I used to think most allergies were a joke. I used to cringe when people wouldn’t let their kids eat something because they got a little rash around their mouth, a few patches of eczema, or a stomachache. I would think, just give it to them and their body will get used to it or stop babying them so much. I just didn’t get it. I thought it was a huge inconvenience for everyone else around them.
It’s kind of like how before someone has kids, they can be quick to judge.
I was the mom who easily judged others, and now I have become that “allergy mom.” I am the mom to a young boy who has food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). He is a 2 and a half year old who can only eat 20 foods.
I am the mom whose kid will not be able to eat most snacks other kids bring to school.
I am the mom who freaks out when another kid spills Goldfish crackers all over the playground.
The mom who dreads going to any social gathering with food.
I am the mom whose child can’t eat at most restaurants.
The mom who has to bring her son’s safe food everywhere we go.
I am the mom whose child is the reason other kids will have to bring fresh fruit or store-bought snacks to school that have all the ingredients listed.
And the other parents – they don’t get it.
They don’t understand, and people might start to think that anything to do with my child’s allergies is a hassle. Until one day, you are the “allergy mom.”
And just like that, life changes.
You start to see from different eyes. I am that mom whose kid will go trick-or-treating with his brothers and sisters and not be able to eat the candy. There may be tears, and there may be tantrums. And we will get a lot of looks. Very few will understand and most will think it’s an annoyance to have a different treat option for those kids who can’t eat candy.
So I ask anyone that is giving out candy this year, and in the years to follow, to consider having a non-food treat for kids with allergies or intolerances and be a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project.
A small amount of kindness and empathy towards kids with allergies means more than you will ever know.
We know we can “just keep him home” and not allow him to trick-or-treat with his siblings.
We don’t expect the world to bend over backwards for him, but we do believe in kindness and empathy.
We have a passion for all kids with allergies to enjoy Halloween just like every other child.
It is my wish this year, that thousands of children with allergies all over the nation can find a few houses that make them smile. Please join the Teal Pumpkin Project and make your home on the other end of that smile.