My 4-year old son Ollie is coughing a little bit in his bed. I guess it might be the start of a cold. But I think he got dosed with dairy. It started last Thursday with a tantrum as we left my older son’s school. I took away a ball that he had thrown at a little girl. This set off a fit that included screaming at the top of his lungs, hitting me in my face and pinching my arm.
Now, I know that we all have moody moments, but I also have learned to recognize this sort of an altered state that Ollie enters after he has eaten dairy, this exaggerated form of reaction to everyday obstacles and transitions. It’s happened before.
The last time was when he suddenly hated going to his preschool in the morning. My boy who usually strolled in with a smile and a quick goodbye transformed into a completely different person who screamed uncontrollably and clung for his life to my leg. He had to be pried off of me and held back as I exited. I suspected that he had eaten dairy, but I didn’t know what it could be.
Then I learned that he had eaten microwave popcorn for a snack at school, once the week before and once that week. I checked the bag and sure enough, it contained milk. The teachers knew that he was supposed to be dairy-free, but had made an assumption about the popcorn without reading the label. I explained that what they had thought was just a “phase” that some kids go through with dreading school was actually a reaction to dairy, and that each time he gets exposed, he has behavior problems, red cheeks and a runny nose for about a week. Like clockwork, after a week passed, he loved school again and went in with no problem.
So this time, after that first tantrum at his brother’s school, Ollie has continued to have smaller behavior issues, and now has a runny nose and cough. I checked with his teachers and they assured me that he ate nothing with dairy, although I didn’t see the label of a suspicious snack. So I haven’t figured out the offending food he might have eaten. With no proof, I am left with a bit of self doubt about my gut reaction that it was a contamination issue. Maybe it really is just a cold, or a bad mood, or maybe I didn’t parent well this week.
But mostly I think it was dairy.