It’s been three months since we found out our baby has food allergies. We watched her vomit and break out in hives a dozen times before we figured it out. We started with catheters checking for infections to ultrasounds checking for, well, anything.
Finally, $1000 in medical bills, 14 scratch tests, and 2 blood draws later, we have the culprits. Dairy and garlic.
While dairy is a common allergen in young children and can be outgrown, it doesn’t make avoiding it any easier – especially with butter, milk, and chocolate lovin’ parents. And garlic? Forget seasoning anything. From lemon pepper to chili powder, most bottles in our spice cabinet contain a form of garlic. Did you know most times when prepackaged foods state “natural flavorings” in the ingredients, it usually contains garlic? Now you do.
Thanksgiving was our first big hurdle and then we got through Christmas. While it seems easy enough, if you eliminate anything seasoned (because if someone says there is no garlic, do they know what contains other forms of garlic?) or cooked with milk or butter, all you have left is the fruit and veggie tray. We’ve done a few birthday parties and friend gatherings, but no pizza, spaghetti, or tacos leaves us packing special food each time.
It’s a hard line to toe, not insulting the host but making sure your child is healthy. The broken record of, “Please don’t feed the baby anything or leave anything on the floor,” has already made eyes roll. I’ve had to train my sisters, my nanny, and church nursery workers on how to use an epi-pen and what signs to look for. I’ve had to make special vacation plans so that my child’s needs are known.
It is a lot of work making sure my child is safe and fed. And it annoys everyone around me. I can feel the judgment, the thoughts: she is overreacting, it can’t be that serious, is her child more important than mine?
I know. It’s annoying to me too.
I have to cook special meals, most of them from absolute scratch since ingredients are hidden. I have the constant fear the nursery worker isn’t listening and I will get a call mid-service. A fear of my child’s face turning blue and it being too late.
So while I know it may be annoying that I have to use your microwave for a separate meal or ask that we eat at a different restaurant so at least one thing on the menu can accommodate our needs – it is a must to keep my child safe and alive.
But, I am so so thankful she is just that. Safe and alive. She’s healthy and thriving and we will find her a meal whenever she is hungry. There are so many worse things. I’m glad we aren’t still running tests on her liver, her pancreas. I’m thrilled it’s not a bacteria or virus. I’m thankful for these annoying allergies.