Monday, December 12, 2011

What If We Break Our Own No-Nut Rule?

For years we've lived our lives avoiding eggs, sesame seeds, peanuts, and any and all forms of tree nuts.  No one said it was easy, but since we've been doing this before mini started solids (what we affectionately called the "not so fun yet thank goodness we can still eat frozen yogurt nursing diet") we're kind of used to the drill.  Years of blood tests, skin pricks and food challenges have confirmed that these allergies ain't going away anytime soon.


Except that a recent food challenge revealed mini is not allergic to almonds!  Not sure if she outgrew them, or if she was never really allergic and we were avoiding it just to be safe, but our world just opened up.  That's right, you heard us, so many foods we could never have before!  The one tiny brand of almond butter that is not made in a plant with any other kinds of nuts!  The cheerios made with almond flour but no other contaminants! The almond hershey kisses!  The....well, actually, that's it.  Maybe "world" is a bit of an overstatement.  But it's still a big change.

Such a big change, we were told mini has to eat almonds at least a couple times a week now to ensure it's safe.  So honey nut cheerios for breakfast it is.  Fortunately for us, it also meets her stringent food criteria as it is non-nutritious and white or brown.

All of this is exciting, but not unexpected.  Her numbers for that nut were borderline for years.  It was time.

So why, you ask, is this even blog-worthy? 

We write because we are humbled.  We write because we did not expect the sudden fear of being a huge-ass hypocrite.  We write because now we have a taste of what it feels like to be on the other side.

Suddenly we were making apple and almond butter snacks like it was no tomorrow, throwing together almond butter sandwiches without thinking about it, and putting together bags of honey nut cheerios as a snack.  It suddenly dawned on us would be so easy for us to forget. 

It would be so easy to throw on almond butter instead of soy nut butter one morning, not thinking, and throw that in the lunchbox.  Imagine, after years of advocating, what a field day people would have if we were the ones putting an almond-allergic child in danger?

Now have we made this mistake yet?  No.  But this actually keeps us up at night.  What if?  What if we're the ones making that awful mistake?  And if it's so easy for us, imagine how easy it would be for people who don't live with life-threatening allergies every day?

So we're cutting everyone some slack in this area.  It is hard to be perfect.  So we sympathize with those of you who have made and will make mistakes.  The ones who are mortified and apologetic when the teacher calls to ask them not to send peanut butter to school anymore.  The ones who stop eating their almonds and slip their bags back into their purses in shame when they see you and realize.  You peeps, when you make a mistake, you get a free pass from this allergy parent.  Honest mistakes happen.

So let's be clear.  It's not you that keeps us up at night.  It's the people that either do it on purpose, or don't care either way.  Because to lack compassion like that, to be that thoughtless, to think your kids' right to a peanut butter sandwich is as important as another child's right to attend school safely, that's not easy. 

So what's our message?  We're saying we acknowledge perfection is not possible.  That's why we carry epipens everywhere.

It's all about the attitude.  The attitude, more than anything is what determines our child's safety.  So if you understand, and you try, but you still forget...we will do our best to understand too.

And to those parents of children who are allergic to almonds? We promise we will do everything in our power not to accidentally send them to school or to the playground or anywhere where we know you might be.  We can't promise we'll never make a mistake, but we can promise to do our best and take painstaking care not to let that happen, because the thought of us making a mistake that could hurt someone terrifies us.  Because we've been there, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That should read 'fabulous purse'... ;-)