This is a picture of my five year old son sat on some steps in Grand Central Station, New York, munching on a gluten free, dairy free chocolate doughnut. It was categorically one of the highlights of his trip (just pipped to the post by going to Toys R Us!).
We had made a special trip one day to go to a bakery called Babycakes, which I’d found on line when researching places where we could eat during our stay. It sells all gluten, wheat, dairy, soya and egg free baked goods and I just knew I had to find this place and take my son there.
It took us until my son was four and a half years old to finally work out exactly what was causing him to have constant stomach upsets and by this age, he was old enough to recognise what he was missing out on by cutting wheat and dairy from his diet. Since then, if we go out to a restaurant, nine times out of ten the dessert menu will be dairy based, so my son has to watch his sisters tuck in to ice cream, whilst he is lucky to get a bowl of fruit. And whenever we go to a coffee shop, if there happens to be anything gluten free for sale, it usually contains dairy, so there is never anything that my son can choose as a treat (I usually take things out with me to compensate for this).
But not once has he ever complained about it. I can only assume this is also because he is old enough to realise that eating these foods makes him ill. All we ever have to say is that there is nothing wheat or dairy free for you to choose and he just shrugs his shoulders in a ‘never mind’ kind of matter-of-fact way. I am very proud of him for this and I would not blame him at all if he felt that he was missing out on getting certain treats due to his condition. Because in essence, he is.
That was why this bakery in New York was a must. For once I wanted to take my son somewhere and allow him full choice of anything that was on offer. And this place didn’t disappoint. There were doughnuts, cupcakes and biscuits galore and it was such a joy watching my little boy hop up and down with excitement in a way that only a five year old can do.
‘I can really choose anything?’ he asked, his eyes wide with excitement.
‘Yes, anything you want,’ I replied.
‘Oh YES!’ came the response, along with a victory punch in the air.
So after choosing a selection (and buying the cookbook) we left, called for lunch and then made our way back to our hotel, via Central Station. That was how we came to be sat on those steps tucking in to the goodies. My son had decided that he couldn’t wait any longer to try out his treats, so they were sampled right there on the stairs.
Forget all the other sites in New York, watching him eat that doughnut was THE highlight of my trip.