It’s food allergy awareness week - for my family, it’s something we live every day of the year.
My son is part of that statistic – the one of 13 children with an allergy. He’s allergic to peanuts.
We are pretty vigilant about keeping anything with peanuts out of his reach – in fact, we have a peanut-free home. But mistakes do happen, and that was the case last night. We bought some pizza (what pizza would have peanuts, right?). As I was cutting it, my husband and I decided to check for allergens online.
Sure enough, peanuts.
So we quickly put the pizza back in the box, explaining to J he wouldn’t be able to eat it because it would make him sick. He was already sitting at the table and had been eyeing the pizza from the moment it came in. When he heard he couldn’t have it, he burst into tears. Through the crying he said, “That not make me sick. That’s ‘lummy’ (yummy). That is good.”
It broke our hearts to see our sweet boy crying because something that so many other people can eat, even my husband and I, without getting sick – he can’t.
This was our first experience having to take a food away. He knows he can’t have Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or M&Ms, but he’s never had them taken away. It was hard, not only because we had to see him crying, but to know he’ll have to deal with not eating something that looks ‘lummy’ (yummy) his entire life.
Fortunately we had some English muffins, pizza sauce and cheese and quickly made a back-up pizza with him. It was ‘lummy’ and he was healthy, safe and sound.
Do you have experience dealing with food allergies? What do you do to help your child or friend feel included?