TOP 5 THINGS ABOUT BEING GLUTEN FREE

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I’ve been gluten free (for the second time around) for over 5 months now.  The first time was for about 7 months; four months prior to Sienna’s conception, and through the first trimester.  This time around is much easier.  That may be because I now have confirmation of a subclinical presentation of Celiac; perhaps because there are simply more options available than even 18 months ago; perhaps because I really feel like I’m doing it by my choice this time.

You may know all the research that is coming out about how gluten affects fertility (if you want the research my endocrinologist gave me, you can email me at bacolton@hotmail.com).  But, although I can’t say I can personally attest to that particular benefit, there are many other side benefits to being gluten free.

Here are my top 5:

1. Overall, I feel much better.  I never had any symptoms of a gluten sensitivity, but now being gluten free, I feel so much lighter, cleaner, healthier.  I never ever feel bloated.

2. It’s a much “purer” way to eat.  Gluten is found in a lot of processed foods.  So, simply by eating more organically, you are naturally eating less gluten.  Getting back to the way Adam and Eve ate, ya know?

3.  Being gluten free is so much easier these days.  Perhaps because it is en vogue, or is simply becoming more common, restaurants — even Italian restaurants — are offering gluten free options.  I have never been able to not find a substitute.  (I have yet to find a pizza crust that I truly enjoy as much as a wheat crust, but that is pretty much the only exception).

4.  If you have ever seen “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network, the winner last year was this little bakery just down the road from us! And she won with a gluten free cupcake!  I have tried them, and I must admit, not half bad! (I’m still partial to ice cream, which ,thankfully, generally does not contain gluten).

5.  I used to have awful cycle cramps.  The kind where you double over in pain, have to leave work/school early.  Yeah, that kind.  Well, no longer.  I still notice the familiar twinges and low back ache and can recognize when it is coming, but it is not at all debilitating like it used to be.

Gluten sensitivities are much more common than they used to be.  If you at all suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, it is a simple blood test.  Celiac itself is generally not officially diagnosed outside of having an intestinal probe, but you can have subclinical presentations, like myself.

It is not easy being gluten free, but it is absolutely a lifestyle choice that has mounds of benefits that, in my opinion, make it extremely worthwhile.

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FIVE LITTLE KNOWN FACTS

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In the interest of levity… Five Little Known Facts about Me:

1. I wear slippers or fuzzy socks to bed every night. However, invariably, I slip them off after about 5 minutes. Into the covers. So, at any given time, there are at least six pairs of socks or slippers under the covers, at the foot of my bed. It causes my husband endless frustration.

2. I was a prep in high school. I went to a hippie college. I had a lot of trouble reconciling the two. I resolved it by wearing Grateful Dead shirts, ripped up jeans, and penny loafers. I rocked it.

3. I hate to cook. You would hate to eat what I cook. In high school, my parents made me cook a meal once a week. It didn’t last long. For enchiladas, did you know you are supposed to brown the meat before you put it in the tortillas, and then in the oven? Why you would need to cook it twice is beyond me.

4. I love 80s music. A great day for me is when I can hear Lionel Ritchie, Starship, and Peter Cetera on the radio in one sitting.

5. I have a pretty expansive vocabulary. I like using ridiculously commodious words whenever possible. And, when I can’t think of a word that works, I will make one up.

MORE BRAE-ISMS

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— What is it with boys and their bowel movements? The other day, Brae wanted to play with some toys outside. He went outside, dropped his drawers, and peed. Then, he decided to take all of his clothes off, except his socks (in February?). I was preparing dinner, so I wasn’t watching him closely. When he trotted in after about 10 minutes, the bottom of his socks were black. And they smelled.

“Brae,” I asked. “Did you go poop outside?”

He nodded approvingly. “Yes, mama! C’mon, let me show you!”

And then he gallivanted me proudly around the backyard, showing me the three places he went poop, and then had stepped in each with his feet.

Seriously?

— The other morning, as I’m waiting for Brae to go pee, he declares, “Mama, I’m going to go pee like a Warrior!”

And then, while pants down, he proceeds to get into a warrior (think yoga-warrior) pose, and remarkably, aimed perfectly into the toilet.

— Every Sunday Tygh takes Brae to the driving range after church. They go to this local golf course called Langdon Farms that has big, beautiful red farmhouses all throughout the golf course. After they finish at the driving range, they have lunch together. The wait staff know Brae so well, his chicken nuggets and chocolate milk are already waiting for him when they step in from outside.

This last Sunday, as Tygh and Brae were driving up to the golf course, Brae began to sing:

“Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-ooo… and on that farm he had some ….. (long pause) ….. golf balls… ee-i-ee-i-ooo…. and on that farm he had some ….. (long pause) ….. chicken nuggets ….. ee-i-ee-i-ooo…..”

Here are some recent pics of the kiddos (and, drumroll… Sienna. Is. Crawling!!!!!):

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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IN THE LION’S DEN

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I was going to post about something completely different today, but then something happened this morning that has completely distracted me.

As I was dropping Brae and Sienna off at their little school, another parent mother approached me. She pulled me aside. I’ve got Sienna propped on my hip, cold wind blowing against us, and Brae sitting in his car seat.

“I need to tell you something,” she begins. “I think Brae may be getting picked on at school. By my son, and by this other boy.”

“Ok,” I said, as a lump wells in my throat. “What makes you think that?”

“Just some things my son is saying, like he doesn’t want to play with Brae because he’s not potty trained.”

“Well that doesn’t make sense,” I respond, “Brae is potty trained.”

“I don’t know,” she continues. “This may just be 3-year-old squalor, but my son said he doesn’t want to invite Brae for a playdate. I told him that if he’s going to invite his other friend, he has to invite Brae.”

“Ok,” I stammer, still trying to process all of this in my head, hoping that Brae isn’t overhearing any of this. “Thanks for letting me know,” I manage, as I readjust Sienna on my hip and start gathering her things out of the car.

I walked to the front door of the school kind of in a daze. Was any of this true? Does bullying really start this young? I’d always been afraid that Brae would BE the bully, not the victim. Why am I so bothered by this? Was it appropriate for this mother to tell me all of this?

I dropped Sienna off, and on my way out the door to go get Brae, I ran into the headmistress of the school. I inquired about whether she’d seen any bullying-type activities from these two boys toward Brae. She seemed shocked, which was comforting to me. “No,” she insisted. “And if we do, we put a stop to it. But you know, one day, these kids are friends, one day they aren’t. Somebody hears that somebody else had a birthday party that they weren’t invited to, so they aren’t friends for a week.”

As I walked toward the car to get Brae, I knew that the headmaster was right. I remember how those school years can be. But why am I still so bothered by this? I don’t even know if it’s true.

As I unstrapped Brae from his carseat, I asked him, “So, are James and Max your friends?” He looked at me surprised and then said, “Mommy! I don’t want to go to school!” and started a little temper tantrum. (You have to keep in mind that Brae has been throwing a temper tantrum just about every morning since Sienna was born when I drop him off at school. He doesn’t seem like he ever wants to go, and yet, he’s never ready to leave when I pick him up in the afternoon. So I try not to read too much into this).

As I was driving away from the school, I could not get all of this out of my head.

We’ve tried so hard to make Brae not an “obvious” target of bullying. He doesn’t have a strange haircut. He wears “cool” clothes. He’s a confident kid. He’s a joker. He’s potty-trained (phew!). He’s learning his manners. He’s a smart kid.

And that’s where it hit me. I can do everything in my power to prepare him to enter this world, but I can do nothing about how other people act. I’m not responsible for the actions of others. My job as Brae’s Mommy is to equip him for this world. And, there are bullies in this world. Heck, there are bullies at my work. But that doesn’t mean I don’t go to work. If I were to teach Brae that every time he’s faced with an obstacle, he quits and turns around, I would be doing Brae a great disservice.

At the same time, no child should be subjected to bullying. School should be a safe place.

The problem with this situation is that I don’t really know what has happened, if anything. And this other mother doesn’t know either. We’re at the mercy of the finite vocabulary and infinite imagination of our sons.

At this moment, I plan to probe a little deeper with some of the other teachers at the school to see if they notice anything. I also plan on asking some non-leading questions of Brae tonight to see if I can elicit anything further.

There is another mother-friend at the school who is planning to take her son out. He’s a little bit older, and a very shy, reserved boy. She believes, based on things he has told her, that perhaps he’s not having the best time at school. He’s an artsy kid and she wants to find a school that may fit her son a little more.

I definitely do not feel at the same place she is. I love this school. It’s a full Spanish immersion school. It’s quaint, organic, a real neighborhood feel. During the summer, I’m able to walk the kids to and from school. I want Brae to stay in this school. But that desire pales in comparison to wanting the best for my son.

In this situation, it’s just so hard to know what that is.

I’m taking suggestions.