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The most important spelling words for an allergic kid

Submitted by on Sunday, 15 March 2009 No Comment

allergy_wordsAllergy-wise, it’s been a disastrous weekend.

We showed up at a birthday party to see bowls of peanuts among the snacks. It freaked Big Guy out, but I’ve been trying to teach him to avoid rather than freak out. “They’re only on one table,” I said. “Just stay away from that table.”

It’s not quite that simple for him, because he’s contact allergic to peanut and would have broken out if a friend had touched a peanut and then touched him. Luckily, chips and mountains of yummy fruit lured the kids away from the peanuts.

Next, the pizza man came. To make it even worse it was the pizza man from the one place in town that will accommodate us cheerfully, except I hadn’t thought to ask if there would be pizza at a 3 p.m. party. Big Guy was forced to look on as his friends munched. I think the hostess was more upset than he was. Bad, bad Mommy.

At least I had remembered to bring his egg-free cupcakes. I had not, however, remembered to bring enough for him to share with friends for whom the appeal of sprinkles trumps the attraction of birthday cake. Bad, bad Mommy.

Next came the goody bags, and a lifetime of allergic living has taught Big Guy that he doesn’t get to dive in until an adult has examined the candy. Based on the pinata candy earlier, I figured most of it would be safe. Dye-laden but allergy safe, and I’ve started letting dye slide at parties.

As I drove, he sorted through the haul. He paused when he came to a chocolate bar. “Eat some of the others, then I’ll read the label when we get home,” I said.

“How do you spell ‘egg’ and ‘peanut’?” he asked. “I’ll look for it.”

He couldn’t find the ingredients in the tiny print so he had to wait anyway. It gave me an idea, though.

When we got home, I wrote “egg” and “peanut” on the guys’ Dry-Erase board. I could have added “garlic” and “spices,” but I figured that learning those first two would help him with the sweet items most kids are usually most concerned about at parties.

He kept glancing at the words the rest of the evening, and this morning declared that he now knew how to spell “egg.” I’m sure he’d cheated a glance at the board before making his proclamation, but it’s a start.

It still will be a few years before he’s able to make it through the long list of gibberish that is ingredient labels to find all his allergens. But if he can learn to look for “egg” and “peanut” at the end, he’ll have taken a huge step toward being able to help himself.

Meanwhile, we’re going to a rock show today. I’m hoping there aren’t any peanut fossils.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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