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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Red Dye Ruined Halloween

Life has been rather serene lately. We have hit a good pace....until yesterday.

image: woodwardgallery.net
Circumstances were such that Sweetie got a hold of a red ring pop. We often see ring pops in the grocery store and other kids have brought them home from time to time. The things are HUGE and give hours of sugary satisfaction. Personally, I think they're GROSS, but I'm a purely chocolate person, so there you have it. If it ain't chocolate, I'm not wasting my time.

image: themonogrammerchant.com
Even at Sweetie's birthday, when store-bought cupcakes were brought, Sweetie mentioned first thing, I can't have those. That was HUGE, and I was so proud at that moment that we'd made some headway. I mean seriously, who doesn't want one of those cupcakes with the inches and inches of fluffy goodness on top?!

I honestly think Sweetie didn't think. The thought was more of the nature of the item than the color of it.

Anyway, we didn't catch it quick enough, but it was taken away quickly once it was found. I was hopeful that we'd not have too much hubbub because of it.

Oh! Was I wrong!!!

image: c-ville.com
At school, Sweetie's work was erratic and hurried. I volunteered in the classroom, so I was able to observe it first hand. After school, things got crazy. We have a new hole in a door. There were other extremely negative things that happened, but I will refrain from mentioning them here. I just want to give a little taste of what red 40 does to our child. Without red 40, these things NEVER happen. The only thing I can compare the effect of red 40 to is bipolar disorder--from sweet to psycho in no time flat.

image: nwfdailynews.com
There seems to be some amount of disconnect with Sweetie. This is the same with a couple of my children. The idea that actions lead to consequences just doesn't compute. With all that was going on, I could not see sending this child out into the night to collect up more red items to cause more of this kind of chaos. I understand that Sweetie's behavior was affected by an outside substance, but a drunk driver is still prosecuted, isn't he? Sweetie had to account for choosing to have red dye. There must be a point where Sweetie starts to understand that the benefits of not having it are greater than succumbing to the desire for it.

Sweetie finally took a nap and was wakened for dinner. The Warden and I took Sweetie aside and shared that trick or treating just wasn't going to happen. It broke my heart. Let me just tell you, the phrase in the scriptures about "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth..." Yup. I totally get that one now.

image: sodahead.com
We did however, tell Sweetie that we needed someone in costume who would hand the candy to the trick or treaters. That job was Sweetie's. Somehow that helped, and Sweetie did a fantastic job.

After the Warden left with the other kids, I turned on a movie for us to watch and Sweetie snuggled right in to my shoulder. When the doorbell rang, I paused the show, and Sweetie took care of the necessary actions to make sure everyone was happy. There were no more tears.

image: examiner.com
One other deal was made that we all agreed upon....When they got home, those who trick or treated would share ten pieces of candy with Sweetie. This way we could control just what was consumed.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my trick or treaters arrive home and so generously share with Sweetie. I remember practically placing armed guards around my Halloween candy as a child.

For the future, I'm afraid that unless something is done to ban red 40, our family is going to have to come up with a new plan for celebrating Halloween. Poor Sweetie!

image: tumblr.com
Oh, by the way, even those carmel apple suckers have red dye in them.


Meghan, Carson and the Kiddos said...

Very interesting Julie! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm not sure if I would have taken away trick or treating but it seemed to work out for the best, so what do I know? This was our first Halloween with my oldest being on a gluten free diet which was hard for her at first but ended up being not as bad as I expected. I know that you've written about the red 40 before but i'm curious as to what it's actually doing to their body and their behavior. Now i'm wondering if it could be the source of some issues in one of my children. research time!

Raelyn Davis said...

My sister also has kids with extreme reactions to all food coloring not just Red 40, although Red 40 is the worst culprit of them all. She also has to give up on all preservatives. It is absolutely NIGHT and DAY between the difference. These chemicals literally makes my nieces brain turn off. She can't think, can't rationalize, she's grumpy, and her handwriting is even different.

She noticed with she took the whole family off of preservatives and food coloring that there was minor changes in her others kids too... mostly loudness of voice, and less cranky, but not as dramatic as her daughter.

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