Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!


on February 11, 2013

Ja and I, we have been gifted these amazing little people to raise to love the Lord.  To raise to become productive adults.  They are in our house for such a short time, really, even though oftentimes it seems like eternity.

I’ve talked about this before quite a bit, about our struggles with food.  With fitting in when we have to limit our food choices.  With so many different things.

In a nutshell, our lovely, handsome, intelligent, intense son cannot have food additives.  HFCS, MSG, food dyes, all these things cause him to react in terrible and often violent ways.  The big problem is that it’s not an allergy, per se…  and, our society?  Sees sensitivities, especially in one so young, more as an excuse on the parents’ part to explain away bad behaviour.

I’ve actually been accused of that by close friends before.  In fact, I was accused of that indirectly very recently.

Here’s my confession.  I got lazy.  I got tired of reading every.  single.  label.  Every.  Single.  Time.  It’s never easy for us.  Our lives revolve around what we’re going to eat, when we’re going to eat it, how much gets eaten.   If I’m tired of cooking?  We can’t just stop at Wendy’s, or heck, even Subway for a break.  I can’t call Ja and say, “Hey, Honey, had a rough day, can you bring home dinner?”

So, over Christmas I just kind of stopped.  We were taken out to dinner several times.  We did not take our own food with us when we went to family gatherings.  I did not police his intake when we were at gatherings.  We let him have things that we normally would direct him away from.

And oh did my precious boy pay for our lack of diligence.

I’ve known for weeks that he’s been off.  You can actually read it on his face and see it in his behaviour in little ways.  He withdraws.  He doesn’t want to play outside.  He doesn’t handle conflict well.  He doesn’t eat well when we are eating.  He hardly smiles.  He’s… well, he’s not him.

We had a birthday party, we had red cupcakes the same weekend, and then on Monday we had a blowup.  A violent blowup that I’m still sporting the bruises from.

Frankly?  I should not have to use my Non-violent Crisis Intervention techniques on my son.

A full half hour I held him down while he tried his best to injure me, injure himself, or to destroy something.  When I finally got him calm enough, got some juice into him, and held him while he sobbed in my arms, I was beaten and exhausted.  My heart breaks for him.  I don’t want his life to be this hard.

I want to stomp my feet and scream that it’s not fair.

Because you know what?  It isn’t fair.  It isn’t fair that he can’t simply go to a birthday party and have cake and icecream like the other kids without his parents planning ahead for the repercussions that that entails.

It’s not fair that he has to take a break every two hours to eat something so that he can cope with day to day regular interactions.

It’s just, it’s not fair.

I’m angry that in our society today, we can’t trust any food that you buy in a store.  I’m angry that money is so important to big companies that they manufacture fake food that is addictive.   I’m angry that it’s an issue with other people that our son can’t handle food additives.  I’m angry that because it isn’t an allergy, it isn’t treated with respect.  I’m angry that because his reaction is usually delayed, people think that we’re crazy, they think that he’s just a bad kid.

I’m angry that this situation is unfair, preventable, and that we’re judged because we’re choosing different food choices for our son so that he can be the best child he can be.

On Monday when we had friends here, one friend consoled me after the meltdown, and strongly suggested we get some behavioural counseling.

I’m feeling a little bitter about that remark.  It completely negated the fact that he hasn’t had a violent meltdown in two years since we started this food journey.  It completely negated the fact that we have worked our butts off to change our parenting styles, to change the way we do everything, all so that our precious boy can have the best chance at life possible.  Her comment was a slap in the face at all that we had done, and all that we are doing.  It screamed at me, “You are a BAD mother, you have a BAD son.”  And I hate that.  I hate that I took it that way when this friend was probably intending to help console me.

So, where does that take us?

We’re back where we started from.  No more cheating.  No more being lazy.  Planning out every meal and every snack.  Keeping on top of moods and behaviours, and reading when to attribute it to food, and when to attribute it to stubborn kid.

Feeling on edge at every moment.  Not wanting to leave the house, because when we go somewhere?  Then I have to explain.  Explain to people who don’t understand, or who don’t care.  We got a few snide comments about taking our own homemade icecream to an icecream social on Sunday.  We get comments from family and friends about how we’re depriving our kids of a childhood by “forcing” them to eat this way.

We’re making an appointment with a local naturopath to see if there are some other things we can do.  We’ve already seen a doctor and a dietitian.  We’re considering spending a heck of a lot of money on testing to see if we’ve missed something, and also to be able to have something on paper that we can show people.

If this were a nut allergy, it would not be an issue.  Nuts would simply be banned, and no one would bat an eye.  Because it’s often not an instant reaction, people doubt us.  Judging from what’s been said to our face, I can only imagine what must be said behind our backs…

And yet, while I’m busy whining about spending 3/4 of my life planning and making our food, while I’m feeling discouraged that I have to doubt EVERY kind of food that isn’t made by us, while we can’t do this feed our kids thing the easy way….

This boy??

He?  Is so worth it.  Worth every single second.


2 responses to “Angry.

  1. Rebecca says:

    thanks for posting this. As usual you touch a nerve.

    Please thank Eph for being brave and strong and please thank you and Ja too. Because of all of you, I was able to learn what was ailing my own daughter. There are so many days you just want to let the kids have a hot dog or not have them be upset because the only snack offered at church was ICECREAM (what is wrong with these people?) and so they got nothing because of course today was the day you forgot to pack them their own snack just in case.

    When I am feeling really lazy I try to remind myself and Lyla that we are all way healthier because of the things she can’t have. They are things we shouldn’t be eating anyhow.

    Keep on plugging away!

    • HooliganZoo says:

      Thanks, Rebecca. I’m having a hard time this week with the judgment and etc… I’m sorry that you have the same problem, but I’m glad to not be alone at the same time!

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