If I tell you I worry I'm not a great parent, you might tell me that because I'm worried, it means I care, and so I am obviously a "good mom." Or maybe you'll say I need to just chill out! Or maybe I'm worrying about the wrong things.
If I say certain words to my kids, I run the risk of crushing their wee spirits.
Or maybe I will over-praise them and damage them as adults?
We just got back from a road trip from the GTA to Newfoundland with my two kids. They're veterans of epic road trips. On Sunday, we left my parents' home on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland, drove 10 hours across the island to the Port aux Basques ferry, slept on the ferry till we disembarked in North Syndey, Nova Scotia, at 2:30 AM, then drove and drove and drove (and drove) 1900 kilometres home, stopping only for bathroom and food breaks. Two parents, two kids, and a puppy in a Mazda 5. In 48 hours, we spent 32 on the road.
Seldom is there a fiercer anger than when a mama bear’s cub gets injured. Should a fellow kindergartener toss out a few typical teases, she’ll be forever labeled as a Mean Girl by the other mama bears, for certain. A boy who shoves another boy is a terrible bully. A child who hits must be hit at home. A kid who bites has “something wrong” with them. What is normal childhood behaviour, and what is truly of concern?
In the most literal sense of the word, I am over-sensitive. I have a condition called dermatographism (or dermographism), which is a chronic urticaria condition not unlike my son's cold urticaria. With very little pressure, I can literally write on my skin, which means even the lightest scratches lead to welts, hives, or raised rashes.
Canadian allergy sufferers are currently breathing sighs of relief because, yay, pollen season is over. But as soon as those spring/summer/fall allergy symptoms disappear, we're all still sniffling and clearing our throats. I spend most of September through, oh, August, with a stuffy nose and I'm pretty sure I'm not that sickly. So what's up with that? Most likely environmental allergies.
I know there are plenty of you out there who think we should just keep my allergic kid inside this Halloween. I know it would save you the hassle of once again having to think of someone else, but here's the thing: we love Halloween and so do our kids. They love trick-or-treating, and they love gorging themselves on the bounty of sugar when they get home from their neighbourhood walk. It's a childhood rite of passage, and nope, we don't keep our anaphylactic boy at home in a protective bubble.
I went to buy school shoes for my kids today, and guess what? Apparently I've nearly missed the boat, because they were out of stock on almost every pair my kids liked. And why is that? It's because other parents out there were way more prepared than I.
Here's my organizational contribution: this amazing list of lunch ideas I've compiled! I'm so prepared, I've got ideas to last... I don't even know how long. A long time, though.
Forgive me the backstory on this one, but you'll need it to understand how we got to this point in our food allergy journey. My son is turning seven this year, and has had food allergies his entire life. He used to react to allergens through breastmilk, even though multiple doctors told me I was mistaken. Allergies were confirmed by his reactions, and then by skin tests at nine months of age. At 14 months, he had a serious reaction to tilapia and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
By now, you may have heard about the Saskatchewan teen fired from her job after having an allergic reaction. I sat on the news for awhile, because, well, something doesn't sit right with me, you know? Ever the critic, I wasn't sure that the timing of her firing was just really bad (and had little to do with her reaction), and I wondered why anyone with allergies as severe as she alleges would ever leave home without an EpiPen.
Those with food allergies know to always, always read the labels. Always ask, even at regular restaurants, if ingredients have changed. Always read the allergen list. We double- and triple-check for allergens. This is why when Lisa Macpherson ate the same seafood salad she's eaten countless times before at a Milestone's restaurant she didn't expect to discover peanuts in the new dressing. Posted on Facebook, Macpherson reached out to friends to see what her course of action could be.
In 2012, Micheline Ducre's daughter died of anaphylaxis after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanuts earlier in the night. Myriam Ducre-Lemay's boyfriend was unaware of the allergy, and wasn't able to save his girlfriend once she had difficulty breathing.
Relationships have been on my mind a lot in the last couple years. Work ones, personal ones, old ones and new ones — it takes finesse to manage all the relationships we have in our lives, and often I think we don't appreciate just how much work that really is.
A British restaurateur has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, and charged with six food food safety offenses, resulting in six years' imprisonment. It's a decision that could set precedence in the food industry worldwide, placing more responsibility on restaurant owners and staff to ensure safety of ingredients. Mohammed Zaman was found guilty in part due to his wholly careless attitude toward food safety.
Every year, FARE works hard to help the general public understand the severity of food allergies through Food Allergy Awareness week. As a parent to an allergic kid, this is my life every day, every week, every year. It's exhausting trying to explain why my son can't eat a cupcake, even though it doesn't specifically contain nuts.