Editor’s note: By the way, if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been posting about three “Weeks” every week, it’s because I’m trying to catch up! I fell behind in writing in the last few weeks of my MBA program, but after this week, my posts should be more reflective of our actual current week.
“I miss pizza,” Logan said, looking at me with sadness in his eyes.
That’s random, I thought. He hasn’t had pizza for 33 weeks and hasn’t mentioned it once. Did he see it somewhere? He doesn’t watch TV, so it couldn’t have been a commercial. Maybe a kid at daycare was talking about eating pizza? Where does all the randomness come from in his mind?
“I wish I could have it again,” he continued in a voice far too morose for a 4-year-old. It broke my heart.
“OK, honey,” I said. “We’ll figure out how we can get you some pizza.”
So that night we found a restaurant nearby that sells pizza with gluten-free crusts (we didn’t ask if it was rice-based, which it probably was, which means it should have been off-limits. But the sadness in Logan’s voice! I felt like it was my duty as a mom to get this kid pizza, even if we had to cheat a little.) We ordered it with sausage, veggies, and no cheese. Of course, it came with tomato sauce, which I had forgotten about until I saw it — that’s off-limits, too. Goddamn it, I wanted to say. I hate this diet. It’s so hard to understand. Can cheating a tiny bit every once in a while really hurt all that much? Are these minor infractions the reason why we still wonder if we’re seeing real results toward fully recovering Logan? Honestly, it’s so hard to believe a few bites of rice and tomato sauce could mean the difference between social functioning and isolation.
Yet, here we are, still trying to do the diet.
We added vitamin supplements this week, too, as the next phase of our diet journey. Logan now takes omega-3s in a squeeze packet (we call it his morning squeezy), and I mix a powdered spectrum supplement that’s heavy in B-6 and B-12 into his probiotic shake. At least this addition to the diet is easy–no cooking involved!
Another nice thing about supplements is there are no explanations needed for giving a kid vitamins. No one thinks this is a weird or far-fetched plan for better health like they do (or seem to) when I mention Logan’s probiotics and zero-sugar diet. Even Sadie doesn’t ask why I give her a vitamin in the morning, but she’s starting to question Logan’s diet, too.
“Why Logan can’t have gloo-ten?” she asked as she watched me pack a lunch for Logan before daycare. I explained–in as simple a way as I could for a toddler–that gluten made his body feel bad on the inside. I always try to carefully say, “Logan’s body” or “your body” rather than “Logan” or “you” because it sounds (to me, at least) less like punishment.
Sadie pondered this for a moment, and then asked, “Logan have a owie in his body?”
The constant question. How to explain autism to a 2-year-old? How to explain things to coworkers who think they understand our situation because their children “throw tantrums, too,” how to explain things to nephews who get frustrated that Logan wants to play the same video game over and over? I know you’re not supposed to feel you have to “explain” a special needs child, but in reality, that simply doesn’t work.
“No, Sadie,” I said, hugging her, “Logan doesn’t have an owie in his body. Everybody’s body is just a little different.”