I was hesitant to update previously because I didn't want to make the mistake of seeing something that wasn't necessarily there.
Since cutting milk and other dairy products, my son's behavior has improved. Tremendously. He went two whole weeks getting yellows and greens at school. However, at the same time, his teacher started using a different method of documenting his behavior, which might have made a difference as well.
She tracks his behavior now using a series of 4 faces drawn on his calendar. The first is smiling, which I consider to be yellow. Then there are two with a line for a mouth, which signify to me green and then blue. And finally, there is a face with a frown, which would signify red. It looks like this:
He starts every day with no smilies circled. His teacher monitors his behavior and circles the smiley that is appropriate based on her observation and judgement. She resets his smilies at lunch time.
So far, he has gotten either a smiling face or the first flat lined face for the first part of the day. Usually, the smiley face. Typically, the second part of the day is either the second or third smiley face. I'm not sure how to translate this combination of faces into the color for the day, so I haven't been posting his behavior charts.
The end of his day calendar might look like this:
Typically, I will average out the faces - for instance, if he got the smilies above, I'll say the day, overall, was green. If he gets the second face (the first one with the flat mouth) during the first half of the day and the third face during the second half of the day, I'm not sure what to make of it, other than he needs to work on his afternoons. She no longer tells me what he did wrong to justify the smiley selection for the day.
Overall, since Thanksgiving's passing, he has gotten NO frowns. HUGE kudos to my little man for that.
Now, on to my observations.
When he has zero dairy in his diet, many things change. He is not as rambunctious! He is more mellow, laid-back. He no longer argues with us about why he is or is not doing something. He doesn't require constant reminders to get dressed in the morning. He makes his own decisions and they're typically the right decision instead of whatever the heck he wants to do.
In the last couple of weeks, we have allowed some dairy back in. About a week ago he was off the hook unruly! He had enjoyed some cheese on his omelet that morning simply because I wasn't thinking and put cheese on it - b/c, well, omelets and cheese go hand-in-hand and I didn't even realize I was doing it. Our son called me out on it right away, but I let him enjoy it anyhow. But, it was also Kraft American slices, which really isn't cheese, but a cheese like product. It might have been different if it was a real, hard cheese.
He has had meals with whole fat cream in them and did fine. He did fine with a recipe that included cream cheese. And he has done fine with dairy butter. And fine with real cheese. However, about the time that we started allowing dairy back in is about the same same time he started getting that third smiley, the one circled above. So, I feel that quite possibly, dairy could be a culprit with him. But, gluten has also been present, so maybe gluten and dairy together are the problem. At this point, I still don't know. Only more time will tell. And I haven't talked to the teacher about it, so I don't know what her opinion is, I can only judge by the calendar that she is seeing an improvement in his behavior through the elimination of milk.
I can say that it is difficult to go dairy free when it comes to our favorite recipes. Our son loves mashed potatoes! I have made his mash potatoes with chicken stock and he has not indicated that he doesn't like them, so they have stayed - now I make them two ways (one with butter, one with stock) because my husband does not like them with stock only.
With the Christmas holiday approaching, I am not going to make a big fuss out of making sure he's remaining dairy free. I do, however, still provide dairy free snacks for him for school and dairy free lunches. I don't want to confuse his teacher since I haven't talked to her recently about this no-dairy experiment. My son questions why I am allowing him dairy right now, but I just tell him it's ok this one time and go about my day. December is a tough month because our family has a lot of birthdays, and of course, there's Christmas, so we'll start up fresh again on the 26th and see what kind of progress we can make. It might help, too, that by then he'll be used to his teacher's new behavior system for him and we'll get a true view of how he's being at school, and can eliminate the thinking that he's being so good b/c the system is new.
On a side note, he had his winter concert at school last night. He was a dream child! He performed when he was supposed to and when he wasn't performing, his hands were tucked nicely into his pockets, not fiddling with the children around him or fidgetting. He also was not talking to his neighbors, which a lot of his neighbors did. He looked around and what not, but he wasn't messing around, which is vastly different than what I had expected out of him. He was such a good boy! I was very proud of him.