My Special Boy

All of my children are special, they all have ups and downs, they all have challenges and successes, they all hold a very private and dear spot in my heart, mind and soul, I love each one of them equally. But my Rebel, he faces a few more challenges than most kids, he has a few more things to deal with everyday than most. I have to be honest, I really don’t understand him, I try my best, counselors tell me I am doing a great job, that I am very intuitive to his needs. Some days I feel I do ok, others, like today, I just don’t know what to do. First some background, Rebel has been different since he was a baby. He has always been fussy, temperamental, but what always worried me was his violent outburst. He would throw temper tantrums over silly things, like all toddlers do, but his were different, he was violent, he hit at me, kicked at me, tried to bite me. We tried all the normal things, ignore it, put him in time out, we even tried spanking him, none of it helped. As he got a little older I tried to put him in his room, he would destroy it!  One of the things that really made me realize these are not normal tantrums was that he was completely out of control, nothing I did could help him once he was in the “red zone” he would even destroy some of his favorite things. I spent many hours crying, not knowing what to do. Finally in first grade a teacher suggested we have him evaluated for ADHD. Come to find out not only did he have ADHD but he also has ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) He started seeing a counselor and because I didn’t feel safe when he had an episode we did opt for medication. It took us a while to find a medication combination we felt comfortable with and that works for him, we have an amazing doctor who doesn’t just push drugs. And we keep him at a low enough dose that he still has to learn to control himself, he isn’t a zombie. Our goal has always been and will remain to be getting him off the medication and I pray some day we will get there.

Princess & Rebel 1st day of school after the summer he was diagnosed as allergic to sucrose.
Princess & Rebel 1st day of school after the summer he was diagnosed as allergic to sucrose.
Rebel and Princess 1st day of school 2 years later.

In my gut I knew there was more to it still, something still wasn’t right with him, not to mention he would only sleep 4-6 hours a night and had huge dark, dark circles under his eyes. I had tried elimination diets with him, taken out gluten, dairy, food dyes and sugar. Nothing seemed to be making a difference. A nurse called me to give me results of a sleep study (which showed no problems) and asked me some questions, does he get headaches? does his stomach hurt? constipation? along with others. Pretty much every answer was yes. She said they would like to run a test for Fructose sensitivity. I had never heard of such a thing, didn’t even know it was possible. But of course it is rare, and so the test is only done in a few labs and takes 3 hours, so the wait list is long. It took us 2 months to get in. During that time I was doing my own testing at home. I didn’t know the difference then between Fructose, Sucrose or Dextrose. So I took him off of it all. And I was meticulous. Things I never thought of (and so had given him on other sugar testing) had sugars in them. It took about 3 days for it to all get out of his body, and then I had this new boy! Now don’t get me wrong, he still has ADHD and ODD, but since the constant headaches and stomach pains were gone, he could get some sleep and he was much improved. Because I am not perfect, we made some slip ups and accidentally gave him some foods that contained sugar, we learned it takes about 24 hours for the sugar to affect him, but then the migraine, and stomach cramps last for about 2 days as his body gets rid of it. We also learned he does not have a problem with Fructose (or single chain sugars) just with Sucrose (or double chain sugars.) He can have limited amounts of sugar alcohol, honey and real maple syrup, but since it all depends on what else he has eaten we tend to avoid them. And when  I say limited, I mean a half serving about once a week, so not really worth it. Therefore, we can’t really eat any per-packaged food, there are a few, but not many. I even have to watch canned and frozen veggies!  He can eat some breads, if they basically only have enough sugar to activate the yeast, which is funny because it seems to be the cheap “marshmallow” bread that he can tolerate, the more expensive “whole grain, wholesome”” breads have more sugar and it can’t eat them. I used to try and make all his bread, but with everything else I have to make and do, I struggled to keep up, and right now it is something I am letting go.

However because of our food challenges I discovered an amazing and inexpensive crock pot refried  beans recipe that we make probably every 2 weeks, (only only that far apart because it makes so much that we can eat it a few times between making it) It is super easy, non fat, vegan and amazing! As a matter of fact I need to go get it started now for dinner tonight! We are having burritos, I also use it as just a side dish, in tacos, as a base to make a yummy thick chili and I have heard but not tried it myself, you can use it as a sandwich filling too.

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Crockpot “Refried” Beans

 from Pennies & Pancakes

*Makes about 16 cups


2 lbs pinto beans

1 large onion, chopped

4 Tbsp. jarred minced garlic

* Up to 2 1/2 Tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp cumin

10 cups hot water

* You can use as little as 1 Tbsp of salt. It all depends on how you like your beans.


Rinse the beans in a colander. Pick out any bad beans.

Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot. Remove any floating beans. Cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours and on LOW for 2 hours.

Uncover, and remove extra liquid. Leave enough liquid to reach the desired consistency when the beans are mashed. (We like our beans somewhere between the very liquidy restaurant style beans, and the canned version of refried beans.)

Mash beans with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Serve warm. Store in air-tight containers in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks, or freeze in ziplock bags for later use.