I haven’t talked about it much, yet, but my baby girl has food allergies. She is allergic to dairy, peanuts, and eggs, as of now. I had a VERY scary but brief moment yesterday, while at VBS. I was absent minded when it came to remembering that snacks are involved for the kids. I filled out my kids’ paperwork and listed Lauryn’s food allergies, but I didn’t make sure that her particular teachers were aware. I just went on to my class. I totally forgot that the kids would return to the fellowship hall for crafts and snacks. I’ve never left her unattended in a group setting where food was involved, unless I provided her meals for her, or she was in the care of our daycare provider.
When class was over, I went to the fellowship hall to retrieve the kids, and I saw all of the kids at various tables eating cookies and drinking something. My heart fell into my stomach as I slowly walked over to Lauryn’s table. I was almost too scared to look. I covered my mouth as my jaw hung down, anticipating something terrible: Lauryn eating the cookies with dairy, peanut, or egg. I saw her drinking, but didn’t notice anything right in front of her. I was TERRIFIED. What if she already ate it? I looked around, still moving in what felt like slow motion. My breathing slowed, and I noticed everyone smiling and talking. Before I could even touch Lauryn, a sweet lady, who probably saw the fear on my face, said, “We didn’t give her ANYTHING!” I almost cried. I’m emotional just typing this. How could I be so forgetful and comfortable? Oh yeah, I’m human. But it still hurts.
The kind lady, whose name I can’t even remember, told me that she remembered us from a previous youth activity, where I talked about Lauryn’s allergies. Also, the woman told me that a good friend of ours, who was present during snacks, told everyone, “Don’t feed her ANYTHING. She can have the water.” I looked over at my sister in Christ, the mother of my son’s best friend, and wanted to run and hug her. I still don’t feel that my verbal praise was enough. This could’ve been a life and death situation for Lauryn, and I had her epipens with me, instead of in her classroom.
It took me a minute to calm myself down, although I’m sure no one noticed. I just kept looking at Lauryn, sitting there, drinking her water and not phased by having to miss out on the treats. I thought about what could’ve happened; if they would’ve found me fast enough to administer her epipen. My thoughts of anxiety were interrupted as I remembered that I had a pack of gummies in my purse, and I quickly passed them to her. She only wanted her water, in an open cup, like a big girl. LOL
I’m still getting used to life as a mom of a kid with food allergies. The realization that simply eating something can kill her, is a fear that I wish I didn’t have to have. But I do. Last night was a gentle reminder that I am blessed with a community who loves and cares for my baby, but that I also need to be vigilant in sharing her needs, especially until she is able to do so for herself. I’m crying while typing this, but I’ll be ok. I’m so grateful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have stepped up to help with my kids, in any way, shape, or form.
Here’s how I can do better and feel more secure with leaving her for events and activities:
- Talk with the caregivers personally, prior to leaving her
- Prepare her own snacks and meals, just in case a snack will be shared
- Make sure that her caregivers know her Allergy Action Plan and how to use an epipen
- Go with my gut. If I don’t think that the caregiver will follow through with requests, I stay with her.
- Get her an allergy bracelet or a name-tag with bold allergy warnings
What’s your action plan for your kids with allergies? Let me know below.