Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle star-dust over the lives of little children. (Alex Haley)
My Mum and Dad have a tradition.
noun tra·di·tion trə-ˈdi-shən
a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time
It’s a new-ish tradition in that it was born when my oldest nephew turned seven. His grandparents – my parents! – brought him across the ditch to Sydney for a visit with his aunts. And, the deal is that his siblings get to do the same thing when they are seven, too.
That was three years ago now.
This past week, it was my second nephew’s turn. It’s been a pretty action packed few days of doing things around Sydney that an almost-eight year old likes to do.
We’ve been to the Australian Museum where we made snakes, the Taronga Zoo where we patted a sea-lion and fed wallabies, the Sydney Aquarium where we saw sharks and dugongs, and – our mutual favourite – to the most fabulous performance about dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Zoo at the Sydney Opera House.
And, in addition to all of that there’s been swimming and baking and dog walking and lots of socialising.
So much fun!
Blue, my almost-eight nephew, has recently been diagnosed with Coeliac disease. Not much fun for anybody, let alone a little person. And, he’s been such a trooper about it.
But, at times it must feel like he’s permanently stuck looking at the world from the inside of a deep sea diver’s outfit…
It’s one thing for me, a fully formed adult, to suspect a gluten sensitivity and voluntarily give it up to see how I feel*. It’s quite another to be forced to adopt a weird diet at the age of seven, and have to audit every item of food that might pass your wee lips.
I had not appreciated quite how much of a challenge that could be for a little person.
It was easy at Casa TSL. We’ve been a gluten-free household – and more – for well over two years, now. It’s no big deal for me to make gluten-free everything.
Dining out ‘on the hop’ was entirely another matter…
And, little bodies need recharging. Often. And, sometimes the snacks that aunties (and Omis) provide just don’t quite cut it. There’s a desire for french fries (nope – oftener rolled in flour and cooked in the same oil as glutened snacks) or ice cream (nope – packaged ice creams usually have gluten) or sushi (nope – there’s gluten in the vinegar used to bind the rice)… I have a new-found respect for all those parents dealing with multiple food allergies.
But, we managed.
Blue and I made cherry choc-chip cookies free of eggs, gluten, grains and dairy. Want that recipe?
My coconut ice cream was a huge hit. And, when Blue requested a lemon flavoured version, a new recipe was born. Watch this space!
Raw cacao hot chocolate became a morning treat after breakfast. And, it transpires that gluten-free pancakes (I subbed out the agave for maple syrup) served with whipped coconut cream and strawberry coulis are a hit with young players!
So, we had a fab’ week of family time here at Casa TSL. Normal transmission will now resume…
* SO much better!