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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:52 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Pembroke, Ontario
I have a soon to be 3 yr old daughter who is PA. We have tried very hard to educate her about her allergy. When giving her food, we say no nuts for Kirsten! We have explained to her over and over again, not to eat anything without asking mommy and daddy. As well, we have read books to her and showed her the Alexander the Elephant can't eat peanuts video. When we put the movie on, she turns off the tv. She would take food from anybody, continues to pick food off the floor and pop it into her mouth, drinks out of her siblings cups, eats off their plates and uses their cutlery. We have explained to her each time, that there could be peanuts in the food or her siblings could have had something with nuts in it (they don't, but as they get older this could become a concern) and she just laughs at us and continues to do it. When we talk about the epipen and show it to her, she says "that's scary". I could go on and on, however, am I expecting too much from her? Does anyone have any suggestions that I could try? It is so hard and stressful to take her out anywhere where there is food. Help!!!!!
Karen


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Ontario
Karen,

I don't think you're expecting too much from her. I feel for you and don't really have any other recommendations for you. My daughter is 2.5 yrs and we do similar things. Although she loves all of her Alexander the Elephant books. She also has a medic-alert bracelet and I've let her "play" with her Epi-pen. (I've just ordered the trainer). When I say play - I just mean I've let her carry it around the house with her in the container.

Whenever we leave I usually ask what we need to bring and she'll respond "Epi-pen" And whenever she's in the mood we do little drills that includes how old she is, what's her name (full name), what's her braclet mean, what is she allergic to, what does she do if someone offers her food, what happens if she accidently eats food with peanuts or sesame in them, what do we have to do if she gets sick. Depending on her mood and how long she's willilng to play we get through different questions. I think we're a bit lucky, if you want to call it that, because she probably remembers her last reaction. I also take her grocery shopping and will try to point out the packages of safe food vs food that doesn't look familar and she can't have. Today while grocery shopping too I was casually asking her what kinds of food she could eat - Can you eat goldfish crackers? Can you eat a peanut butter sandwich, etc. Mind you - if you read one of my other posts, she says all the right answers but if someone offers her food she'll take it. I think it's just a matter of time and allowing her to be in situations where stuff like that does happen, but to be sure that I"m within arms reach to catch it and explain what needs to be done in those situations.

At times I have to remind myself that she's ONLY 2.5yrs. But other times I think - she's 2.5yrs - she can understand this to a certain degree.

I hope someone on this board has some good suggestions for you. I know it can be so frustrating. Good luck.

_________________
4ye old DD allergic to sesame, peanut, raw egg , and mulitple environmental & seasonal allergies

2 yr old DS -no known allergies!


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Hmmm. My first thought was: That must be really tough. I've been pretty lucky with my kids getting it and/or towing the party line with regards to keeping them safe. I guess my youngest (now 5 1/2) "gets it" so well because he remembers his last anaphylactic reaction, when he was just barely 2 years old. His older brother does too. It wasn't pretty.

My second thought was: could this be a form of toddler denial? Has she ever reacted to peanuts? Or was whatever led you to the allergist for testing fairly minor, so she really doesn't understand how bad it could be? Which is pretty normal, if you think about it -- a lot of adults don't understand just how bad an allergic reaction can be.

I wish I had some good suggestions. I don't think she's too young to understand, personally, but it seems like something is "blocking" her from getting it and complying. What would you do if she were defying other safety rules, like running out into the street or touching hot stoves, etc.? Maybe that's one way to go. Tel her that these are safety rules that must be followed and if she doesn't comply, there will be consequences. (And I don't mean consequences as in a reaction -- I mean consequences that she won't like, such as missing stories at bedtime or stuff like that.)

I guess another route to try is some kind of reward/sticker system. For every time she complies with allergy safety rules, she gets a sticker. Would that kind of thing work? (I know some kids love that kind of thing, while others couldn't care less.)

Wish I were more help!

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
We were "fortunate" in that her asthma had caused enough problems that she remembered hospital visits. They were often lengthy but more boring for her than scary. Thank you CHEO!
I would tell our daughter that if she ate anything that had the allergen in it she woud get very sick and have to go to the hospital which is boring.
We would play house/tea party and I would have the food allergy. She aways played the tricky person who tried to feed me the dangerous foods or the uninformed person who I had to explain things to.
In this way she got to act out her fears and I provided the words and phrases she needed.
Can you not try so hard but keep it casual and matter of fact just like it's raining so we need our boots?

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 12:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
*Luckily* my oldest had her only reaction when she was just 3. She remembers it well. My youngest is just 3 now and does not remember any reactions. She is not as compliant as my oldest was (probably since she can not recall a reaction). She does not "get it" yet...but a LOT of maturing happens between 3 and 3 1/2 and 4. I am sure that her understanding will come with time. She is still young enough to run into the road if she was unsupervised...even though she knows it is dangerous. I am sure that she will know not to run into the road in the next 6 - 12 months or so. Keep on it with the stories...it will come with a bit more maturity.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Kirsten's mom,

My 4 yr old son has never had an extreme reaction. Although he has broken out in hives. Just seeing those reactions has really helped him understand. He is very aware and is extremely cautious.

My advice would be to just relax and not make a big deal about it. Kids are great at knowing and feeling their parents stresses and really like to play on it. I think that once you stop making it such an issue she may just start to "get it" and probably start to ask "you" more questions. (We actually go for days without discussing allergies)

I would bring it up if we were out and someone offered him a cookie. I would crouch down to his level and ask him if he would like one. If he says "yes". Then I would ask him "Should we read the ingredients and make sure there are no peanuts and treenuts?"
That way it seems more like he has made the decision.and at the same time I'm teaching him what to do.

I find that kids really learn by example and by thinking they are the ones in charge.

I'm sure your doing a great job. Just relax a bit around her. One day I'm sure she will surprise you with how much she really does understand.

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Sil


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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 8:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:52 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Pembroke, Ontario
Thanks everyone for the replies. You have gave me some great ideas to try and I most certainly am going to try some of them. Kirsten has never had a serious reaction! We stumbled on her allergy as the allergist was retesting her for a soy sensitivity. I guess they automatically check now for the top allergens. Thank god they do! She had a 2mm wheal and her rast was 2.5. Dr. Ham Pong feels she may outgrow this allergy and if there are no changes after he tests her in June 2007, he wants to do a food challenge with her before she starts school. :shock: She has had several hive reactions but none that I could definitely pin down to peanuts 100%.
Again, thanks for your support! Merci!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Ontario
I hope you don't mind that I tag along on your thread - I thought it was somewhat related and didn't want to start a new post.

We've been doing our best to educate our DD about her allergies. She's recently started adding peanut butter in her imaginative play and I have no idea what to do. Do I let her continue or should I try to put a stop to it?

By that I mean she does things like take a stack of lego and say "this is my peanut butter" :shock: The first time I heard this my jaw must have dropped. I tried asking her if it was hers and she said yes. And asked her what would happen if she ate it and she told me she'd get sick and need her epipen, etc. But she does the same thing with chocolate. She hates chocolate. But when we're having a pretend tea party she'll often serve me a chocolate bagel. Should I just roll with it and not draw attention to it? I worry that if I continue to draw attention to it she'll continue to use it or get & give mixed messages about her alleriges to others. I don't know how other people feel but when I hear the word peanut or sesame it's like hearing a swear word when it's infront of my DD.

_________________
4ye old DD allergic to sesame, peanut, raw egg , and mulitple environmental & seasonal allergies

2 yr old DS -no known allergies!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
My son has also started doing something similar...at times he'll insist that he *doesn't* have a peanut allergy. I think it's usually when there is something that he's not able to eat or there's something he feels he's missing out on. When I explore further with him, I think it's more about being *bummed out* that he's got to miss out or is different in some way. My feeling is that it's part of the process of his accepting or coming to terms with living with a food allergy. Because he's now at an age where he's starting to feel the impact of what it means to live with a LTA. Just today, when he didn't want to share his drink with his aunt, I explained to her that it's probably because we've explained to him that we don't share our drinks because we don't know if that person has eaten peanuts (even though auntie never eats peanuts or nuts when she visits)....and then he pipes in "but mommy, let's *pretend* auntie has eaten peanuts..." :roll: How I handle it is to discuss the situation with him as it comes up, reaffirm his allergy/precautions, but I don't make a big deal about it. I think it too will pass -- and because my son can be quite the character, I think he does it partly to see what kind of reaction he'll get...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
I agree with the previous poster. I think it's a mixture of getting a reaction from the parent as well as working through their feelings about the food allergens.
I wonder if this is how Ring Around the Rosie first started. It is said that it was developed from children playing during the plague. I'll bet that was a scary time for those children.
Maybe you could play allergist to her peanutbutter and chocolate bagel?

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 323
let's start by saying that I'm not a parent.

This is just my opinion but at the age that they have, especially if they do not remember a reaction and do not see peanut butter (or other allergens) in their life, they cannot "put a face to it", so they need to play to have it be real and try to assess what it means.

Even at my age (28 ), I still need my allergens to be "real". When I go outside of my house, I deal with milk at meals, etc and I see it as part of my life. But on the other side, fish is not something I can't even come close to because of my anaphylaxis to even the smell, so I have a fear of something I cannot touch. People think I am a freak because I do have necklaces with a fish (stone and metal versions of course ;)), but to me it puts a face to it and keeps it real. So if your kid is playing with lego and calling it peanut butter but knows that it would cause a reaction, etc, it that the kid is trying to put a face to it to be able to assess.

Like the saying says "keep your friends close and your ennemies closer"... if you cannot put a face to your ennemy, it is more difficult to assess the risk.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Ontario
Thanks Mylène. You bring up a good point that I hadn't thought about. It makes a lot of sense.

We've started playing Dora's version of Candy Land and there's a space with Tico's Peanuts. At first I was horrified that I had let that slipped, but now when we play she always says "I don't like Tico's nuts. Yuck"

What I really need is to actually get her out into more social situations where people try to offer her food or others are eating around her so I can reinforce everything we've been discussing at home. I think that would help both of us become more comfortable with those real life situations.

_________________
4ye old DD allergic to sesame, peanut, raw egg , and mulitple environmental & seasonal allergies

2 yr old DS -no known allergies!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
mygirlsyd-Check out the local library for storytimes or the Early Years Centre near you for information on resource centres or playgroups.
I developed a social group after storytime with some other moms. Playgroups often have a snack time.
These are great opportunities to reinforce family rules regarding safe food handling.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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