Peanut Play

Dear J-

I never had to deal with food allergies besides, perhaps, a psychosomatic reaction to foods I don’t like (cantaloupe and honeydew make my throat itchy) and a refusal as an adult to eat those foods intended as punishment for kids — liver, mostly (I’ll throw the occasional brussels sprout, lima bean, and beet down for old time’s sake). There are other foods that I’ve learned to appreciate as I got older, mostly the Chinese foods I miss from growing up — really good, fresh dumplings; fermented tofu (and all kinds of tofu products); fish sauteed in ginger, green onion, garlic, and soy sauce; green onion pancakes.

Hippo'd Out 5108 -sm

As part of that upbringing, we ended up eating virtually everything edible on earth and under sea; on the other hand, figgy’s Achilles heel is food — whether refusing certain things (lately all she’ll eat is rice in one form or another) or being allergic — the egg allergy seems to be fading, but the peanut allergy, while not the same sort of life-threatening anaphylaxis for some, is as strong as ever. The trace of peanuts she had yesterday (my fault; I forgot to check the menu) raised hives and caused some swelling until we got home to ply her with Benadryl.

If you enjoy dining out — and one of you has an allergy — just like Mad-Eye Moody, it’s all about CONSTANT VIGILANCE. You have to ask every time; you carry the EpiPen around everywhere (and leave one at day care); you need to know if the peanut oil is Planter’s or not (apparently Planter’s is filtered well enough to remove all the allergens — peanut protein). At one point we’ll explain everything to her; the choices will be hers to make as we cede control — one day she’ll realize that running around without a nap is a sure recipe for crashing down later, that fighting everything only makes life difficult for difficulty’s sake, but until then it’s up to us to take up the slack on both ends. I look forward to responsibility catching up to independence.



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