I’ve been trying to type a post about life with food allergies that wasn’t super Debbie Downer, circa Saturday Night Live all month. Today is the 30th & this post is due October 1st. The truth is life with food allergies stinks. Being the parent of a child with life-threatening food allergies is terrifying, sad & often times isolating. Womp Womp. An easy, carefree childhood flew out the window the day our skin test showed positive to peanuts, tree nuts & eggs for our nine-month-old twins. No spontaneous froyo dates or Saturday morning donut runs. Play cafes, restaurants & even family members homes became something we choose to avoid rather than attempting to explain the fear of cross-contamination or the early symptoms of anaphylaxis.
As allergy kiddos get older they face even more chances of exclusion. The sleepover & birthday party invites don’t come. Maybe they’re sitting at the peanut free table, labeled as different or weird. Maybe they get chased on the playground with a package of peanut butter crackers because a kid wanted to see what would really happen if they ate peanut butter. Holidays? Those are the worst. Awkward and depressing not being able to partake in yet another cookie decorating, class party or Trick or Treat nite.
Look at all this food I can’t eat.
This is where The Teal Pumpkin Project comes in!!!! The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) created the Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of ALL trick or treaters. Instead of families with food allergies dreading Trick or Treat you can help us have a magical nite! It’s so EASY!!! Grab a teal pumpkin from Michael’s or Target to put in your yard or on your porch. Stock up on some non-food trick or treat goodies! And THAT’S IT!! You just made every parent with a food allergy child cry and want to be your best friend. If you’re inclined you can even add your home to the Teal Pumpkin map or print a cute little sign.
On one of my allergy support Facebook pages (yep, I spend hours there) I read this amazing essay about a boy who was in a terrible accident. He came back to school with severe disabilities. Instead of shunning him or acting like he was a burden, the whole community learned how to care for him. The adults taught the children to befriend him and keep him safe. They made special accommodations at their homes so he could experience sleepovers and playdates. The community rallied around him and his family for this simple fact, we belong to each other. Children with life-threatening food allergies belong to all of us! Find a food allergy family and ask the parents how can safely include their child in a playdate. If you coach a team use www.snacksafely.com to send out a list of allergy safe, after practice snacks!!! Show your littles the Daniel Tiger allergy episode and talk to them about how their friends might not be able to eat what they eat. Support The Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween!!!!