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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:02 am
Posts: 164
Location: Winnipeg
First let me admit that I have always been a more solitary type. However, since ds was born, I have made a concerted effort to get out to socialize him with other babies, and have actually enjoyed some of the interactions with other mothers. Amongst all our challenges with ds since birth, it was nice to get to share woes about the "normal" stuff.

But now that ds is increasingly mobile (almost walking regularly) and all his friends are also mobile and eating a variety of foods, I am stressed when getting together with friends and/or attending classes. I know there will be things we just won't be able to join in for, but I hate that we're already missing things because of the allergies (milk, soy, peanut, egg).

Sometimes I find myself avoiding talking to friends even via phone or email, because I don't feel like hearing about how well their child is doing on dairy, etc. Of course I'm happy for them, but when I'm in a certain unfortunate state of mind, it feels like nothing but pain to hear that. I realize that may sound pathetic, but I don't apologize for it.
And while I want to educate friends and family about ds's allergies, sometimes I get so tired of talking about it all. After his recent anaphylactic reaction to eggs, I really shut down and didn't tell many people at first. I just didn't have the energy! And I get tired of hearing the question "well then what does he eat?".

I realize that we're not the first to have these challenges, so I'm really hoping that some of you can offer advice. Thanks in advance for your help, and thanks most of all for listening!
Marla


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
No doubt - toddler years were very difficult for so many reasons with allergies but it can be manageable. Perhaps start with a few close friends and educate them and then as your comfort level grows you can expand your social circle. Generally I always carried wipes (and I still do) with me so that after children eat I can clean their hands and mouths. Perhaps if you have friends over to visit - have safe toddler snacks available so that other unsafe snacks can be left uneaten and taken home. Meeting on neutral territory can be helpful too like a park or at the local Y - children are so busy there that they usually don't eat much and if the situation is unsafe or you are tired of talking allergy - you can slip out easier than at someone's home. Don't feel bad if you feel the need to retreat at times or avoid unsafe situations. Take your time and do what you need to do.

As for comments about what we eat - we have found many silver linings to allergies in terms of eating. Our diet is very healthy and I have learned a lot about cooking and I have learned that I really enjoy it! Today I made my own pizza crust from scratch using yeast. Prior to allergies, my husband and I ate out regularly. When I see what other children eat at school and see the line ups at McD's on the way home, I am somewhat thankful for the wake up call to our diet.

Hang in there. Some days are harder than others and it will get easier and your friends will eventully understand more.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Yeah, the toddler years can be quite difficult. My youngest is 3 so we are just getting out of the "would eat off the floor" stage. However, the reactions we have had in public have had nothing to do with what my kids stick in their mouths but have been from others who slop everywhere and do not wash their hands!!!

We had a major shift in our friends when our kids were diagnosed with allergies. Those who were willing to keep our kids safe become close friends and those "friends" who are unwilling to helpout had a way of becoming casual aquaintances.

For me, the baby phase was a time of moms getting together over snacks...but toddler years can be more about the activity since the kids are a little more involved. We have found our gymnastics club is awesome. The have classes for age 6 months and up, and the environment is free of food. We also are besfriends with another allergy family in our city who have the same allergies and our kids all hang out together safely.

Surely Calgary has a support group where you could meet other moms with allergic little ones. We are coming to Calgary in July for our summer holiday via truck and fifth wheel. We are planning on going to the Science centre, as well as a few other places. My oldest LOVED the Regina science centre when we went there and she was 2. The place was "no food allowed" in the areas outside the designated eating area. Once your son gets more active, maybe your science centre could be a good place to take him for an outing...away from kids eating snacks.

Hang in there!!! It is true that they grow up so fast...and before you know it he'll be right into outings where food is not the central focus.

_________________
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: Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I agree that it's very tough in the early years, and to be honest, I think we did live in a bit of a bubble for awhile. It was just easier.

I really had to force myself to finally send my oldest to a pre-kindergarten class when he was 4 because I was worried that he wasn't getting enough age-appropriate socialization. It was the smartest thing I'd done in a long time, and the start of a beautiful relationship with a very caring daycare. But it was scary at the start too!

Anyway, I digress... :)

If you can't find a support group in Calgary, you could maybe ask the local health clinics or allergists if you could post up a notice that says you're looking for other parents of allergic toddlers to do food-free playdates.

What about mom & tot swimming lessons? There wouldn't be food at the pool. Maybe in areas around the pool ... but you don't have to hang out there.

Hopefully others will post some more ideas too. Hang in there - it does get easier (in some ways) as they get a bit older.

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 Jun 08, 2006 6:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6490
Location: Ottawa
I agree with the previous posters.
I would add that it's natural to want to tak about your toddlers' milestones. When others talk about what foods their toddler is eating just state "how wonderful for you.", then go into detail about how your's is advancing in potty training, walking, running, talking, scribbling or whatever else your toddler is excelling at.
My goodfriends' toddler ate evrything but the stench from the diapers... :x !
Now that's a silver lining!

_________________
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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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 9:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
I can remember this stage too. My son is 3 1/2 now, so thankfully we're less (although not completely) anxious about his putting things into his mouth. When he was younger, I too struggled with trying to find a happy medium between my anxiety about his having a reaction and making sure he had time to socialize with other kids. I tried to find places and things to do that didn't involve eating or food. Going to the park (good time of year for that), play centres that had designated eating areas, library story times. I realized that even though the activities weren't food-focused, there was still potential for a reaction because of residue on people's hands / toys, etc. but gave I myself permission to attend with the knowledge that I was doing the best I could to ensure that he was safe and keeping a very watchful eye on him. It's natural to worry and to be cautious -- but I think it's also important that you don't drive yourself crazy with the "what if's". Do the best you can (that's all you can do) and trust your instinct on whether or not you feel a certain situation poses too much risk, or is something you can handle. Trust yourself to handle what comes your way, and you'll learn tonnes! I still encounter situations, and change how I choose to deal with it. As far as your friends are concerned -- surround yourself with those that understand your concerns (although they might not truly understand what your feeling), if they try and show you that they are willing to learn - that's what's important. In the end, I still think we as a family tend to be more inclined to opt out of certain things, and lean more to being "bubble-like" -- but I think that's natural. I realized that my son didn't need to attend every activity/group, etc. in order to become a happy and socialized child. Pick and choose, trust your gut, allow yourself to feel what you do -- it does get better. :)


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 Post subject: my loooong thank you!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:02 am
Posts: 164
Location: Winnipeg
Thanks to everyone for your replies. When I saw them all this morning, it felt like a big hug. Here’s one back to each of you! Now I hope I haven’t made too much of a mess in my loooong reply below. Lots of quotes, so hopefully the formatting works!

katec wrote:
Generally I always carried wipes (and I still do) with me so that after children eat I can clean their hands and mouths.


Great idea, and this gave me a little laugh, as I pictured myself dramatically swooping in on the children to clean them up after a snack. : )

katec wrote:
As for comments about what we eat - we have found many silver linings to allergies in terms of eating. Our diet is very healthy and I have learned a lot about cooking and I have learned that I really enjoy it!


This is one silver lining I’ve already found. I know how much better I feel (and look!) now that we’re eating so healthy. Losing my pregnancy weight was a snap because of eliminating all of ds’s allergens in order to breastfeed. I know that we’re instilling some great eating habits early on for our son, and this feels good.

I’m actually interested in hearing more about the pizza you make (without cheese, I’m thinking). I made some a few times, but haven’t in quite a while.

Saskmommyof2, thanks for the science centre idea. I think we’ll try that down the road. We’ve also been planning to go to the zoo, since Calgary has such a great one (that’s a plug, btw, since you’ll be touristing here soon!).

KarenOASG wrote:
I agree that it's very tough in the early years, and to be honest, I think we did live in a bit of a bubble for awhile. It was just easier.


Thank you for admitting that you did this. I like to hear that the bubble “strategy” is normal for allergic families. I really need to share this with my husband, as he’s quite concerned about both ds and I being anti-social.
I also like your idea of posting a note at the allergist’s office. I really think I’ll look into that. I think our paediatrician might be more receptive, but I’ll try both!
Hubby already takes ds to swimming, but we’ll definitely sign up for more in the summer. I LOVE the safety of a pool! (ok, so of course it has its own dangers, but not in our present context)

ethansmom wrote:
I gave myself permission to attend with the knowledge that I was doing the best I could to ensure that he was safe and keeping a very watchful eye on him.

I realized that my son didn't need to attend every activity/group, etc. in order to become a happy and socialized child.


I think I need to work on that idea of giving myself permission to attend things that might be slightly risky (i.e., anything outside our home!).

I appreciate your attitude re: your son could be happy and all even if he wasn’t involved in everything.

Thanks again to all of you for your replies. It means so much to have this virtual support network! : )

Marla


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I'm glad our responses helped, Marla. It really does make a difference to know that others have "been there and done that", doesn't it?? :)

There was a very interesting post on another forum from a mom with FA kids who felt "inadequate" because she felt she wasn't able to do all the things that her friends with kids the same age did.

A lot of the other members pointed out that we just can't do the same things or have the same lifestyle because of the various challenges we're facing and because the things we have to do to keep our kids safe take up a lot of time and energy.

So maybe the best thing is to try to not compare ourselves to others that much - especially those with fewer challenges - and just to pat ourselves on the back for doing our best with the resources that we have, give our situations.

I also find that hanging out with other allergy friends helps a lot. I still see my old friends sometimes, but to be honest, a number of my new good friends have kids with allergies. I guess that's normal, when you think about it. You tend to gravitate towards people that you have a lot in common with...!

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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