Here we are. Thirty. With three kiddos. BYOB means something completely different for us now. For us it means Bring Your Own Bun.
We have been Gluten Free for about four weeks now. Not because we are trendy. But because we have Connor Bear. Turns out, he may not actually be a bear when he poops like a normal human.
I’m sure with that tantalizing intro you are desperate to hear more. (please note: this post is ALL about poop. You have been warned.)
Connor has had poops that are so bad that my sweet friend who has SIX children said she has never seen anything like it. And that wasn’t even a bad one. He has been bathed in more public bathroom sinks, exited more buildings wearing only a diaper, and had more poop in weird places than any other human. Ever.
For instance, he had one of his wretched poops while at the hospital meeting his sister for the first time. The firefighter took Connor and Zeke to walk around a little. A few minutes later they were back. Connor held in his daddy’s outstretched arms. The firefighter started retching in the background as my mom and his mom scurried to contain the situation. The resulting casualties from the chaos: the “Big Brother” onesie I made him, his pants, and his socks were all trashed. From what I understand the carpeting along the path of their brief walk may also have warranted replacement.
Another time Amelia and I went on a women’s retreat with our church. The retreat was held in a canyon where there is no cell service. I called the firefighter a few minutes before we would start descending into the canyon to say “I love you. See you in a few days.”
Firefighter: “Are you calling to tell me you are ALMOST HOME?!?”
Me: “Um…no. We are almost at the retreat and I just wanted to call and say ‘I love you and I’ll see you in a few days.’”
Firefighter: “Amber, he’s doing it. He’s having the bad poop. <gag>Oh, it’s everywhere! Oh MY GOSH! Connor, how did you…?!? Connor! <gag, deep breath> OH MAN!! It’s on his bed and the changing table and oh gosh, NOOOOOO it’s all over the carpet! He got it EVERYWHERE! <productive gag> What DO I DO!?!?”
Firefighter: <gagging> “How do I get rid of it?!?”
Me: “Wash it.”
Firefighter: <gagging with desperation> “WASH IT WHERE?!?”
Me: “Hey, I think we are about to lose service. I love you and I will see…you…in a…few…”
In his line of work the firefighter has fetched limbs that have become detached from their humans at accident scenes. He has seen and helped people during the most difficult and horrifying moments of their lives. He fights fires for crying out loud! He is the toughest, strongest, most logical, least dramatic man I know. Except when it comes to poop.
Anyway, Connor has had these epic showdowns 4-6 times a day, every day since he started eating table food. I have been told repeatedly by Doctors that he has Toddler’s Diarrhea (<—the spelling of that word is annoying) a condition that he will grow out of and to keep him away from juice. Well, he doesn’t even like juice. He drinks water or coconut milk (he is also dairy sensitve). I have asked many times if there is anything that we could be doing different to help him. The answer has always been that he will grow out of it.
Well, he is nearly 2 1/2 and many of his little friends are beginning potty training. While their parents are googling all the different methods and reward systems for potty training, I am over here googling if there is such a thing as pull-ups for college students because I am certain Connor will need them. His friends are able to tell their parents when they need to go potty. Connor can’t let me know before because there is no warning, he just suddenly says, “I poo poo on my leg and my shoe and the floor.”
So we have talked with folks and studied a bit and felt that we should give Gluten Free living a shot. We knew this would be weird to some people. But this wouldn’t be the first time we have done weird things for food. I have washed poop off of warm farm fresh eggs, bought grassfed beef off the back of a truck in the Sutherlands’ parking lot, and my husband has accepted foods for payment from some of his side jobs. I truly love scrubbing real live dirt off of fruits and veggies. If I find a bug on my produce I have been known to squeal with a strange combination of elation and disgust knowing that no pesticides have touched our food and also, gross, there is a bug on my food.
Blah blah blah, back to Connor.
The first thing we noticed upon giving up gluten is that taking gluten away from a bread-loving 2 year old is like taking a drink away from an alcoholic. It was ugly. Full of tears, hitting, and much frustration. He wanted Goldfish. I gave him applesauce. He threw it on the floor and screamed. We ate at our favorite restaurant and gave him his burger without the bun. I swear, the sad look he gave me is forever imprinted in my mind. He would just fall in my arms and lay there, unmoving, as if all joy had been stolen from his little world. This lasted the first two weeks. I wanted to cave. I kept telling the firefighter that his lack of explosive poops was not due to giving up gluten but because he wasn’t eating as much.
“Please, PLEASE man, for the love of peace, I beg of you! Give the sad little boy some bread!!!”
But the firefighter held firm and I grudgingly agreed. And as much as I hate to admit it, Connor is better. All better. I cannot stress enough how much I wish it weren’t so. It makes life, snacks, and spaghetti much more complicated. I guess I feel a bit defensive because I know Gluten Intolerance and Gluten Sensitivity are the current buzz words that are causing so many people’s eyes to roll. I am not trying to advocate a new lifestyle for anyone else. I don’t want anyone else to feel like they need to attempt to make unpalatable muffins with Coconut Flour. I wouldn’t dream of telling you to spend $2.50 for one Gluten Free hamburger bun that you must spread with olive oil and toast before leaving your house so your family can go out to dinner at a restaurant. What I really want you to glean from this post is we don’t have to start stocking up on adult diapers for Connor’s graduation gift. And that is a beautiful thing.