We're not 100% sure that Grady has wheat-allergies, but we know this: after a blowout in Trader Joe's that was so bad the terror alert color was raised to orange, we knew we had to tinker with his diet. The kind and intelligent people of the internet told us to try a gluten-free diet (they also showed us some wacky cat videos; bless those internet folks) and ... it's worked. Grady is a happier, healthier, and better smelling kid. He's even turned into a daredevil (remember, this is the most cautious boy in the world, so daredevil is a relative term). But, he climbs on chairs, tables, and ladders. He carries chickens around and is getting pretty good at parkour.
A gluten-free diet isn't especially difficult -- meat, fruit, veggies, repeat. I'd like to say he doesn't get jealous when Dylan chows down on an Oreo and he's stuck with a rice cracker, but he's been a good sport about it. I decided to make pancakes for him last week. I went back to the internet people for advice and found a mixed bag when it came to gluten free recipes. They either came from sites that had such complicated ingredients -- things I'd never heard of, or could only find in a chemist's lab -- or came from sites that were run by commune leaders who advised things like, "cleanse the placenta in bark-water and patchouli oil before you blend it into your oatmeal cookies, they'll have a better consistency!" Needless to say, the pancakes were definitely on the crepe side of thickness, but, put enough berry syrup on it, and he'll eat anything. And, if it keeps him happy and healthy, I'll let him climb over the furniture while I keep tinkering in the kitchen.
Dylan is now 5 and, to put it simply, busy. Recently, we celebrated her pink-sparkle-princess-pony-tea party with classmates and friends. I had no idea what to expect. A yard full of sugared up princesses (and a couple of princes)? I'd rather take my chances at free meth and MMA night at the local bar. But, amazingly, the party went off without a hitch. Now, Dylan spends her time making sure Grady doesn't touch her new toys, or trying to ride her bike.
Country kids have acres and acres they can roam, which is great, but they don't have the concrete or asphalt available for bike riding. Ever try to ride training wheels in gravel? You don't get very far. So, Dylan is stuck doing tight figure-8s on our patio. Grady sits on his bike, pretends to pedal, and yells at Dylan every time she passes (which is frequently, since the riding area is so small).
Last weekend, Dylan ditched the bike riding for a while and helped Regina and me as we did yard work. My job was to transplant a lavender bush that had taken over most of a flower-bed. I dug, hacked, and cussed at the plant until I pulled it free and relocated it to its new home like a bad bear that had been in too many campers' coolers. I tossed in the last shovel full of dirt, and wiped the sweat from my forehead. "You're an animal," Regina said. I almost felt manly, but Dylan chimed in before I could bask in the compliment, "Yeah, a pig!" I figured it was time to go inside and see what the internet could tell me about child raising.