Part of having a kid is being excited for all their firsts. First smile. First time rolling over. First time they sleep through the night. First time they crawl. First steps. First bites of solid food. First words. There are so many firsts, and each one is a new rush of joy.
There are less fun firsts, too. First temper tantrum. First time they fall and hurt themselves. First virus. First stubbed toe. First fight with a friend. We may not like these milestones, but we expect them.
Some firsts we don’t expect.
My daughter has been battling food allergies for a while. Soy is a no. Dairy is out. Pears are a no go. Oats are the worst.
Still, lots of babies have problems with foods. They have digestive systems that aren’t mature yet, and certain things set them off more than others. And then there’s MSPI! I mean, everyone knows a kid with MSPI who grew out of it by age one.
I admit, I kind of expected to walk into the pediatrician’s office at one year old and for them to tell me to switch her over to cow’s milk. It’s all better!
That is not what happened. We went through the usual drill of questions and the exam. It was fine. Did she still use hypoallergenic formula? She did.
Then it happened: the first I wasn’t prepared for. It was a tiny slip of paper. Blue, with handwriting.
“This is a prescription for an epi-pen. You may never need it, but I’d feel better if you had it. For emergencies.”
Holding the prescription in my hand felt like a lead weight.
I have celiac disease and I’m lactose intolerant. I’m no stranger to restricted diets. I’m a firm believer that food allergies and intolerances don’t have to ruin your life. But seriously? Explain that to a toddler.
1 in 13 children under the age of 18 have food allergies. Although not all forms of food allergies are IgE mediated and cause anaphylaxis, all of them should be taken seriously.
We monitor Critter’s diet to make sure it’s healthy and balanced despite missing a few ubiquitous food items. We keep pedialyte and electrolyte Popsicles on hand for digestive reactions. And now? We have an epi-pen prescription and a skin prick test appointment.
There are a lot of firsts that we’ve seen so far. This was one I was not prepared for.