Monday, June 8, 2009

The Legend of Hooplemona

A few years back I played a church gig at a church in town. I don't think there was any particular occasion, they just wanted some special music. The string quartet sat in front of the congregation for both services. The service was going smoothly and then the minister prepared to give the sermon. He took a large box of playground balls out, held one up and said, "What do think will happen if I drop this ball?" The congregation thought it would bounce. Amazingly, it did! He dropped several balls: big balls, small balls, small balls on top of big balls.... He must have had a point but I missed it completely.

Then he put the balls away and said, "The Greek word for patience and perseverance is HOOOOOOPLEMONA."

My friends were playing this gig with me and we kind of glanced at each other, like, "did he just say hooplemona?"

Oh yes he did. And he kept saying it. It's a funny word anyway and the way he was saying it, with a Southern accent and getting a little caught on the "hoop", was positively hysterical. Especially because it was absolutely inappropriate to laugh.

We started to get the giggles.

Then he said, "I know someone with great hooop....ulmona and I'd like to introduce him to you."

The lights went down, a screen descended from the ceiling, and a movie started to play. It was about a man who was born with no arms or legs who wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. There was footage of him at a fishing tournament. A shot showed him casting off while the narrator said, "He holds his pole between his chin and shoulder like a fine violin." Every time he reeled his line in (don't ask me how he reeled his line in with no arms or legs, I didn't see because by this point I was staring at the floor concentrating with all my might on not howling with laughter) without catching a fish he swore.

The craziest thing is, I looked out at the congregation while the arm-less, leg-less would-be bass fisherman with great hoooooop....ulmona was swearing and not a single person had a look on their face like this sermon was anything out of the ordinary. In fact, they all looked sleepy and bored.

It was the most awesome sermon I had ever heard. Certainly it is the one that has vividly stuck with me the longest.

Hooplemona has become a regular part of our family's vocabulary. We tell WG that she needs to have hooplemona, or simply "hoople" and she tells us that her hooplemona is all used up for the day, unless the outing in question is a trip to the park or zoo, in which case she has endless amounts of hooplemona.

Lost in Translation

A few weeks back I mixed up some sprite and orange juice and gave it to WG. She was suspicious. I told her it was a kiddy cocktail. She tried it and loved it. Today we went to McDonald's for lunch. I mixed up some sprite with orange drink for her. WG's face lit up and she said, "Thanks for making me a cocktail, Mom!" I parked her at the table and went back for some ketchup. There were a few older women sitting at the next table and when I got back, WG was telling them all about how I make her cocktails and how they are her most favorite things to drink. I explained what she was talking about but I don't think they bought it.


WG loves flowers. Gardening is definitely her thing. When she sees a flower that she doesn't recognize she asks what it is. Her violin teacher has peonies lining her driveway. WG was impressed by them and asked me what they were. I told her they were peonies. She told me she thought pennies were money. I repeated, "No, not pennies, PEE-oh-knees." "Yeah, that's what I said! Pennies!" Then it hit me. She was translating from the Southern accent. When people say "pennies" here it comes out "peonies." Now we call those flowers pennies.


The lyrics: "The house is a-rockin! Go, go rock it!"

WG's interpretation: "The house is a rocket! Go, go rocket!"

Friday, June 5, 2009

How Did We Get Here, Anyway?

It occurs to me that our reason for having WG on a gluten free diet is no where on this site. A lot of you know the story, but for those who don't, here it is.

The summer before WG turned three she got sick. The symptom we noticed most was her thirst. She was guzzling water. Knowing that doctors like hard data we started tracking her intake to see if it really was a problem worthy of a phone call. She was drinking up to 80 oz of water a day. We would put her to bed with a full sippy cup and she would drain it and cry for a refill in the middle of the night. We called the pediatrician's office and were advised to cut her off or offer her alternatives like fruit or popsicles. We were also told that since it *was* summer and we *do* live in the South drinking a lot of water was not necessarily an abnormal thing. It was not unreasonable advice.

We tried to limit WG's intake. That lasted exactly one day. First she screamed when I wouldn't refill her sippy cup and then she got creative. I caught her drinking from the cat's dish. Later I saw her headed for the toilet with her cup. What goes in must come out. WG was also urinating A LOT. She wasn't potty trained yet and I would put a fresh diaper on her only to have to change her clothes five minutes later because she had peed through the diaper.

The pediatrician did a diabetes test. It was negative. The pediatrician ran some other tests which showed some abnormalities in her kidney function. At that time we were refered to a pediatric nephrologist as well as a pediatric endocrinologist.

The pediatric nephrologist was a jerk. His nurse was a jerk. I wasn't wild about his office staff either. He ordered the tests that showed her wonky kidney functioning to be repeated because, in addition to the excessive peeing, WG had a pattern of diarrhea followed by constipation. He told us that would skew the test results and that we needed to bring her in for labwork after she had had normal bowel movements for at least 3 days.

Nearly a month later this is the conversation I had with his jerky nurse:

Nurse: "We are waiting on WG's lab results. Why haven't you had her labs done? This is really important."

Me: "Well, the doc said the first results were skewed because she had diarrhea. He said to wait until she had normal bowel movements for three days before having the labs drawn. She has not had normal bowel movements for three days in a row yet."

Nurse: "You really need to have her blood drawn."

Me: "Well, I can bring her in, but she hasn't had normal bowel movements for three days and I'd really hate to have to repeat this test for a third time. What would you like me to do?"

Nurse: "She needs to have normal bowel movements for three days."

Me: "Okay, but then you're going to have to wait awhile because I don't think she has had three days in a row of normal bowel movements her entire life."

Eventually we got the labs drawn. I think we were "blessed" with three days in a row of constipation and I decided to define that as normal to get the nurse off my back. These labs still came back somewhat abnormal but the pedi nephro dismissed them and us. I was not sad. Of all the docs that WG has seen he is the only one that I knew I could not work with on a regular basis. He has gotten rave reviews from other patients, by the way. We just had a complete personality clash.

The pediatric endocrinologist was not a jerk. I actually liked her a lot. She tested WG for a bunch of things. WG tested negative for all of them.

Finally she said, "I notice that there is a family history of mental illness. Excessive water drinking can be a sign of schizophrenia. You did mention she has terrible temper tantrums. Do you think there is a possibility that WG could be schizophrenic, bipolar or OCD?"

We were a bit stunned that someone (and someone who was NOT a mental health professional) would postulate that our 2 year old was schizophrenic. I think our answer to her was something along the lines of, "No, we don't think that's a possiblity. Perhaps in 10 years or so we might consider that, but not right now."

Our pediatrician (whom we completely adore) was a bit stumped at that point. She sent us back to the GI doc that WG had been seeing on and off since birth. She had been talking to him about WG and he suggested that the excessive water intake was actually due dehydration from her chronic pattern of constipation / diarrhea. He tested her for Celiac Disease and made a follow up appointment to find out the results.

Around that time a friend and I had decided to give the South Beach diet a whirl. I don't short order cook for my family, so WG and Tim were basically eating what I was eating: lean meats, fruit and veggies. Grains were minimized.

WG started to get better. I mentioned to my mom that the GI doc was testing her for Celiac Disease and my mom told me that quite a few people in our family have been diagnosed with Celiac. With that knowledge, we took WG off gluten completely. Quite simply, she got better. She stopped seeking out water. The dark circles under her eyes disapeared. Her tantrums significantly diminished. She gained some weight (which was a good thing!), and she had normal bowel movements for the first time in her life.

Thinking that maybe we were seeing results because we were desperate for answers, we added gluten back into her diet to see what would happen. Her symptoms returned full-force.

At WG's follow-up GI appointment, we were told that her tests for Celiac were negative. She does not have the Celiac gene. Can she eat gluten? Absolutely not. Her pediatrician and her GI docs have said that she needs to stay on the gluten free diet as long as it is beneficial to her.

The gluten free diet has also been beneficial for Tim and I, but that is a whole other post!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Ever since our unfortunate incident with Pace picante sauce I have been buying even less convenience foods in favor of making things myself. (Can you tell I'm still steamed about Pace's formula change? The purpose of gluten in salsa eludes me. Grrr!) Along with salsa, hummus is something I have been making a lot of lately.

My goal is to post more pictures of things on this blog. I'm not going to post a picture of this. Like all hummus it is brown and pasty. Of all the strange things I sent for WG's breakfast and lunch this year, this is the only thing that her classmates made fun of. Poor WG. She loves this hummus so much she asked me to send it for breakfast and lunch one day. When I picked her up she told me one of the boys said it looked like baby poop. Ever since it has been an "at home" food.

I know. I'm really enticing you to make it aren't I? Oh well. It is really good.

The Ingredients:
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
juice from 1/2 a lemon
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Throw it all in the food processor and whirl it until it is hummus-y. Chill before eating.

Missing Buns

Recently I have been making the bread recipe from Gluten Free Girl's website. I've been wanting to try it for awhile and since the season is now over I have some time to experiment in the kitchen.

The first time I made the recipe I decided to turn it into buns instead of making a loaf at the last minute. Amy sent me a bun pan a while back. I have never really gotten GF buns to turn out. We usually eat things bunless.

These buns are different. These buns are AMAZING. I am not a big fan of GF bread. Usually I don't like the taste / texture enough to bother eating it. This bread is different. It smelled sooo good in the oven that WG and I split a bun fresh from the oven.

I have also made this recipe into hotdog buns by shaping some aluminum foil into pans. They are ugly as sin but they work.

The buns are the best when eaten the same day they are made. They are okay the second day but they start to get crumbly.

My hamburger buns were done between 20-25 minutes and the hot dog buns took slightly longer.

Thank you for the recipe, Shauna!