Dodging Food

It’s been an exciting week for Charlie. We ended up in the hospital parking lot during dinner one night, waiting for his face to calm down. I made chicken parm with some homemade marinara and it should have been fine for him, but sometimes pasta sauce makes his face red – probably the acidity. We might have waited it out, if Charlie didn’t already have a tight, awful cough from his cold. As it was, we couldn’t be sure what was cold and what was allergy, so off we went, and dinner was cold when we got back. That’s pretty frustrating. Max woke up that night from a nightmare in which “Vegetables were coming out of Charlie’s neck.”

A couple days later, Charlie was well enough to come to Max’s swim lesson and sit with me at the picnic table. It was the last swim lesson of the season, so the teacher gave the kids little bags of chewy fruit-flavored snacks. I didn’t see her do that, so when Max got back to our table he had already opened it, eaten one, and immediately tried to give one to Charlie. I vetoed that, and explained to Max that we couldn’t eat any more of them until we got home and I could check the ingredients. Max understood, but it was too much for him and he sobbed and screamed all the way home.

The following day, we stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up some vegetables and fruit. Sure enough, there was a big event for kids: they were making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Charlie really wanted to go over there, but I explained why he couldn’t, and he understood…although I had to hold his hand the whole time to prevent him from going over anyway. He gets it as much as a three-year-old can, but he has the control of a three-year-old, too.

As a parent of an allergy kid, I see the world differently than I did before. For one thing, I’m stunned by how much food is given to kids. I never noticed it until we had Charlie, but wow: so many events for kids also end up including snacks or candy. And the oil change place, where they offer candy. And the bank, where they offer candy.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that nearly all of this food is crap. Candy, rice krispy treats, fruit-flavored gummies – this is all junk food. I appreciate the people who keep stickers on hand instead of sweets. Kids love stickers.

So that’s the food allergy update. These things are rough, and affect our quality of life, but they’re nothing we can’t handle. I’ll take the tribulations of unexpected snacks and a weird sensitivity to marinara sauce over anaphylaxis any day.

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3 thoughts on “Dodging Food

  1. Totally agree about the food-centric kids’ activities. It’s EVERYWHERE. For example, most Cub Scout meeting there are cookies, etc. Why? It’s right after dinner and right before bed – no kid needs that junk! If we forget to bring Henry’s safe treats, he goes without. The older he gets, the more isolating that scenario has become and it’s really starting to hit home for him. 😦 And the adults in these situations are so clueless, and often say things that are SO unhelpful, like “gosh that really sucks for you”, or “that’s so unfair”, or “I could never live without xyz”. Ugh.

    On the upside, I’m sure your family has benefited like mine has, in that we eat healthier food than most anyone we know. It wasn’t like that before the food allergies! That’s been a definite silver lining!

    • That’s true for us, too. I know much more about food and nutrition than I did before Charlie, and we eat much healthier food.

      I’ve had parents act like it’s awful in front of Charlie, too.

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