So how do you get a 3 year old to understand that they can’t eat wheat? That if they eat wheat they will end up in pain and discomfort for days around going to the toilet? How do you get them to understand that they can’t share the food that the other kids are eating at school because it will make them ill?
This has been our problem recently as my daughter started pre-school. Although she is only there for 2.5 hours every day, they have a snack mid-morning. Even though we have told the school about her intolerance, have given them a cheat sheet with some of the obvious and less obvious foods with wheat in them, got them to give us a copy of their weekly menu and are sending a home-baked gluten free loaf of bread up every week, she still is mixing with kids who are eating things with wheat in.
“Wheat makes me sick” she will say. “Has that got wheat in?” she will ask when she see’s us eating things. Generally we try to buy very little with wheat in but we still have ‘normal’ bread. That’s the easy obvious stuff. But then there are the sweets with gluten and wheat flour in them, the crisps which may be made of potato but are flavoured with something containing wheat flour. It’s a minefield for an adult, how the heck is a 3 year old supposed to check?
The other week, during snack time, she was still hungry after her snack and one of the other kids didn’t want his toast. So she had it. Simple as that. The teacher didn’t notice and she didn’t need to have that much to have an effect. We then had 4 days of hell and distress with her. We had to put her back in her nappies because she gets sort of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. She feels like she needs the toilet constantly but can’t go. She hops around whining that it hurts. And we just have to wait for it to clear out of her system.
We explained to her during and after that the effect was because she had the toast and that she really shouldn’t take other kids foods. Since then she will occasionally whine and say “ow”.When I ask what’s up, she’ll say “I have wheat in my bum!”
It’s a challenge though. How do we teach her to stay away from these things without scaring the heck out of her and giving her a phobia!