Now that I’m living the allergy mom lifestyle, I realize how hard allergy momming really is. Seriously, kudos to all of the allergy parents out there who spend every day of their lives painstakingly reading ingredient labels, preparing special foods, and packing safe snacks for daily outings. It sucks.
I’ve said before that I am fortunate because my older son’s allergies are not life-threatening. But we have decided to make a major lifestyle change””involving a temporary but complicated gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free diet to support his digestive health””to see if we can help his seasonal and food allergies, eczema, and now asthma, even a little bit. The good news is that the diet really does seem to be clearing up his skin and making his daycare-induced colds shorter. We are also using a few daily asthma medications, which are helping too.
So, everything is fine and dandy in allergy world, until someone has a birthday. And this time, that someone was my second son, who just turned one. We had his birthday party on Saturday, and I went all out as an excuse to hang out with friends that I haven’t seen in months because of my #momlife. (Hint: If you want to increase attendance at a boring child’s birthday party, all you have to do is advertise that you will have a keg.)
I made my second son a huge, chocolatey mess of a blue velvet cake for the party. He had a blast and was adorable smashing chocolate all over his face and everything within his tiny, raptor-like reach. We tried to stay on the allergy train and trick my older son by making an Elmo face ”cake” out of fruit (recommended by my mother from Pinterest).
I was feeling like I had it all together. Sure, I was an allergy mom, but I had it all figured out. My older son is only two and a half and hasn’t complained much yet about his incredibly healthy diet. I was positive that he would embrace the Elmo fruit face and stay blind to the chocolate just a few feet away from him. As with most of my smug parenting moments, I was dead wrong.
In the end, we caved and gave him a slice of chocolate cake, after he had been near perfect on his diet for over a month. I cringed on the inside because his crazy, healthy diet is all about rehabilitating his digestive health and allergies. Thankfully, one slice of chocolate cake at a birthday party didn’t make him go too crazy, and it also didn’t send him into the typical sick-spiral of a nasty cold that ends in a trip to urgent care due to pneumonia.
Allergy moms, I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: You have my utmost respect. I know that my toddler’s allergy diet is technically voluntary (though he does have several skin-related food allergies), so I was afforded the luxury of cheating on it. Some allergy parents don’t have that luxury. When their kid whines and cries because they can’t have cake at a birthday party, parents have to say no and stick with their pre-packed healthy snacks. Parents of kids with allergies have to deal with the stress of the diet and the aftermath””when their kid pitches a fit because they can’t have cake like all the other kids.
(Image: Alexey Losevich/Shutterstock)