just Be Enough


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tania Elfersy (@PurpleLeavesRed)
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 15:16:42

    We are all imperfect parents and we can never protect our children all of the time, however much we’d like to. It is of course not your fault that food labels are not clear enough. Even though you thought you were an expert in reading labels, it turns out you had even more to learn. Doesn’t this happen all the time in parenting? Right now my daughter is suffering from an allergy — appearing on her skin. I have no clue what it is from and the chances are, I will never know. All I can do is try the best I can to find out, keep her skin soothed and LOVE her.

    Goodbye chocolate organic pop tarts! I hope you find another snack for your son to adore, which will be just right for him too.


  2. bridgetstraub
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 20:47:52

    I have to admit I am so grateful that none of my kids have any serious allergy issues. i wish you the best with this.


  3. Kate Fineske (@katefineske)
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 07:54:45

    I have MANY friends who struggle with kids who have allergies. Too many to count! And they all say the same thing – it takes a REALLY long time to figure out what you can and cannot do. Your son is so lucky to have you – you do the best you can ALL the time. Hang in there…


    • sleeplessinsummerville
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 09:52:58

      Thank you. It’s odd to say so, but I don’t know anyone else who is going through this right now. I only know one mommy with a food-allergic child, and hers is 11, so she has many years experience already. It never occurred to me that anyone else found it complicated.


  4. Arby
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 13:51:27

    Forgive yourself. We are parents. We make mistakes. Sometimes, we make doozies. We feel far more guilt than we should. My children all say the same thing to me when I apologize for a mistake I have made. They say, “That’s okay, dad.” It’s the kid’s version of “I forgive you.” If they can forgive me, then I need to forgive myself. Learn from the mistake, but don’t beat yourself up over it. The world of food allergies is tricky, at best. Have a happy Thanksgiving.


  5. Krishann
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 11:04:15

    Dairy makes my little’s tummy hurt but only in large doses and not to the degree your little one is facing but it still stinks when they have to miss out on something or feel like they are. I am sorry that you are dealing with the challenge of a food allergy and hope that you can find an alternative special snack. I think sometimes we make mistakes. I know I do (and I feel terrible but that doesn’t change the fact that the mistake was made). But we own them and we try to move forward. And sometimes in the process we are able to teach our children a great lesson – yes even mommy makes mistakes too…Sometimes we feel like we should have known but we don’t always know. How could we have known?! Every day we are learning something new. It’s a process – a journey and many of our greatest lessons are taught simply by living.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and be good to yourself!!


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