We're the Fiore's, but I'm Kelly and I'll be doing the blogging - although, I really hope Matt and Max will chime in with comments and anecdotes. We live in a suburb of Frederick, Maryland, which is about 45 minutes from Baltimore and an hour from DC. Matt and I met in college and we've been married almost 5 years. Our son, Max, turned 4 in February. You already know I'm an English Teacher. Matt is a Territory Manager for a restaurant sales company. We have a great life -- our neighborhood is fantastic and we've been blessed with great friends and family.
So, why are we doing the Feingold Diet? I'll get to why in just a bit -- instead, we'll move on to ...
For about a year or so, Max has had tantrums. On and off, these tantrums have been of varied intensities. Sometimes they're "typical" of a child his age. Other times they are scary -- he will hit, kick, throw things, scream bloody murder, run away, yell "I hate you", and, our triggering moment for all of this, pretend to shoot a gun and talk about killing. That, right there, is every parent's worst nightmare. It happened to us. And something had to change.
So we've decided to try the Feingold Diet program. Originally piloted for kids with ADD/ADHD, it's been embraced by the Autism community, sufferers of MS, kids with ODD, and dozens of other medical or health issues. The Feingold program is an elimination diet -- it removes "triggers" from the diet for six weeks; then, like any other allergy diet, it reintroduces those triggers one by one to see which are the problem.
I'm addressing these two at once because I think they sort of coincide.
Max had trouble in his at home daycare. It wasn't the right place for him. In fact, the catalyst for the move was my then-three year old son saying to me, on the way home from daycare, "Mommy, why am I such a bad boy? Why can't I be smart like everyone else?"
So we moved him to a center close to our home. Regardless of Max's behaviors, this was the absolute right move for him. He is, at all moments of the day, happier than he was at the other daycare. For the first three weeks, he flourished with perfect happy lovely behavior. And then all hell broke loose. The event I refer to is the one we call the gun/killing incident -- threatening his teachers, kicking, screaming, and talking about blood. BLOOD. No, I'm not kidding.
Yeah. So. The move -- the where -- is still the right one. The when is RIGHT NOW; well, actually, the when has been about a week in the making. We've been following a modified Feingold plan for about 5 days. Yesterday was our first "Feingold All In" Day. And it was a great one.
There are so many whys. The biggest one is because the Feingold Diet is an extremely healthy diet. It can cause no harm to my child -- whether it addresses his behaviors or not, it is essentially, at it's core, a very nutritious balanced diet.
Another "why" is that I believe that if I can help my child be the best Max he can be through his diet, then there is no reason I shouldn't. I don't want to medicate him and I will no longer let myself feel embarrassed or ashamed of his challenges.
Lots have people asked about a doctor's input -- yes, we are going to see the pediatrician. I want Max to get a hearing test and have blood work taken to test for any food allergies. I don't believe he has them, but I want to rule it out. I also think it's important that I notify his pediatrician of what we're doing. However, I don't care if the pediatrician endorses this or not. This is a healthy diet that can only benefit my child in one way or another. I don't need a doctor to tell me that.
As for the Feingold Diet itself, you can find a lot more information at http://www.feingold.org/. It'll walk you through the basics; we're still waiting on our materials, so we're working off those basics right now. Some things are more challenging than others -- that's something I'll address in future posts.
I don't know who will end up reading this - I don't know if anyone will. But, honestly, I just need an outlet to write about all this stuff. To a certain extent -- to any extent, really -- it's consumed my life right now. Figuring out the details, the ups and downs -- it's totally draining. I feel so many things at once, but most of all I feel hopeful. Hopeful for the future, hopeful for what could be. Hopeful that every day I'll drive to Max's school and be greeted with the words, "Max had a great day today!"