Thursday, February 28, 2008

Birthday Girls, Dreams for the Future

Yesterday was my oldest daughter A's birthday (on the left). She turned 8! Last week, my youngest, Z. turned 5. Yes, February is a big month in our family. Happy Birthday(s) my little ladies!

It got me thinking about how far I've come in terms of understanding nut allergies. I'd heard of them before my daughter's diagnosis, but did not think we were at risk.

It's scary to hear that the child you thought was perfect has a serious medical condition, especially when it relates to a common food that most kids love. It sounds like a joke, actually. Remember that game, "Frogger?." (Now I'm dating myself.) The frog has to dash through a ridiculously busy street without getting squashed. It's harder than it looks.

That's what parenting a child with severe food allergies feels like sometimes. You're constantly dodging through traffic, in my case peanut butter and all its incarnations.

In the 4 years since we learned of our daughter's allergies, a lot of progress has been made, both medically and in society's acceptance of food allergies. That's wonderful. Sadly, more and more children are being diagnosed.

In the midst of the fun and activity, I thought about the other children being born on my daughter's birthday. How many of them would share her allergies? My future hope is that someday there is a cure. My other hope is that food-allergic kids and their families get the support and compassion they need.

In the meantime, you know what? I was always pretty good at "Frogger."


Anonymous said...

I commented on your restaurant part II and I didn't know if you went back to see. I just wanted you to know there is a good option for a restaurant at the Children's museum in GLenview. :) Good luck with transferring to a new school. Where will you be moving?

Jenny said...

Hi Amy,

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your input!

Yes, I did see that about the Kohl's Children's Museum but have been out of the house a lot lately and unable to blog. :) We've been there several times--my kids love it-- and were really pleasantly surprised by that restaurant. Obviously you worry about kids transferring food matter onto the "hands-on" exhibits at a kids' museum so this place is a great option for families like ours.

Thanks for reminding me about it--in fact, I think that place deserves a blog entry of its own. It's unique as far as I know in regard to their peanut-free policy.

In answer to your other question, we are moving to the Western suburbs of Chicago, hopefully soon! We are already scoping out food allergy policies in preparation for the move.

Thanks again for your contribution!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

I didn't know how to contact you other than leaving a comment. I am the mother of two children with life-threatening allergies to peanuts. With support from the Food Allergy Initiative, I have designed a set of flashcards to teach children and those who provide care for them how to stay safe with peanut and tree nut allergies. These cards teach children, their extended families, friends, coaches, camp councilors’, schools, and childcare providers learn that staying safe with nut allergies goes beyond nut products. Below is a testimonial from an allergist.

“Peanut allergy can be a dangerous and even life threatening condition. Children of caring and careful parents continue to experience inadvertent peanut exposure. "Beyond a Peanut" is a well thought out user friendly series of flash cards that assist parents and their children in navigating the daunting waters of peanut avoidance”. Robert P Harvey, MD Allergist, Allergy Asthma Colorado - Englewood CO

As a parent of children with nut allergies you know that we will read a myriad of books, articles and participate in on line discussion boards. Individuals that are not living with the allergy can not be expected to do the same. “Beyond a Peanut” – Allergy Flashcards incorporates comprehensive safety information, and delivers it in an easy to learn format. The flashcards introduce cross contamination, the importance of label reading and always carrying emergency medication. This education generates a greater understanding of the safety challenges around the allergy, and why vigilance is necessary to create a safe environment.

While many of these flashcards are specific to nut allergies, they have proven to raise the awareness and understanding of all food allergies. I am interested in learning how to share this new resource on your blog.

You can learn more about the flashcards at These flashcards fill an important niche in teaching the principles necessary to provide a safe environment for children with food allergies. I look forward to your feedback and learning how I might be able to be added to your list of resources. Thank you.