‘Oh they’ve grown so much!’. How many times have we all heard this and yet we look at our own baby and then think, ‘Really? I hadn’t noticed!’. I realised the other day this is what I’ve been doing with GAPS. It wasn’t until my doctor’s appointment with Sam’s integrative GP the other day I realised how far we’ve already come and it was really encouraging and to be honest its what keeps me on the journey most days.
The main issues we were facing with Samuel from birth – present day are:
Colic (lots of screaming! Which now I can see was related to his gut issues)
ADHD type behaviour
- Destructive behaviour
- Can’t sit still to read a book, watch TV, eat dinner
- 90% of the time will eat his food only with his hands (no knives/forks/spoons)
- Will flap his hands if overstimulated
- Walk on his tippy toes (not often, maybe a couple of times a month)
- Doesn’t like walking in the sand without shoes on for the first few times of getting used to it
- No emotional connection – at one point laughed when I got really upset one day
- Couldn’t pronounce his L’s properly. He’d almost slur them and get tongue tied
- He would get stuck trying to communicate – his brain would work faster than his mouth and he’d get super frustrated
Some changes that we’ve seen so far in the last 10 weeks being on GAPS are:
- He’s generally calmer a lot more of the week (say 70% of the time he’s calm compared to 40% before)
- He’s no longer biting or hitting (the biting was curbed once we started the Low Salicylate Diet)
- He’ll sit still to read a book, watch TV, participate in craft activities and to eat
- In the last week he’s started picking up his utensils (of his own accord and dobbing on his brother when he doesn’t now!) to eat his food
- He no longer flaps or walks on his tippy toes
- He can hold a dedicated conversation with rarely any issues and has stopped slurring his L’s
He is much more emotionally connected and will apologise if he hurts or upsets someone rather than laughing or seeming to not care. He’s also started saying things like, “I’ll miss you Mummy and I want you to stay with me Mummy” which were unheard of beforehand.
Jack hasn’t presented with near the issue’s Samuel has health wise, however he’s always been a very disturbed sleeper and had been diagnosed with very mild sleep apnea. The other night Bryce was away for the weekend and the boys had been really sick so I kept Jack in bed with me for the night to keep an eye on him as he’d been vomiting all day. I had my earplugs at the ready as he is usually such a restless, noisy sleeper and to my amazement he was as quiet and as still as mouse the whole night!
We went to a salt room yesterday which has salt on the floor (funny texture) and he actually didn’t want the plastic booties on, he wanted to walk on it barefoot which is great! He started to get a little distressed about having to wear the booties so we had a calm chat outside and he popped them on and would take them off whilst up on the chair but would agree to wear them when on the salt. This was a great step forward for us as this usually would’ve resulted in a meltdown and tantrum. He was incredibly tired at the time too so for me the fact we could discuss and resolve the issue without a meltdown was a big plus.
I’m looking forward to the next Milestone’s update to see how far we’ve come, as when you’re in the daily grind its so difficult to appreciate where you’ve come from and how much better its getting. How by changing someone’s gut microbiome you can change the course of their life and how they interact with the world is astounding to me and I look forward to the advancements in this area the next few years will bring to help so many others battling everyday.
I came for a drive to Torquay today to meet up with a gorgeous new friend and on the way was chatting to Bryce about my epiphany about being a stay at home Mum. I’ve always loved kids, I was always really maternal and have a strong nurturing instinct, however in January I wanted, like really wanted to go back to work. I really like to achieve and have a purpose to work towards and to be honest I really struggle full time at home. I know some flourish in this role and some couldn’t bear even the thought of it and that’s what makes us all so unique. For me the lack of being able to get out as much as I’d like (cooking, dealing with meltdowns) has led to a fairly isolating experience for me during my Mamahood years that to be honest GAPS has exacerbated somewhat. I even asked Sammy’s doctor about returning to work but she said, No, she really doesn’t recommend it at this point he needs me at home to help heal him as it’d the best thing for him going forward. I shelved the out of home work idea and instead the home has continued to be my workplace and mind you I’ve done both and think the at home part is the hardest I’ve ever done, deadlines or no deadlines!
I have no idea why it’s taken my almost five years to work it out but finally this week I’ve put the boys in their rooms for 30-40 minutes each day for ‘rest time’. I explained they’re not in trouble, they just need to grab some books or toys and have a play (and for Jack’s sake, he’s so like his mother, until it says, ‘12:45’ on the clock) then they can come out. They go between each other’s rooms and do the occasional sneak out to which I send them promptly back, then I flick the kettle, pour the hot water and sit down to breathe for ten, or five depending on how long they last before the first attempted break out. This little change has given me so much sanity or else they’re just constantly at my feet, asking for food, for me to play and I wasn’t even sitting for lunch or a cuppa break each day and it was driving me banana’s. I realised this is nothing they’ve done, its actually my lack of boundaries I’ve put in place around myself as I am a softie and the old Mama guilt would creep in ever so slowly and I’d think I had to do everything, be everything and actually all that was creating was a cranky-at-everything Mama, wife and me.
I’ve also accepted today, yes its taken me a while to catch on, that I don’t work well without structure. Yet for some reason unbeknown to me I’ve tackled motherhood with a free spirit attitude, no planning, no structure (except for imposed structure like lessons and kinders) for no other reason than I just thought that’s what you did! Can I tell you it drives me nuts? I LOVE structure. For me trying to plan a day on the go, everyday is not a case for happiness and peace. From tomorrow my new ideal is to roughly plan a week (when we’re visiting who, when we’re doing park play, when I’m cooking extra meals and stewed apple) and to see how that works for me. So anal some may say and I see your point, however I think for me it’ll work just fine, so I’ll give it a go and let you know. I just find it interesting how we do what we do because we think that’s they way it is. Doing a program like GAPS quickly uncovers any leaks in the system as if you’re not on point and working the way you work best you will start to falter, fast. I did, I am and its time to change and work it to how I work best, whether that’s behind an office desk or a kitchen bench, I still work the same way so why not implement the same principles to help me succeed?
After my catch up with Kristin today she gave me some wonderful advice for dealing with hungry children and that’s just to shut the kitchen and write up on a blackboard or whiteboard the menu for the day so that they know what food is coming when and if they ask, refer them to the board. I LOVE this idea and will be swiftly implementing it as the food chat is incessant at the moment and I definitely need to curb it but hadn’t any idea how. Don’t you love how just when you need something it appears before you. I really needed this advice today, it’s time to get this GAPS family in order, my sanity will be so grateful.
We also chatted about when you’ve been on a health journey for so long you are never truly present in the moment. How this resonated with me! She’s a smart woman this one. You’re always on the look out for symptoms and symptom management which means you’re always looking ahead to tests or results or eliminating or adding in another food, always in the future. It’s really hard to live in the moment and not worry or overthink the next step, as for me that’s been the case for at least the last 10 years. I find being present really difficult and now I’m aware of it I’m going to try my best to be present. Even for 10 minutes a day. And by the way if you have some awesome strategies for this, please share!