Monday, December 21, 2009

Holidays and Food Allergies

are not the easiest combination.

What do most people think of when they think of the holidays? Food, of course. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Holiday specific treats and deserts. Parties and family visits and office gatherings all involve food. Neighbors stop by with "holiday treats" and strangers offer small children goodies galore. But for a person with food allergies, seemingly benign thinks like desserts can be deadly. And it is not easy to modify some of the classic holiday food to an allergy friendly version.

Thankfully my little one is still quite young, and so some of the pitfalls are easily avoided. But he is getting older. He's already started to notice when his food looks different, and he doesn't like it. And as he grows, it will get harder to have only two or three things he can eat, versus the dozen or so options that everyone else is choosing from. Although I believe that it is important for him to learn how to live in a world that is full of allergens, I also think that when he is at home he should feel comfortable and free. He might not be able to eat everything in the house, but I would like him to be able to eat most things.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's here!

We finally received the Medical ID for my son today. Yay!

On the reverse:
FirstName LastName
Allergic to eggs, peanuts,
dairy, shellfish, chicken
Carries Epi-Pen

It fits well, is clear and easy to read, difficult for him to remove, fully adjustable and doesn't irritate his skin. YIPEE!!

Here he is out shopping with his auntie, wearing his new Medical ID.

Of course, he kept trying to take it off. At one point, he was even using his teeth to try and pry it open! Thankfully he had long sleeves, so I just pulled them down and he was on to the next distraction. Out of site, out of mind.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gearing up to travel

Traveling with a little one requires more pre-planning than when it was just me or me and my husband. We can't just wake up and decide to go to Timbuktu (Tombouctou, Mali), we have to think about the logistics beforehand. My husband travels quite often, and is the king of last minute preparations. He will wait to go shopping, pack, sometimes even purchase his tickets until hours before he is going to leave. I prefer a little more preparation than that, but as a single woman I often hoped on a plane with a moments notice. Although we both know that it we are "supposed" to do things differently now that we are parents, old habits die hard. We do put a little more thought into our journeys, but we still have nomadic spirits and wanderlust leading the way. Maybe when our children are in school we will plan trips a year in advance. Maybe not.

Although we might not plan for months to take a trip, we will give ourselves at least a week. And there is a lot to do during that week. I have packing down to a science. I have a checklist that I keep on hand, and I'm organized enough that I can pack in my mind for a few days before I physically put items in suitcases. This way when I actually pack it's pretty straightforward. We also have to make sure that passports, visas, vaccinations and exemption letters are in order and up to date. I call the airline to reserve seats and check on any relevant policies. Language refresher courses or basic phrase lessons are always on my to-do list. Additionally, if it's a long trip, then there are goodbye's to say, automatic payments to arrange, people to visit, stuff to box up and shopping to be done.

Food allergies add another layer of preparation. I also have make sure I have enough food and drinks for my son to eat on the plane and for a few days once we arrive, just in case we have any difficulty finding things for him. Drinks sometimes cause a problem and I always check the allowable liquid amounts for the duration of the trip. I triple check the epi-pens and clean and shine the medical alert bracelet. We visit the doctor and make sure that applicable letters are up to date.

And as I prepare for our next trip, I'm trying to order customized silicone allergy alert wristbands in other languages, as an added layer of protection. This is going to be our first international trip with my son post-weaning, so it is going to be a learning experience for me. No more nursing to ease the discomfort, calm him down or put him to sleep. I'm still researching and trying to figure out other ways to make traveling as simple as possible. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes, and I'll definitely share my experience.