With Calvin being able to eat dairy, wheat, eggs and oatmeal we heaved a huge sigh of relief. I don't have to worry about him eating it and having to be rushed to the ER, or having a potentially fatal attack.
However, there is a double edge to this sword. Or, should I say butter knife?
Carter is now the odd man out. Until I felt brave enough to feed Calvin dairy yogurt, he always ate the same coconut yogurt Carter did.
The other morning, I pulled out a regular Yoplait yogurt and began feeding it to Calvin while Carter ate his breakfast.
It caught Carter's eye and it gave him pause. Then he said something like, "Calvin eats mommy's yogurt?" in astonishment. Carter is used to mommy and daddy sometimes having "special" foods, and he's long ago accepted that. But, to see his little brother having something of "mommy's" totally sunk in for him. Then he said something like "I can't have that yogurt."
And, my heart broke a bit.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe kids should have every little thing their heart desires. It wouldn't be good for their character.
I don't believe my child will be stunted for life because he can't have Yoplait.
But, I did feel bad seeing that he felt left out. I know there will be many situations in life where he might feel left out. Everyone experiences it at one point or another. I'm sure every parent has felt that way when their child didn't receive a birthday party invite, or didn't get asked to a school dance. But, to be the one doing the leaving out...to be the parent and to withhold one thing from one child, while giving it to the other just felt awkward and sad.
It just feels like a lose, lose and I've dreaded this day since we even contemplated having another child. I knew this day might come, and as I imagined, it didn't feel great.
This is one of the first awakenings Carter will have, where he realizes his diet is very different from those around him and that he can't partake in typical eating.
But, at the same time, I don't feel right holding Calvin back either. We typically all eat the same thing for dinner, and we definitely cater to Carter's diet. Calvin will know what all things hypoallergenic taste like, but I'm not going to deprive him of eating other things too.
I tried to keep my voice cheerful and not act like it was a sad or tragic thing. I think example speaks volumes. I just said in a matter-of-fact voice "Yes, Calvin can eat mommy's yogurt, and you're so lucky to have your very own, special coconut yogurt! Do you want some of your yummy yogurt?" OK, it might have been a bit forced and over cheery, but I'm learning.
I'll always try hard to place emphasis on what he can have, and other positives in his life. I truly hope to raise him resilient. There are many worse things out there, but I also want to be validating to any hurt feelings he can definitely have along the way.
I recently read "Raising Resilient Children" in the Ensign and I thought this was worth copying for future reference:
"We know two things about adversity and resilience: First, there is “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Second, obtaining anything of great worth often requires great sacrifice. As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning. As children develop resilience, they believe they can influence and even control outcomes in their lives through effort, imagination, knowledge, and skill. With this attitude, they focus on what they can do rather than on what is outside their control. Another mark of resilience is to see great purpose and meaning in life and people. A sense of purpose will help our children avoid giving up, in spite of setbacks and pressure to do so. If our children are becoming more resilient, they will develop deep values that guide them: charity, virtue, integrity, honesty, work ethic, and faith in God. They will involve themselves in what is happening around them and opt for commitment to values rather than feel alienated and avoid struggle. The gospel teaches and reinforces these values and perceptions."
I hope Carter and Calvin can always feel they have more in common then what they eat together. I hope they can both give each other strength and understanding when one might feel left out--whether that be at the dinner table or anywhere else. I pray this, and any other struggles we face as a family will give us all empathy and wisdom.