High Fructose Corn Syrup,Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 And Blue #1.

Camp is rolling along fine, and then it isn’t.

We’ve been back on the Specific Carb Diet for a couple of months(working our butts off). The kids are eating like champs. Lunches are brought from home so no big deal. Camp gives out snacks but I send substitutes. No big deal. They tell me when it’s going to be a special occasion and I send something special for the kids. Except when they don’t. Except when they out of the blue decide to give out popsicles. And I didn’t send anything popsicle-like for my two.

Seth couldn’t care less. He ate the apple he brought. Riley does not care about the food, she’s not craving the popsicle, but she cares about looking different. The first time this happened, she took the popsicle, and held it, pretending to eat it, then gave it to a friend. I was not aware it had even occurred.

But yesterday, it was too much. She did not take a popsicle, and then she had to field questions, “Why aren’t you eating a popsicle?” The questions were too much pressure. She ran and hid.

Then a group gathered around asking if she was okay, and that was the worst. More pressure. She cried. And then got a runny/bloody nose. And got a bit freaked out because everyone was looking at her and because she was crying in front of the little kids, “And I want to set a good example!” she wailed when she was explaining the whole thing to me yesterday afternoon.

Lying with Riley on her bed when she got home, we talk it through as she decompressed. My heart ached for her as I heard the tale. I fear they won’t let her be a counselor one day, (her dream) if she has problems at camp. We come up with a plan for homemade popsicles. Her aide had suggested it that morning, and I’d already called HT at work and asked him to stop at Bed Bath & Beyond on his way home to buy the molds(I’d already driven to Target for them but they didn’t have them), but we weren’t enough steps ahead. We missed it by a breath.

And even with homemade popsicles, we are not out of the woods, because these popsicles will look different than the popsicles they may or may not give out on any random day at camp. And there will be questions about the homemade popsicles. And questions are too much. Questions put you on the spot when you already don’t want to be different.

She liked the idea of the homemade popsicles, but still wasn’t sure she could manage the questions.

I asked her, “What if there were a little camper with diabetes and they couldn’t have the popsicles. Wouldn’t you feel good that you set an example of eating something different and healthy?”

“Yes, but there are no little campers with diabetes.”


We talked about how hard we’ve worked for her to be healthy and how hard we’ve worked to get all kinds of toxins out of her body and why would we want to dump a bunch of red-dye and chemicals back in?

She wailed, “I wish people would stop giving kids junk and then I wouldn’t have to be different! Why can’t we just have watermelon!!!” 

Some days they give out fruit and then she can partake.

I explained that I wished that too, but it wasn’t our job to be food police for the world.

I said, “Riley when you were little we did this diet for you, and our whole family did it to support you. And now, if it were only you, I’d probably just let you have the occasional popsicle, but now we are doing this for Seth. What if when someone asked you about your different popsicle, you said, “My brother is on a special diet and I am supporting him. Would that be okay?”

Magic words. Big smile. This she could get behind.

I called Seth in to make sure he was cool with this, and he was fine. Couldn’t care less.

We practiced, roll playing the scenario several times last night and in the car this morning.

Off they went to camp, with their homemade popsicles. I went to yoga.

I walked in the door at 11:09, just missing the call that came through at 11:07.

It was Riley on the answering machine.

“Mom. I’m having a hard time at camp,” she said in a sweet, sad little voice.

I called back and they said she was already back in the game. She’s fine.

I don’t know what the hard time was.

I don’t ‘effing know.

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4 Responses to High Fructose Corn Syrup,Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 And Blue #1.

  1. Amanda says:

    How about encouraging all the campers to be more healthy and have an activity of making your version of Popsicles? Riley’s still the coolest and sure to be a great counsellor one day

  2. Camille says:


    There are so many postives in Riley’s “sad” story. She managed to pull herself together and not have a total meltdown. She is thinking so much about her goals and wanting to model behavior and that is SO awesome.
    The thing that really strikes me here is that the counselor allowed children to follow her when she was rightly removing herself from the situation to calm down. We were so blessed with a teacher who could read Sam and recognize his needs this last year. “Sam do you want to take a walk?” “Sam why don’t you grab a book for a few minutes.” Sam only ramped up ONE time at school this year and it was because his friend wrestled him to the ground and gave him a bloody nose. AND then he wasn’t really angry, his very black and white sense of justice kicked in and made him lobby for a suspension for his friend (which didn’t happen) and once he calmed down (because he was ALLOWED to) he was over it.

    Love to Riley as she navigates these stressful teen years and lucky her to have you and Todd to appeal to her awesome intelligence and reason to help her work it out.


  3. kario says:

    Oh, Lord, that “different” issue. My girls both still struggle with it, too, when they get strange looks and inquiries about the treats they bring to school or birthday parties or camp. Last summer when they both went away to sleepover camp for a week, we came packing two coolers with individually labeled, prepared meals (by me) for them to have as substitutes for lunch and dinner every day of the seven days they were there. Eve rebelled, snuck the camp food so she could be like her friends, and came home sick, cranky, and toxed out. Lola is more like Seth and she made jokes, ignored the questions, and weathered the storm. I love that you guys found a way to work it through so that Riley can be comfortable. You guys are amazing.

  4. Carrie Link says:

    I love you, Effie, and the horse you rode in on.

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