I woke up in the morning from a long, full night of sleep. There was screaming in the other room and I knew it wasn’t just my son in his crib calling for me. This was different. He was 10 months old and this was the first time he slept through the night. Why was his screaming so frightening?
I ran into the room and there he was, eyes swollen shut, arms reaching out for help, and of course I KNEW! This was my first real life experience with anaphylaxis.
Later that day after his first blood test, which he took like a champ, we found out the results. Allergens: Nuts, Wheat, Eggs, Oats, and corn.
“Bye bye pretty much every food in our pantry! Since Dylan has allergies to it all! Family life style change in full effect @bl2own #thedavisproject#thedylandavisdiet #dylandavis #dylanjason#littledavisbaby #davislifestylechange #thedavistrio”
For those of you who have not experienced this before, will hopefully NEVER know what it’s like. I’m thankful to have my son grow up in a time where allergies are more of a reality, not because I would wish this fear on any person in the world, but because there is so much more allergy awareness. But here’s the thing about most awareness…
You think you understand, but you really don’t.
To be frank, parents of kids with food allergies lead very different lives then you know. It’s hard to even put into words let alone bring you to the places our minds go. Things become a lot more tolerable for us when you, the “other” parent, make the effort to understand what this life brings. It makes an impact when you help guide your children on the path of understanding this life and how important it is to be mindful. The problem is, with this “awareness” we think we live in, there is so much misunderstanding.
There are a lot of blogs out there and they all have the same similar undertone about allergy life. I could see that it’s annoying and frustrating to have things show up on your feed or to get an email from the administration at school about a child in class with allergies.
You are just trying to be the best parent you can to your child and you have A LOT going on. Making peanut butter and jelly is just easy and you have a picky eater any way.
I understand, I really do. The truth however is, this isn’t something we choose, we don’t have that luxury. This is real life and when I mean “real life” I mean, it gets real…
“You’ll never know how hard it is to answer the operator on the line to “911 what’s your emergency” until you have to do it for your baby || Feeling pretty overwhelmed today and sad for our little guy || allergies and hospitals are not fun || he’s such a trooper || #overwhelmed “
I think what is so difficult about this life is, allergy parents sometimes don’t take enough time to help others understand. Many allergy parents don’t put themselves in other parents shoes but they are asking others to do the same for them.
In case you know an allergy parent and you don’t quite understand, here are some small things we, the allergy parents, want you to know.
- We appreciate it when you ask questions, we appreciate it when we receive emails from parents in the class room saying
“You have our full support in caring for Dylan and your family. We have known about Dylan’s sensitivities and do appreciate the clear reminder.”
“First, I admire your bravery – both for sending Dylan to the school he loves with such a tricky and scary thing to navigate…”
“Being part of a school community means caring and feeling compassion for our friends and those around us. And to treat others how you would hope to be treated. These are basic values I want my kids to learn. I would hate for Dylan or any other child to feel left out or excluded especially when there are easy ways to avoid it. That’s not something I want to be a part of. So if there is anything we can do, please let me know.”
- We also want you to know that you think that everyone is so sensitive to this “situation”, but I promise they really aren’t. This is not a choice we’ve made and it terrifies us to receive emails from parents no matter how politely saying that they believe their child shouldn’t have to accommodate mine. Even at two years old…
“Unfortunately, part of the lifestyle of someone with severe allergies is they will have to learn that they may have different environments than other children and/or might not be able to participate in everything.”
“I will say, just to be honest, that in the past when my daughter brought home gluten-free treats she did not like them and threw them away. I do think that Dylan should be able to participate and have his own treats but I also think the other children should be able to have the treats that make sense for them.”
3. We want you to know that just because you know someone, even a family member with food allergies, I promise you, it’s not the same thing as if it were your own child.
“I was thinking about how I would react if I were in your shoes, given what I’ve witnessed watching my brother grow up with allergies and how my family handled it, and I honestly think the best thing to do is provide a safe individual environment for the child to participate in activities with food/product that won’t endanger them, but measures put in place for that one child should not affect other children.”
(But it’s okay that it affects my child’s health. We are talking about life threating allergies here not whether your child can use left handed scissors or right)
The love you have for your child is very different than that of any other human on the planet. You know it’s not the same.
4. We want you to know, we aren’t trying to be rude when excluding ourselves from birthday parties, events, parks, playgrounds, or any other social gatherings. We also aren’t trying to ruin these events for you.
Here’s the thing, we can’t eat what you’ve provided at the party, we act like helicopter parents following our kids around with eyes like hawks, we have long winded conversations with our babies before we arrive about not eating other peoples food, and we hold our breath at every move they make. It sucks!
On top of that when another parent isn’t so sensitive to this allergy life, we are excluded anyway. Parents are passing around the brownies and we have to say “No thank you”, then we have to turn to our two year old and explain why every other child gets a treat but they don’t.
Trying doing it every.single.day.
How about when we pack up our entire “picnic” at the park because a parent doesn’t think before packing their lunch when they know we’ll be there. Then their child that just slathered peanut butter and jelly all over their face, hands, and clothes decides that they want to play with our child. NOPE, BYE.
Yes, we have our Epi-pen, but no, we don’t want to use it! By the way, they are for emergencies only. I hope that we never have to use one!
5. We don’t want our children left out just as much as you don’t. It’s so heartbreaking to watch my son explain that he has brownies at home that his mom made, or special Popsicle’s just for him when kids at the community park are all indulging while playing at the weekly Friday block party. Kids are cruel and I dread the day children say terrible things to him.
“After yesterday’s drama Dylan got an early present! Allergies are a scary thing and I’m not excited about having to fill an epi pen prescription! This little guy is a trooper! Took a needle like nobody’s business and I’m so proud of my tough monkey! @bl2own#dylandavis #dylanjason #littledavisbaby#littlepicklebaby #10monthsold #earlypresent#cuteness “
- We want you to know, we appreciate the questions, but please try to retain the information. Like I said, we live in a world that is more sensitive than ever to food allergies, but Peanut Butter isn’t the only allergy there is. The schools “nut free environment” doesn’t cover my son’s wheat, eggs, oats, and corn; AND no, I don’t know if he’ll grow out of them, and no, it’s not common to grow out of all the allergies he has. If I had a crystal ball I’d love to see the answer just as much as you ask me.
7. We want you to know, it IS possible to make meals without allergens, so don’t insult our intelligence by saying you won’t be able to feed your children if you can’t make them egg salad sandwiches.
Be honest, you don’t want to. This implies you have a CHOICE.
My son doesn’t have a choice, and as his Mom, I don’t either.
8. Just know, everything is hard. Play dates, eating out, traveling, packing, making appointments, and anything else you can do normally is very hard for us.
We can’t just pick up and go with a few snacks. We plan everything around when we eat because there are not options for us. We have to pack a cooler everywhere we go, remember the Epi-pens, Benadryl, Cortisone, and phone chargers. It’s not easy to drive thru, or “grab a bite”.
9. Living an allergy free life is madness, and I’m one of the Mom’s behind it all. Please be kind. Please try. If we’re truly “all in this together”, we need you to be on our side, not just for us, but for our kids too!
“With your loving, There ain’t nothing, That I can’t adore #dylanjason #dylandavis #thedavistrio #fambam#thankful #blessed #grateful #toddlerlife #mommylife#momlife #sweetestdevotion #happiness#honestmotherhood #happyliving #love #adore “