Look. I know you think that I should know all of this by now—and I do. Yet, I don’t. And it’s all so stinking hard at times.
My son loves bacon.
I know. Bacon is not healthy for you (no matter what). But I have seen the hilarious post on Facebook that says to live a life without bacon is not to live at all.
My son feels this way.
And he eats so stinking little, anyway, that I am actually happy he likes bacon.
Yes, I can cook.
And my husband is a master chef (not really—he is a pastor and founder)…but he is a darn fine cook on the side.
But my son is 3. He has allergies. And he likes bacon.
So, we give our child bacon. Not every day (although sometimes it seems that way 😉 )…but enough.
Problem. Our store ran out of the normal bacon that they usually have—so I grabbed the smoked bacon.
Now. Let’s pause a minute and go backwards to yesterday. Yesterday, my husband returned from Taiwan where he had surgery on his knee. Upon arrival, he presented the children with their super sweet gifts—
Which included some sweets from the Jelly Belly Store—rock candy!
Now, after the first bite, we deduced that the rock candy was chocolate centered. So, we went to the official Jelly Belly site to look at the ingredients. We noticed on the site they had retired their peanut jelly beans to make room for new flavors—
And their jelly beans are all dairy free.
We didn’t find anything about chocolate on the site.
BUT—we went ahead and did the stupid thing, anyway…
We said, “Okay, Maxie. These are special chocolate rocks. If they begin to give you owies, let mommy know right away.”
You MORON! You may say–Yes. You are more than right. We are foolishly morons WAY too often, it appears. Parenting is HARD!
To be fair, we were thinking of all of the chocolate out there that does not have milk, and since we couldn’t find any information on the official Jelly Belly site, we decided, Max can let us know.
BOY—he let us know.
THIS CANDY IS BURNING ME, MOMMY! THIS CANDY IS BURNING ME!
Sure enough, his face was breaking out in horrible hives, his chest turning red, and he kept trying to get whatever devil off of his tongue.
We ran him to the bathroom and immediately had him brush his teeth and rinse his mouth with water—just to try and get all remnants out.
Then we did the inhaler. Twice.
Then we ran to the Claritin and gave him 10ml.
Then we got the water rag and cooled his face and chest with it.
Then we made him crushed ice to finally soothe the burn.
It was horrible. And I felt like simultaneously puking and crying.
I also feel like cussing, but I shall bite my tongue.
In the end, I kicked myself. I know not to give him food that I am not certain of—but this was a special treat. A special treat that I did research—but still caved, knowing a lot of chocolate is made with a soy base (like chocolate chips).
This is the failing life of the allergy mom.
I am she.
And it’s okay. I will fail again. And again. And again. Because there is not a perfect world.
But, next time I fail, it will be on accident—because it’s time I stick to the fact that I MUST KNOW.
I must know what is in it before he ingests it.
I preach this.
And I pretty much live this—like 99.8% of the time.
Seriously. 99.9% of the time, truth be told.
But it is that .01 or .02% of the time when we throw just a small little piece of minute sand into the wind that it smacks us back in the face—stinging our eyes and making us miserable.
That was us. Yesterday.
Miserable. Our poor boy…BURNING! I felt horrible. As I should have.
We apologized. We were sorry. He was forgiving.
The problem is—we were also fortunate…Or, you may say, lucky.
And that brings me back to today.
Today I got out the package of bacon to make him as a part of his breakfast. He was so excited (and probably pretty starved since he didn’t eat so much yesterday after his burning incident)…
And that’s when my stomach said—read the ingredients carefully just to be safe.
Please also understand—I live in a foreign country. And, although I understand a huge portion, it is really hard to read in a foreign language—especially food-related vocabulary.
I mean, honestly, do you even understand all of the ingredients in English????
Well, it’s a good thing that I checked the smoked bacon (we do not usually buy any meat with flavoring for the reason I am about to state)…
The bacon was smoked with soy, milk, and pistachio.
Milk and pistachio. Not okay.
Smoked bacon—apparently this particular package SO NOT OKAY.
He cried and cried and cried when I told him there would be no bacon for breakfast.
To be honest, I felt his pain. I cry the same way when someone tells me there is no coffee for breakfast.
Of course, I am being facetious — no coffee for mommy is not the same sadness as just ANOTHER food that Max cannot eat.
When your child is finally excited about something and then that something is stripped away…it’s sad.
It’s just food. A piece of bacon. Geesh! You may be thinking.
No. It’s not just food. It’s not just bacon.
It’s his LIFE.
His walking. Talking. Breathing. Burning. Life or death—Way.Of.Life.
And it’s really hard.
He’s only 3 years old and he already understands HOW OWIE it is.
The other day, an unsuspecting friend offered him a piece of food and he literally shrunk away in fear from her proffering.
So, no. It’s not just food.
He understands the pain associated with food. He understands the hurt.
So, it is NEVER just about food.
It is about a child that has to battle every day with very harmful substances in the world that hurt him if he is not the most cautious toddler in the world.
And, therefore, misses eating even his most favorite food.
Which brings me to the fact that sometimes, just sometimes, the best thing I can do for him is just hold him and let him cry.
That. And DOUBLE CHECK ALL FOODS and never serve him food assuming ever again.
I wish I could write: The End…
But I know each day it is merely The Beginning of a new day for a new start to a new caution.
So, Allergy Parents, don’t be like me…But also—please hear me. Double check all food, including bacon, and never give even the slightest sliver of a treat—because it just isn’t worth it.
What other advice might you have for others out there like me—or for me??? We’re all in this together!