Monday, October 24, 2011

Long Live The Switch Witch (and organic candy)

Halloween is next week, and TheODDFamily is getting ready. We live in a pretty quiet neighbourhood, so we've traditionally driven five minutes away to a busier neighbourhood for our trick-or-treating. I do feel a little guilty about that, because it means I'm not giving out candy to the few kids who do come our way, but I just love trick-or-treating with Bear. The neighbourhood we invaded was perfect for us because both sets of grandparents lived on the same street until this spring, which was incredibly convenient. We would start at the house of one set of grandparents and trick-or-treat down the block to the next set, which was just long enough for a little guy. Things are different this year because one set of grandparents decided to move, which has ruined all our fun. I really wish they had taken our needs into account, but I guess family isn't their priority. (Kidding!!!!)

Trick or treating became a little more complicated when we started Bear on his diet last year. Suddenly, he wasn't able to eat 90% of the bounty he would collect on Halloween. What to do, what to do??? I'm a firm believer that Bear needs to be able to enjoy all the typical childhood activities, so I do my best to figure out ways for him to do that.

One of the things we did last year was to buy some organic candy we knew Bear could eat. One of our favourite brands is Yummy Earth. Their lollipops and gummy worms are out of this world! I bet if you did a quick Google search or called your local health food store, you could find some before Halloween. I usually get them at my local Winners store, so check there if you have one close by.

TheODDDad and I filled our pockets with various Bear-friendly candies last year, which we dumped into his loot bag whenever he wasn't looking. This works really well if your child carries a small bucket/bag for collecting that then gets dumped into a larger bag carried by Mommy/Daddy. When we got back home we sorted the candy into two piles: Bear-friendly treats and non-Bear-friendly treats.

The non-Bear-friendly treat pile is where the Switch Witch comes in. (I will forever be grateful to my friend for introducing me to the Switch Witch.) The Switch Witch is a distant cousin of Santa Claus. She's the black sheep of the know the one. Always wearing a little black dress, showing up late for the festivities, leaving a trail of slack-jawed men in her wake. She makes the Tooth Fairy look like a real little priss.

Anyway, the Switch Witch comes to visit Halloween night, after all the candy has been collected and sorted and little ones are asleep. She takes away the unwanted candy and leaves a present in its place. The more candy left for the Switch Witch, the better the present. The Switch Witch comes to our house because Bear can't eat most of his candy, but she's equally happy to visit homes where moms and dads simply don't want that much candy kicking around the house.

And for the record, the Switch Witch has been known to make an appearance at our house on Valentine's Day too, when we had a sobbing Bear because he couldn't eat any of the chocolate or candy from school.

So give her a call. She's pretty accommodating. We will be.


  1. Hi Laura,
    I haven't been reading your blog that long - what was the diet change? Rational? We have been on a big kick here, but I'm curious about what you've done and its results.

  2. Hi Cristina. When Bear was first diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, we knew he was going to need medication. I'm not saying all kids need it, but he's pretty severe. We did, however, want to see if there was a way to limit how much medication he would need. With our doctor's blessing, we took Bear to a naturopath and had IgG food sensitivity testing done. It's a simple blood test and they tested him for 72 of the most common food sensitivities. He tested off the charts for soy, gluten, casein (dairy), eggs, and sunflower. Unlike food allergies, which normally affect a person immediately, food sensitivities can take anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days to manifest. In Bear's case, his aggression and opposition go through the roof if he eats something he's not supposed to. He's like a totally different child, and there's nothing we can do except wait for it to work its way out of his system. I kid you not, the last time he snuck food (a granola bar), it ended up getting him suspended. (Read A Boy, a Granola Bar, and a Suspension.)

    A friend of mine had her two boys tested as well (one with ADHD/ODD and one with autism), and she has had an incredible amount of success as well. One of these days I'll write a full post about it, but that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

  3. Love the Switch Witch description...and you're welcome...

  4. Wow Laura - that's amazing. I hadn't even thought of it. We took Lucas of meds in September since he was reacting so poorly to everything we tried. So now we are on this very delicate run of trying to manage with "what we have" (read between the lines - no school support, no working meds, no more community resources and a teacher who doesn't really believe ADHD much less ODD exist.) Diet has been our next go-to but it didn't occur to me to try this. How do I shop for a pediatric naturopath?

  5. Oh, Cristina. I'm so sorry to hear you don't have any support. I'm not a doctor, but I would say not to give up on the meds. What I will says is that Bear's meds don't really touch his ODD. For that we really rely on the diet and on working with him. (Have you read Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child"? His methods have been adopted in Ottawa by one of the school boards, the children's hospital, and much of the children's mental health community.)

    As for a naturopath, I'm honestly not sure if there's such thing as a pediatric naturopath. I would say make sure you see a Doctor of Naturopathy (there's probably an association in BC if you google it) as they have to take all the same pre-med courses as an MD. I've also emailed an ADHD coach I know in Vancouver to see if he can recommend one. I'll let you know what I find out.

  6. Thanks Luara - a recommendation would be awesome. I have indeed read Ross Green's "explosive Child", done his workbook and explored his website as well as listened to his podcasts! I'm also going to try and catch him in Seattle in January.

    It's interesting that you say the meds don't affect your son's ODD. I wonder if that is our case as well.

    Thanks for the support.


  7. Cristina, I haven't been able to get any names for you, so I would check out the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors I would also ask around to see if anyone can recommend anyone. You'd be amazed how many people see an ND in addition to their MD. Please let me know how things go.