Where my (GF) Peeps at?

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.

The baby dragon sleeping after a round of big jabs.

The baby dragon sleeping after a round of big jabs.

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.

There is a reason her first Halloween costume was a dragon.

There is a reason her first Halloween costume was a dragon.

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.

apple pie

New Year’s Eve apple pie, gone January 1st.

And these cookies.

chocolate cut out 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).

IMG_0971We 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).

choco dipped goodies

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

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14 thoughts on “Where my (GF) Peeps at?

  1. Wow, this sure brings up a whole lotta huge future questionmarks for me thanks. As if the “when should we have kids-discussion” wasn’t complicated enough ha. I’m Norwegian, marrying an Aussie (behold giant logistical nightmare), our immediate family are spread across 4 contintents and we have coeliacs disease on both sides of the genetic pool. Can’t wait! :p

    As for community; make your own. I dare say if anyone could pull that off (super-mom) it would be you? 🙂

    • Oh, I hope I didn’t scare you too much 🙂 Your geographical situation is indeed tough, but hopefully you’ll have a network of friends to help. Also, we used a postpartum doula – do you have those in Australia? Those are women who you hire after you have a baby to help you out, and basically they become like surrogate moms/aunts/sisters. We had a lovely one come for three weeks after my son was born and she was a huge help.

      And thanks for your sweet vote of confidence about building a community for my girl!

  2. First, the photo of your dad with your daughter is precious. My dad comes up every Tuesday (his day off) to see the baby, and he did the same with my older son. I do think there is something about the colicky baby/gluten issue connection, because my oldest son was a cranky baby too. And I use cranky because if I say the word that really comes to mind people will think I’m a bad mother.
    As for a celiac community, I also struggle with finding other people with kids who can’t eat gluten. The online community is great, but I don’t know of any local groups for kids. And I live just outside Toronto, a pretty big city too. When I ask if anyone else at his daycare is gluten free he just shakes his head. No mommy, just me. Sigh.

    • Thanks Kathleen! I do love that picture. My dad comes Tuesdays too! How funny 🙂 We should chat about the whole colic/cranky baby thing some day. It’s interesting though because my daughter ate gluten (seemingly) without incident until she was 2.5 years old, so if colic was related to gluten it didn’t seem to bother her when she started eating solids… confusing, but I’m sure there is a link somewhere.

      Isn’t it interesting that in Toronto, another major city, there seems to be a lack of celiac families. Where are they?! Sigh indeed.

  3. Pingback: Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins GF + DF | celiac kiddo

  4. My daughter is 13 diagnosed a year ago this month after being so very sick for a very long time.:( We live in Idaho and most around here don’t even know what celiac is! Drives me crazy to have to explain every sinlgle time I ask someone…..do you know if this is gf. I don’t know what Id do without my internet support groups. No familia around here either……I always wonder where they are also. Sign…….

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for chiming in. I wonder how it is with a newly(ish) diagnosed celiac teenager… Hope she is taking it okay. I imagine it’s that much harder when you’ve been eating and living with gluten for so long, and then being a teenager on top of it all. There is a great website called, Celiac Teen, that I reference in the “Inspiration” page. Maybe give it a look for your daughter. Hope to see you around here again soon.
      -Dana

  5. This is a really interesting post for me. I don’t have kids, but I have Celiac, and I was the colicky baby! Apparently I screamed for 6 months, roughly 20 hours a day. I stopped just in time for my mom to find out she was pregnant again! My brother doesn’t have it, but my sister does. I don’t recall her being colicky though.
    In St Louis we have a very active Yahoo group that is very helpful, but a bit overwhelming. I’m thousands of emails behind, and have no hope of catching up… They have a restaurant list that is very useful.

    • Wow, another colic-celiac connection. I think there are a lot of them out there… But it’s probably hard to do any kind of control/test group because a baby may not be presenting with symptoms yet, or may not even have celiac *yet* since it could come out later as it seemed to with my daughter.

      Glad you have support out there in St. Louis! But yes, it’s impossible to keep up with all the emails 🙂

      Don’t know if I mentioned it, but I LOVE your blog name!

      • Thanks! I started it when I was working the pantry station at a private club, but had not gone gf yet. Just making, and eating ANYTHING I could.
        It would be hard to study, maybe. We change doctors, move, and some things are not put together as having a relationship.

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