One thing is for certain when living with allergies, you have to be totally aware of everything going on around you!
You literally have to know what is going to happen, almost before it happens, so that you can stay one step ahead of the game.
It’s hard work, and a tiring, all consuming process, but one that ultimately keeps your little one safe as much as possible. Or at least it usually does!
I’ve written a post before about attending birthday parties, and how to cope with them when dealing with allergies.
You need eyes in the back of your head, especially with a fast little dude like Callum.
Callum is incredibly lucky, not only does he have me watching him wherever we go, but he also has Chloe, his fabulous big sister, who is always watching out for him! She’s simply fab!
Truth be told, she is an absolute godsend! To him, and to me!
She watches him like a hawk, tries to include him in all the party games she’s involved with, and also makes sure that he doesn’t eat anything he’s not meant to. To be fair to Callum, he’s very good, and doesn’t eat anything that I’ve not given him, but it’s incredibly reassuring to know that Chloe’s also watching to make sure he’s ok – especially if my back is turned for even just a moment.
Now, I like to think I’m fairly clued up when it comes to allergies and parties, or just going out in general. I write articles about how to cope, I coach on the top 10 things to look out for, how to deal with tricky situations, and I support other parents who’ve had bad experiences.
Well, here’s where I confess that even the best of us get caught out!
Yep, we really do!
A couple of weekends ago, we were at a party, and I had done my usual party lunch box for Callum, so that he could eat safe food.
I’d also checked out the party room, so I knew where the possible danger areas could be, and moved any dangerous foods (ie likely to cause a severe allergic reaction) out of his reach.
I even asked the parents to do an announcement to everyone in the room not to feed Callum, and the quick version of the reasons why.
I’d also made sure that the area where Callum would be sitting whilst he ate, was totally safe and had no residue on the table (a potential source of allergic reaction).
Brilliant, or so I thought. Everyone was aware of his situation, the dangerous foods were out of reach, and maybe I could actually relax a little bit after all….
Yep, that didn’t last long!
The entertainer had heard the announcement about not giving Callum ‘anything’ at all.
Sadly, it wasn’t taken on board.
Any allergy mum will tell you that you get a kind of sixth sense, you just know when you need to watch your little one closely. Thankfully my awareness radar was on full alert!
Once all the children had eaten, they went on to play party games with the entertainer. I was helping to clear up some of the party food, but then stopped and started to watch Callum closely.
Thank goodness I did!!
The entertainer had started a game of musical statues, and was tapping the ones doing well, and placing a large chocolate coin on their head.
Callum was chosen.
And had a chocolate coin placed on his head.
A chocolate coin.
A dairy filled, severe allergic reaction inducing chocolate coin…..
2 mothers either side of me, noticed my immediate sharp inhale of breath, and the rush of panic going through me.
Thankfully, Callum is very well trained by us, and so good at knowing what he can and can’t eat. I’ve never been more proud of him.
He looked at me, I shook my head to indicate ‘no’, and he came running to me straight away with his hand out, to give me the chocolate coin.
I always carry ‘safe’ sweets with me, so that he never misses out. I’m not ashamed to say, I gave him double the normal trade off, plus a big amount of cuddles!
There were no tears, no tantrums, no stamping of feet, no rage.
Just a calm acceptance.
We have always been totally honest with Callum, and as a result, he knows what makes him feel utterly rubbish, he knows what makes him sick, gives him nasty nappies, causes nasty eczema patches.
He knew to stay away.
For that, I am so incredibly proud!!
I may not have been able to prevent him from being given the contraband on this occasion, but by staying on the ball, a major crisis was averted.