Sunday, November 11, 2007

An experiment

Observation: On some days, Scooter has a noticeably harder time controlling himself than on others. We have not been able to trace this to specific activities.

Hypothesis: Since he is still consuming some gluten and casein at school, maybe his out-of-control days coincide with the days when he eats the most wheat and dairy there.

Experiment #1: We've been able to keep Scooter gfcf on weekends. But a weekend ago, I broke down and ordered pizza when Trillian did. And then we gave in and let Scooter have some too. For the rest of the afternoon, he was bouncing around in ways we haven't seen for several weekends.

Experiment #2: We went to a birthday party yesterday and, because I just couldn't get myself organized enough beforehand, we threw caution to the wind and let him have whatever. Fast food chicken nuggets on the way out, a few bites of cheese pizza and cake and ice cream at the party. Today, not only has he been bouncing off the walls, he also had several accidents--forgot to go to the potty when he needed to, couldn't quite make it there when he did remember. This is something that hasn't happened for a while now.

Conclusion: I have not been quite as willing as Trillian to attribute recent changes in Scooter's behavior to the gfcf diet, but I think maybe I've been swayed to her way of thinking. Particularly convincing were the multiple accidents today; he has been so good about this, even in the face of a varying schedule, that the previous day's change in diet seems like the most obvious explanation.

Possible further experiments: Once we move, we'll be able to complete the switch to an entirely gfcf diet. One thing I am particularly interested to see is if we can determine whether the gluten or casein has a worse effect on him. If, as Trillian and I suspect, the gluten is the main culprit, we might actually be able to create pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches that he is eager to eat.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Muzzy el grande

When we go and stay with Trillian's parents, Scooter likes to watch Sprout, prefers it now over Noggin, which is what he used to watch. While I like the programming on Sprout (for the most part), I don't like that there are commercials. Not a lot, not as much as most channels, and they're mostly aimed at parents.

But this is how Scooter found out about Muzzy. The funny thing is that he didn't ask for it right away. Instead, a couple weeks after we got back home from our August visit, he announced that we needed to go to the store to get Muzzy. He was not happy with our explanation that it wasn't available at just any old store. In fact, one has to order it special. Plus, it's a bit more than we would want to just shell out. Level I costs $199. And that's before you consider adding on the interactive CD-ROMs and Level II.

Somehow Muzzy came up when talking with a friend--a friend who happens to have the Spanish DVDs for Level I. Since Spanish is the de facto second language in the US and we're moving to an area with a decent-sized Spanish-speaking population, we have borrowed them. Scooter loves the program. And now, after a handful of viewings, he will announce every once in a while, "X is Spanish. It means Y."

Now Scooter has had some exposure to the idea that there are different languages. We have a number of French children's books around--most of them I purchased for myself many years ago--and he had picked up snippets of French and Spanish from books and television. And he went through a period when he would have me read Where the Wild Things Are in both French and English before bed. But I haven't wanted to push second-language learning since he has had some language issues.

On the other hand, he has been very receptive lately, coinciding with a sudden upsurge in English language skills. In addition, I think that listening to the new sounds has been helping him improve his ability to process sound and figure out how to mimic. I'm sure that there is some explanation of how this is exactly what he needed, I could probably even find it if I so desired right now.

I'm still not entirely sure if we'll go the route of purchasing an entire Muzzy set, though the fact that he's watching it repeatedly--and understanding--makes me think I need to consider it much more thoroughly than I did before.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cobbling together cobbler

Trillian and I are throwing a dinner party in just under two weeks. I've invited my two best friends from the department and my friend from the school where we both used to teach, along with their significant others, to have dinner at my house. It'll be one of our last chances to socialize before Trillian and Scooter head down to the grandparents' for the holidays (I'll follow along a few weeks later), and we also want to introduce my former colleague and her husband around.

I have been debating the food for this party, particularly whether or not I will stick with a totally gfcf menu. In addition, one guest has a nut allergy and one is a vegetarian.

I've already decided to make dinner-proper vegetarian, offering meat along with cheeses as an appetizer. I will add some rice crackers to the other crackers on the platter and can just not have any cheese, so that course is fine.

This evening, I thought that maybe I'd try a cobbler, substituting gfcf ingredients in the biscuit part. I improvised even more, in that I have a gfcf baking mix, not a separate flour. So I simply didn't add the baking soda or powder. Then I used my dairy-free butter substitute and rice milk and proceeded per the recipe.

The result? Hmmm...

I've noticed that gfcf baked goods tend to be a little grainier than those made with wheat flour. With the mixes we use, the flavor tends to fall within the expected range for such items. But definitely grainier. And that was definitely the case with the cobbler topping. I could also taste that the flour was different. Not awful, but not something I want to have huge servings of.

I won't be serving that for dessert. I may, since Scooter won't want it anyway and I'm a big girl who can decide for herself about the gluten, go ahead and make the regular recipe; cobbler just seems perfect for the season and I can make most of it ahead of time. But this isn't ready yet for its gfcf debut!