As an allergy mum life for me is very different to that of a normal mum, for those who don’t know me both me and my daughter have a large number of dietary requirements. My daughter has an egg allergy which means that we have to always ensure that we alert everyone to this wherever we go. She also has a large number on intolerances exactly the same as mine (I’m a Coeliac), Dairy, Gluten, and Soya. This means that everyday life is very different to us but also the normal mum adventures are a huge challenge. These things below may seem trivial to mums but for me they are things that I worry about, stress and panic about doing.
Ok I think all mums can agree these places are scary and hellish. The thoughts arrive will my child be squished, OMG they disappeared for 5 seconds I’ve lost them forever; the lost goes on. For me as an allergy mum I get all these thoughts plus the scary worry of an allergic reaction. I just see all the children eating everything Astrid can’t and heading over to those big giant colourful cushions of doom. I mean I’m probably taking the allergy mum to a new level of worry but that’s my job right to worry about all the things a normal mum with a normal child doesn’t think about. For these reasons Astrid has only ever been to soft play once and this was after I had assessed the area for any food crumbs, sticky residue man if I had a UV light I would have looked like a Crime Scene specialist (that college degree comes in handy at times like these). I’m sure many of you may think me irrational but one day I will be able to overcome these worries and head on over to the ball pit of doom and jump right in there with her.
The Dreaded Buffet Tables
On a few occasions we have had to suffer the dreaded tables of poison. There are so many issues surrounding this its unreal. Firstly, cross contamination unless you’re the first to the table it’s pretty much a no go unless your super lucky to have a table filled with all your allergy friendly needs, which i can say never happens unless you’ve made it yourself. Cross contamination I hear you say but I’m so careful and don’t put the spoon in another bowl, the big problem is a persons own plate you use a spoon manage to get some of your poison laced coleslaw as your piling on the allergy friendly “insert appropriate rare buffet food we can eat” back in the bowl….. Dun Dun Dun the one bowl of something we could eat is now completely unavailable. My second fear of the buffet table is darn height of the thing its so easily accessible for toddlers I mean jeez it’s the perfect height I mean my child is well trained in not eating something she’s not sure she can have but there’s that one time when you’re at a wedding and you turn into mission impossible mumma and dart across chairs leaping at a small child as they offer a vicious cake weapon to your daughter. Ok its a bit extreme but that is definitely what happened, with my whole life flashing before my eyes. Finally, my biggest issue with the buffet tables is knowing I will have to carry an excessive amount of food I then have to carry to not only cover Astrid’s needs I mean what could be better than having one incredibly intolerant human to food but as we have two; we are a newlywed/first birthday party/ family gathering nightmare.
I think we can all agree eating out with toddlers is a nightmare, the whinging, constant mummy I want something, I’m thirsty, can I play with this, no don’t touch the salt and pepper…. it is a constant effort to keep calm. So when we go out 9 times out of 10 we will go somewhere we have always been before. Take away we will head to Astrid’s favourite, McDonald’s. We will make our ridiculous requests and always at the drive thru to avoid having to stare them in the face and see them huff and puff at asking for no bun… I mean how rude of me to take something out of my meal and then they can charge me the same price for it. Do you think they can get the order right, of course not it’s far too complicated to take a bun away from one meal and a bun and cheese from another? Only just week it took two trips to the car before I had to go into the restaurant and cause a scene to actually get someone’s attention.
For sit down meals we tend to go to one of three places that we have eaten out at regularly to save any hassle or waiting around for someone to find an allergy menu or massive folder that could kill a small child. When we do venture to somewhere new I usually have to bribe Astrid with snacks from our bag and while I venture through every item on the menu ingredient by ingredient. Usually to realise there’s actually only one thing we can have and never any children’s meals suitable for Astrid which means we always have to share. Even after I have assessed the menu I then have to explain this all to the waiter and then the manager as the panic sets in on their face when I unlist all the requirements. Then the meal arrives, as we have removed so many nice things it’s always a disappointment to the taste buds.
I’m a big foodie so I always like to go food shopping I always enjoy looking at new things and the shiny packaging, I’m like a magpie drawn to cheap advertisement. For us with all our requirements food shopping takes 10 times longer than the normal family. All I can say is thank god for Tesco’s new Free fruit policy for kids it does at least keep Astrid busy for a short period of time. After we have got the free goodies we begin the painful journey around the shops checking every item for its ingredients, you may think well I only need to check new items. Nope I always check each item as companies love to change their recipe without telling you.
Then we have the cost of shopping with allergies….. I will give you a few examples of the pain we suffer (I will be doing a full blog rant on this so don’t worry should you want a long list of our pains). Bread for a normal family is say 50p for a normal average loaf, for us its £3.00 a loaf. That’s right its 6 times the cost of your loaf for half the bloody size too. Next is Milk this isn’t too bad at £1.40 for 1 litre so a 2-pint normal milk is usually about 70p so that’s double the price. Overall I think we pay at least double for every item on a normal food list. I figure our weekly shopping bill due to our allergies is at least £15 more than the normal family. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of money but in a year that’s nearly £800 extra on our food bill. I’m not trying to get a sympathy vote over here but jeez it’s so blooming expensive.
It may all seem like doom and gloom from my ranting above but there are some things about my daughter’s allergies that I love, she’s never fussy with food, she eats a lot healthier than most children and she is a real expert at doctors and hospitals. These are small wins but I will take everyone I can get.
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