For awhile now I’ve been meaning to write about Clara and her food issues but it’s not that fun of a story.
It involves too many bad bodily functions and lots of crying.
Lots of crying.
In summary I shall say this:
Clara has a pile of food sensitivities, she has had them her entire life and we are still working on figuring things out.
Perhaps we can get into the gory details of how we found all of that out later but I’m not up to that post tonight.
Since Clara has always had issues with food, she’s always had to avoid foods and eat differently from others. While it’s been difficult, Clara has known for a very long time that she can’t have anything with dairy in it and now accepts that some foods will hurt her belly. When faced with such a food she doesn’t cry or scream or pout. She just asks, “Me smell?” and so long as you let her smell the forbidden food, she’s happy.
It’s completely heartbreaking.
It’s also caused us to re-name many things to make it easier for her to tell what she can and can not have.
We have butter and we have “Clara butter.”
We have cheese and “Clara cheese.”
We have raisins and “Clara raisins”
We have sugar and “Clara sugar.”
We have oatmeal and “Clara oatmeal.”
Creative aren’t we?
Most of our diet has changed to comply with what Clara can and can not tolerate, and because of it we’ve been eating very healthy. Lean meat, veggies, whole grains – we’ve got them. Of course we are only human, so Ivy, John and I gleefully scarf down Clara unfriendly food whenever we get a chance.
And it bothers me.
It bothers me that I have to tell Clara that she can’t eat foods. It bothers me that the rest of us sneak food when she isn’t paying attention. It bothers me that we sometimes eat different food at dinner than she does. It bothers me that she misses out on the snack at story time. It bothers me that I should be grateful that she (and we) are eating so healthy but that I’m just resentful of the restrictions on my cooking. It bothers me that we have to skip doing things with people so we can be home for meals. It bothers me that I can’t magic her problem away. It bothers me when we mess up reading ingredients and she pays for it. And it bothers me every time she says “Me smell?” and insists that I eat the food instead.
The benefits have outweighed all of the problems in planning our meals and life around her current restrictions. Even my own emotions, that seem to have firmly attached themselves to the issue, are nothing compared to the improvement we’ve seen in Clara. She is a different girl than she used to be – a much happier one, and so we carry on with the crazy diet.
But it’s still not easy.
This week Ivy was leaving to play at a friends house. (You know, one of those things that could be called a “play date” but I refuse to call it such because the term irritates me all to pieces… but that’s a different story). Clara was very sad that Ivy was leaving and so I promised her that we could make a treat once Ivy was gone. Without hesitation I was informed that she wanted “Clara donuts.”
A little recipe sleuthing and I discovered that donuts have nothing in them Clara can have, but we went to the kitchen and started substituting.
Clara flour, Clara sugar, Clara butter, Clara eggs… I think the only thing I didn’t substitute out was the baking powder and the nutmeg.
I had dumped the dough out and was dubiously staring at the brownish mass I was supposedly making into donuts when Clara looked up from her beater licking and said:
“OOOO! That good!”
She was right. We had successfully made a treat for Clara that I didn’t have to worry about her eating and that she was loving. It was better than good. It was great. And the donuts weren’t bad either!