Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Today while we were at the grocery store I decided to show MG, from a safe distance, what a peanut looks like in and out of the shell so she can start to recognize them.

This simple idea has weighed heavily on my mind over the last several months but particularly the last few weeks. Now that she's almost 3 she's old enough to be on the look out for these life threatening allergies so she can help keep herself safe. Trust me, peanuts and tree nuts seem to be everywhere when you are terrified of what they could do to your child. I've stepped out of my car before in a mall parking lot to find peanuts all over the ground and smashed into my shoes. We are constantly on the look out. We even find peanut shells in our yard because apparently some neighbor thinks it's cute to feed a squirrel peanuts. Most recently I've been finding peanuts and tree nuts at our church just lying everywhere in the halls or in the chapel. With as many people and congregations that share the building it's impossible to control what's brought in and it's sad to me that there isn't anywhere, not even our church where we worship where I can relax about MG stumbling across peanuts or tree nuts. This problem is terrifying to me. All she'd have to do is touch one she happens to come across or worse put it in her mouth and BAMB we'd be in big trouble! Now that she's getting older I'm changing tactics. Our first strategy has been that she shouldn't put anything in her mouth without asking mommy or daddy. While that is still a good rule she'll have more and more opportunities as she's older to be away from us and she needs to learn to recognize these dangers and to ask the appropriate questions. So I decided to show and teach her what peanuts and tree nuts look like one at a time.

Sadly, my plan backfired BIG TIME. She seemed interested while we were in the store as we looked at them in the bulk food section as I held her from a safe distance and we talked about what they looked like and I again repeated how dangerous they are and what would happen if she touched or ate one. She seemed to get the point but on the way home we had this horrible conversation.

MG: Mom, can I have a snack?
Me: Sure honey, we are almost home. What do you want to eat when we get there?
MG: Peanuts.
Me: What?
MG: Peanuts!
Me: We don't eat peanuts MG do you remember why? Do you remember what happened the last time you ate peanuts?
MG: Peanuts make my eyes itch.
Me: Yes, what else would happen if you eat peanuts?
MG: Umm, they make me cough.
Me: Yes, and they give you hives and they make it hard to breathe.
MG: Do you like peanuts mommy?
Me: No, MG. I don't like peanuts because they make you sick.
MG: Does daddy like peanuts?
Me: No, daddy doesn't like peanuts because they make you sick. Do you remember the fireman that took us to the hospital because you were really sick when you ate a peanut a long time ago?
MG: Does MG like peanuts?
Me: MG shouldn't like peanuts because they make her very sick and we would have to go to the hospital if you ate one. It would not be fun, it would be very scary.
MG: Ohhhh. Mommy, can I try a peanut?

You can understand why I'm sick to my stomach. She's just so curious what all the fuss is about. It's normal for kids to want to do the opposite of what their parents tell them but I naively never thought she would fight me on this subject. Has she forgotten that horrible day when she first ate peanuts? MG came into this world with a stubborn streak and her dad and I are both too stubborn to admit which side she gets it from. So, now I'm prayerfully trying to decide how to move forward. How to make this continual education of peanuts and tree nuts her idea and how I can continue to help keep her safe even if it's from her own curiosity. Hopefully it won't take another trip in the ambulance to scare her back to obedience on this subject especially as I've been told that if she has another anaphylactic attack it will progress more quickly and be more severe than last time. I can't even fathom what that means since the last attack was quick and severe. I pray she'll learn my way and not hers! I'm in trouble, big trouble here! Meanwhile please think of a darling curious 3 year old girl when you see peanuts or tree nuts laying in public where they should not be. Help us and other little ones who struggle with these potentially life threatening allergies by safely discarding them. You could very possibly save their life.


Jen said...

Wow! What a curious little girl. It is amazing the things that normal kids and people take for granted. MG is sure lucky to have such wonderful and protective parents. I'm sure the day will come when she will realize just how important it is for her to avoid them. Good Luck! Love you!!!

Megan said...

Wow, you definitely have a very bright and curious girl on your hands! How cute. What a challenge this must be, though. I feel for you! You are so diligent and careful. You two are such great parents. Good luck, and I will help spread the word for people to be careful about what foods they bring places.