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

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