My son is starting to understand his food limitations. He asks if something is gluten free before he eats it, although sometimes he still confuses whether it's gluten free that's good for him or gluten free that's bad for him. These things are confusing when you're three. Sometimes he gets upset if there's something he wants in the moment and can't have, such as French fries, but is usually placated with a substitute or a promise that we'll get him a gluten free version soon.
He gets a gluten free meal provided to him at daycare from the catering company that provides all the lunches for the children, and most of the time the meal looks the same. They do a great job of making his dish as similar as possible to all the other meals.
But the other day, out of the blue, he asked me why he can't have the fishy crackers too.
It took me a minute to understand what he was talking about. I didn't buy Goldfish crackers before he was taken off gluten, and since he has been gluten free since before he was two, they're not something that he came across before going gluten free.
Then I realized that he was seeing them at daycare. We provide his crackers, cereal, etc. for his snacks, since they aren't provided by the catering company. I guess the other kids are getting Goldfish crackers and my son is getting his regular crackers. Only fishy crackers are obviously much more appealing to a three year old than the regular round ones that I pack.
And unlike most other times, I can't pack a gluten free version of Goldfish crackers because there aren't any. There aren't even any imitation ones that I've been able to find locally, and I'm not ordering $10 crackers off the internet. So when he asked me if we could buy the crackers to bring to daycare, I had to say no.
It may seem silly to someone who doesn't deal with this every day, but it made me incredibly sad to have to say no, and then try to explain why.
Most of the time I don't have to say no. I may have to say not now, or next time, or when we go to this or that store, but rarely a flat out no, this product doesn't exist for you. I'm sure that this will happen more and more often in the future, as he gets older and becomes more aware of products that he has yet to be introduced to, and I'll have to find a way to cope.
But I don't think I'll ever really get over it.