Yesterday morning I asked Emma if she’d like to have some Cheerios for breakfast.

“Yes!  Cheerios!” she shouted.

I poured some into a bowl and then gave them to her with vanilla unsweetened rice milk.  She hesitated before digging in.  “I like Cheerios,” she announced.  “Cheerios for dinner?”

“No Em.  We’re not going to start having Cheerios for every meal again.”

“Just for breakfast,” Emma said, nodding her head up and down.

When I came into the kitchen this morning, Emma had placed the box of cheerios with a half gallon container of regular organic cow’s milk on the kitchen counter next to a bowl and spoon.  “Oh no, Em.  You can’t have this milk.  You can have your Cheerios with this one.”  I handed her the rice milk.

“I don’t like that one.”  She turned away and said, “No more Cheerios.  Have toast with cheese in the bakery instead.”

“In the bakery” is what Emma says when she wants something heated up in the oven.  When she first said it last summer while we were in Aspen, we were all confused.  I even took her to a restaurant in town called – Main Street Bakery.  Eventually we figured it out – she wanted to have two slices of bread, lathered with butter, put on a cookie sheet and then baked in the oven.  She likes to sit on the floor next to the oven door, periodically peering through the window into the oven until it’s done.

But this time she added that she wanted cheese, which was a first.

“Here Em, which cheese do you want?”  Barely able to contain my excitement that she was asking for something different, I showed her the three different kinds of sheep’s milk cheese and one goat’s milk cheese so she could choose.

“This one!”

“You wore her down,” Richard said.  “What happened to the Cheerios?”

“She doesn’t like the rice milk, so she won’t eat them.  Anyway, I noticed they have corn starch and she shouldn’t have anything with corn.”

Richard nodded his head and kept walking.  Richard has never been a huge proponent of this second round on the GFCF diet.  His feeling is – we tried it when she was two with no change, why would it do anything now?  But being the kind, supportive and generally awesome guy that he is, he has gone along with it.

I know none of this makes any real sense.  Emma has shown no significant uptick from taking all these various foods away and it’s been almost seven weeks.  But still I hold out hope, against all reason, against all evidence, against anything rational.  If I’m being honest, I have always wondered whether I didn’t do the GFCF diet right the first time around.  Maybe I wasn’t strict enough, maybe there was a food that she shouldn’t have had that I didn’t know about.  One can drive oneself crazy with this kind of thinking.  I know.  My husband knows.  Definition of crazy:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  So yes, I get it.  But, for what it’s worth, here’s my (crazy) thinking – she didn’t test intolerant for gluten, so we’re putting it back in, but staying away from all the things she did test an intolerance for just in case some of those might be causing her problems.   I cannot imagine there will be any change, though.  Hope doesn’t rest on rational thinking however.  At this point I’ve downgraded my expectations to the idea that she’ll expand her diet.  It would be so nice to go out occasionally to a restaurant as a family.

It would also be so nice to have a personal chef – and that wish hasn’t transpired either.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.Emma’s Hope

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