As one of M’s grandmothers, I’ve watched M go through the first three months of her gluten-free transition. The first change that I noticed was that M started focusing her eyes briefly on the person addressing her. Her smile became more frequent, and the pictures that you’ve been seeing on The Puzzled Palate are among the first where she looked directly at the camera. I love the sparkle in those eyes!
Actual conversations with M continue to improve. She’s not a big talker, but she maintains a conversation for a few minutes, with intermittent loss of eye contact. She seems to have left behind most of the movie dialogue which sufficed for conversation in the months before she began the gluten-free regimen.
The posts about M allowing her mother to style her hair are real. When we’ve babysat M and Peanut, we’ve witnessed the sensory sensitivity which with she struggles. Bath time dissolved into tears so quickly that we starting avoiding the process. M now has a favorite brush that she will bring to me when she’s getting dressed, and actually allowed me to dry her hair on a low warm setting for a few minutes before bedtime.
Other than bedtime, M doesn’t sit still to be read to like she once did, but when I start reading a book aloud to Peanut, or even to myself, she stops what she’s doing and eventually moves in to see the illustrations. I love to find her sitting alone with a book rereading it to herself. During her last visit, I found M with a book that we read together two weeks earlier. She was pretty close to the text while I watched. After she finished, I brought both kids to the sofa and read it again, leaving a space in the story for M to fill in the blanks –she’s usually accurate. We had only read it together one time two weeks earlier!
With helpful support from Carly, we only serve gluten-free food when M stays with us, and it’s really easy to self-monitor when M automatically asks, “Does it have wheat in it?” M advocates for herself and while there are still food issues, she’s become slightly more willing to try new foods, but not on her own.