It takes a village. Cliché, yes. But when you have a kid you know it’s totally true. Unless you’ve got oodles of spare cash for childcare, you need serious help when you have a baby. In the “old days” help came in the form of family, but now people’s families are spread across the country, or the globe, so many parents – like us – are solo-ing the job.
Luckily my father only lives an hour away and he still comes at least once a week to visit. When B was a colicky baby (translation: tiny screaming banshee) he came almost every day in the early weeks. I honestly don’t know how we could have survived without him. He was THE only one who could hold a hysterical B and put her to sleep. His method was miming Thai kick boxing maneuvers. He’d hold her snugly in his arms while doing big squats and dodging imaginary opponents, repeatedly saying: “Slipping the jab, slipping the punch, kidney shot!” If you have experience with a colicky baby (oh, I’m VERY sorry) you know the bigger the movement the better. Just try gently rocking that kind of squalling baby to sleep. Just. Try.
Strange, but wildly effective. I had him teach it to me. Also, kind of an awesome workout. Having a colicky baby, in general, is great for getting your body back in shape post-pregnancy since you can never sit down (or sleep), but really bad for your mental state. I’m not sure I’ve actually recovered yet.
Anyway… this post isn’t about colic (though I’ve often wondered if there is a connection between colic and celiac) it’s about finding community and support within the GF world, an extended family if you will.
What I’m saying in an extremely roundabout way is, where’s our celiac village, people?
We live in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a borough of “The Big City” which is Bunky’s way of saying Manhattan. Yet, we know very few families whose kids have celiac. Our local NYC celiac family yahoo group has only 13 members. Um, do you know how many people live in New York City? About 8.2 million (depending on your source). It doesn’t add up, does it?
Fortunately the online support community is pretty huge, and I’m grateful for it. I belong to a bunch of celiac related Yahoo groups and I’ve met a few incredible people and received a lot of helpful advice. But I’m missing the in person stuff. Our small local group only meets about once or twice a year. Some of the other groups I’ve come across seem to have more regular meetings and parties, where kids can feel safe to share snacks and parents can chill out about cross contamination.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming anyone in our group for the lack of meet ups. We’re all busy with our kids and school and life in general. Last fall after having Little Guy I all but disappeared. And winters are tough because it’s near impossible to find a reasonably priced indoor venue in the city. Since I started writing this post a woman in our group suggested we meet at Pie by the Pound, a great pizza place in Manhattan. This would be our first meet up since the summer. I’m hoping it happens.
Because I really appreciate having my blog and the community it generates (you, I’m talking about you!), but I’m worried about my girl. She is nearing five years old, and she is growing more aware every day about how she is different from her peers. Some kids in her class this year have food allergies, and that helps her understand she’s not the only one who has to be careful about what to eat, but where are all the other celiacs? Where are the kids who know what gluten is? Who can make my girl feel less alone in her difference?
Are you out there? If so, join the group. You can totally come over and share some of this insane gluten free apple pie.
And these cookies.
And these awesome homemade ice cream sandwiches I made last summer for our very first celiac friends who moved away shortly after (not because of the ice cream sandwiches though).
We could even have a chocolate dipping party like we did a few days before New Year’s (because my husband couldn’t wait another second before dipping anything he could find into this Baker’s chocolate sauce).
We can offer you carrots and hummus if you’re on some kind of New Year’s resolution thing. Or a yogurt pop.
Here’s hoping 2013 brings my kid some more celiac friends. She could sure use them.
What’s your celiac community like? Is it mostly online or do you have GF peeps to share snacks with? If you have kids, how