The week started out harmless enough, baby KC had a little virus so she had a few nights and days with disrupted sleep patterns. I think that was the catalyst for the downward spiral that was to follow. Lets rewind 6 days and what the tragedy unfold.....
ACT I: In which the sleep deprived heroine says YES when she should have said NO
SCENE ONE: Family Kitchen, early morning in a pre-school bus bustle. Gluten free lunches and snack being bagged and jammed into lunch boxes, baby in highchair looking for her next course of food.
Gabi: Mom can I have a bowl of Kickapoo Coco Crunch cereal for breakfast?
Heroine: Honey, that might not be a good idea. You used to react to that when you were little. It is not manufactured on dedicated equipment.
Gabi: Oh please Mom, I never get to eat anything, there is nothing else to eat.
Spotlight focuses on our Heroine as she pauses to asses the risk, as the bustle falls to the shadows we hear her thoughts as she processes.
Heroine: Well, she has been doing well since we started acupressure with Dr. Bob...maybe we have gotten her to the point that she might be able to tolerate the unmeasurable amount of gluten from shared equipment...but it is also chocalette, and she might be reacting to that too... but we will never know if she can handle it unless she eats it....
Spotlight fades and the family bustle comes back to full volume.
Gabi: Mom pleeaase?
Heroine: OK, but not a lot, and this means no other risky foods for the rest of the week so we can see we can see if you react.
Gabi: (replies with joy) Thanks Mom, just a little.
Narrator: And so began the week that our heroine would rather forget.... lets check in later that evening and see how she fairs.
SCENE TWO: Later the same day Gabi has spent most of the afternoon, angry at her sister, crying to her mother, or taking various craft and reading items out of drawers and cabinets, only to leave them unfinished in various locations. Her homework is sitting slightly crumpled and undone on dining room table. The only activity Gabi manages to attend to in this time is some computer games on PBS.org.
Narrator: You really don't want to hear the dialogue from this scene, lets just say our stressed out heroine is not the one you want to take positive parenting classes from. Failed redirection and reprimand ruled supreme over the next 4 days, so that by Friday everyone in the household was beyond frazzled. Most feeling bad about themselves and insecure with their place in the family order....including the dog.
SCENE THREE: Living Room Friday night post children's bedtime, after 3 nights of inability to fall asleep Gabi descends the stairs to see our heroine (and Finance Guy) on the couch trying to recover from the week that just passed.
Heroine: (sounding annoyed) Hello Gabi, what's the problem?
Gabi: I can't sleep, I'm itchy.
Finance Guy: Let's see.
Gabi pulls up her shirt and lowers her pants to reveal a red rash covering half her torso, all of her bottom and down her legs to the back of her knees. Part of which are bleeding and or scabbed over. A wave of guilt the size of a tsunami slams over our already tattered heroine.
Heroine: Oh honey, I will get the itchy cream and the benedryl, how long have you been itching?
Gabi: I don't know.
Narrator: It is at this moment that our heroine realizes that the past 4 days all began with that little bowl of cereal. She had begun to suspect it when her child had trouble focusing and sleeping and completing any task without being reminded 4-8 times. She knew the signs, but it wasn't until the telltale rash (that always appears 3-4 days after consuming gluten) that her suspicions were irrefutably confirmed . She alone was responsible for her child's current suffering.. she had no one to blame for her child's behavioral and physical maladies but herself......4 days ago, she said "Yes", when she should have said, "No".
Curtain closes on Act I
ACT II: In which Finance Guy, after being sick on the couch every night for a week, realizes that he can no longer consume dairy products of any kind.....not even butter...or cheese... or the buttermilk that is in our heroine's favorite gluten free baking mix. This might be a good time to point out that it is the week before Thanksgiving....and all those yummy gluten free baked goods from Whole Foods contain dairy...including the pie shells! The author should probably also mention that our heroine, although possessing many gifts and talents, baking in not among them.
SCENE ONE: The bakery counter at Whole Foods, where our heroine is waiting to be helped. Her primary objective: to stock up on pie shells to get her through the upcoming holidays. During her 20 minute wait, she stands helplessly while her nose is bombarded by the smells of all the breads, bagels and muffins that she can't bite into, her eyes take in all the lovely fruit and chocalette cakes in the case all ready to be taken home to make someone else's holiday table look impressive and delicious without any effort from them.
WF Clerk: I am sorry there are no more pie shells in the back.
Heroine: What? When will you be getting more?
WF clerk: Oh Monday or Tuesday.
Narrator: This does not sit well with our Heroine since the whole point of getting out of bed early Sunday morning and going out in the unseasonably cold weather to Whole Food was so she would not have to go on Monday or Tuesday, or Wednesday even, and deal with all the really stressed out unpleasant people.
WF Clerk: (sensing our heroine's faltering spirit) Here is a GF pecan pie?
Heroine: Is it dairy free?
WF Clerk: (checking label) Um......no.
Heroine: What about that GF stuffing, I will take a bag of that. (our Heroine pauses and checks the ingredient list).....that's not dairy free either.....wait... the pie shells have butter in them....they are not dairy free either.
Our heroine stands by helplessly as she is hit by yet another tsunami....and watches silently as the menu's she has planned for Thanksgiving, a birthday brunch, a holiday party and most of Christmas get washed away.......
Heroine: (realizing that the other patrons waiting at the bakery counter are beginning to make sideways glances at her with what is starting to resemble pity, collects herself and with what little cheer she can muster smiles and says..) Thank you for your help, have a nice holiday.
Narrator: We watch as our Heroine's spirits sink deeper with the realization that, she no longer knows how to feed her family safely. She stoically collects the last of the items on her list and stands in the check out line. She is aware from the concerned look of people who meet her glance that she must look close to how she feels. She vows silently to make it out of the grocery store before she allows the tears that are building to be released.
SCENE TWO: At Home later that day.
Narrator: Miraculously our Heroine not only makes it to the car but into her house and away from her children before despair overtakes her.
Heroine: (as she falls to her knees and clutches handfuls of the gluten free not dairy free flour mix that she can no longer use to feed her family, our heroine demonstrates her courage, strength, and perseverance as she realizes that although she has no idea how, she will figure it out. After all she has mastered gluten free living, hasn't she? Finally she speaks with her eyes still wet from tears.) As God as my witness.....my family will never go hungry again!
(OK well I may have borrowed and embellished that last part, but it did serve to illuminate the full drama of the moment, and the play really was starting to drag on.)
So now you see how it may not have been the best week to start a little project...my blog...but then again who hasn't had bad weeks, not Scarlett O'Hara......and certainly not our fair Heroine (that actually was me....but you probably got that).