One thing about living with FPIES (and MSPI, Fructose Malabsorption, and IgE allergies), is that often your kids don’t really get to BE kids.
Either you can’t go to things that most kids do, like playdates, parties, and activities, or they wind up so restricted by all the food concerns that no one really has much fun.
It’s sad, but it’s the reality of living with such food issues.
So when a weekend like our Easter weekend happens, where we got to see our kids really live it up and act like kids, well, my heart was just overflowing with joy!
It started on Friday night. My Mom called me to say that she and Daddy were buying fish for their pond, and wouldn’t it be fun for the boys to see them stock the pond with fish?
It DID sound like something the boys would enjoy, so we decided to head over to my parents house bright and early Saturday morning.
We met up with my folks at the Farmer’s Market in the nearest small town, where we ran into a friend of ours who was selling fresh eggs. She’s one of the FPIES Angels I mentioned, who contributed mightily to helping us enclose our porch. She also has a son who is 6 months younger than Jed, and whenever they get together, they have tremendous fun!
So we got to see Jed and Zac play with their friend while we chatted and caught up a bit.
The day was getting warmer, though, and it was time to get those fish in the pond before they died from the heat. Off we went to my parents house.
The kiddos were SO amused watching PopPop pour the fish into the pond!
Later on my Dad, who has a great sense of humor, told Jed that he could “call” for the fish. Next thing I knew, both boys were laying on the pier and Jed was screaming out “Here, Fishy Fishy!” at the top of his lungs!
Dad and I just laughed, knowing that every fish in the pond was on the far side, swimming for their lives from the noise of my kiddos!
There was some decent wind that day, so we decided to fly a kite.
This is the first time either of my kids have ever had a chance to fly a kite, and they LOVED it!
Sadly, the wind wasn’t consistent and kept dying out. Eventually we gave up and went inside. It was naptime for Zac, anyway.
PopPop and Jed took that opportunity to clean out the chicken coop and the duck house. I didn’t get to witness much of that since I was putting Zac down for a nap, but apparently Jed worked his little tushie off for PopPop!
He shoveled, scooped, hauled, and was a huge helper! (Which makes me wonder: why he can’t be that kind of helper at home for me?)
One side effect of working so hard in a small space is that you get really hot and sweaty. Jed’s solution? Strip naked, of course!
Before we knew it, he was streaking around the farm. We were all laughing too hard to stop him for the longest time.
Yes, he even wanted to go for a ride in the trailer sans clothes. Eventually we got him dressed.
Once clothed, he couldn’t wait to show me what he and PopPop had found: tadpoles in the pond!
Believe it or not, this is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen tadpoles, either. It was really cool! (What can I say? I am a born and raised city girl!)
When Zac woke up, he wanted to go fishing with the crab net. Somehow, PopPop convinced the boys that you could fish with the net. Now they fight over it every time we go there!
The boys had a great time that day. They each were able to eat safe foods for them at every meal, thanks to me packing an ice chest full of options to take with us. Most importantly, though, they got to play – and play hard!
Sunday was Easter morning, of course, and Darrel and I elected to skip the sunrise service and just attend regular church. It’s too hard to get up and going that early in the morning with our need to cook three different breakfasts.
After breakfast, we all got dolled up and headed off for church at the regular time. We were in the service for a whopping 45 seconds before Zac began acting up so much I had to take him out!
He really liked the choir, you see, and decided to run up there and join them! I couldn’t keep him away without screaming fits!
So he and I went to the nursery to hang out, and not long after we arrived, my mother-in-law came to tell me that Jed had gone with the other kids to do an Easter egg hunt. She thought they only had stickers and little toys in the eggs, so I felt a lot more relaxed about it.
A few minutes later, Darrel came in to say that Zac could go participate, too. So we headed over to the rec building and oh-my-goodness! The boys couldn’t have had more fun if we’d taken them to DisneyWorld!
They scored BIG on the egg hunt – apparently Jed is quite the egg hunter!
Sadly, they did actually have candy in the eggs, but before I even arrived they had found a solution. One of the teens from church was sitting with Jed, opening each egg and removing the candy. He was happily handing it over to her – for Jed, the big WOW factor of the plastic eggs was the plastic eggs themselves! He LOVES those things!
Zac had missed the egg hunt, but he had a great time anyway.
We soon realized that Zac is just as friendly as his big brother. He kept hugging kids!
These were children he’d never seen before in his life. They’re all just very sweet!
It was wonderful to see. Zac hasn’t had very many opportunities to be around other kids yet, and I wondered how he would behave when given the opportunity. Turns out, he’s just as big a flirt and social butterfly as Jed.
Mama felt a lot better about her Food Allergic Kiddos socialization skills!
Later he got to go outside with Daddy to play with the other kids, and he looked so stinkin’ cute!
Jed and I went into an unused classroom and played with Play-Doh. Turns out, Jed LOVES Play-Doh, and was quite happy to sit and smush it out for much longer than we allowed him! Apparently I need to find a safe Play-Doh recipe for the kiddos now.
Later, we tried to take some photos together. It’s not often my little boys are dressed so smartly and we’re all put together so well, after all!
The family photo attempt was pretty much a fail, since the boys both wanted to get down and play.
But I got these priceless photos of me and Jed:
Oh, my heart is melting!
After church, we headed home for supplies and a quick Easter Egg hunt in our own backyard…
I made a fresh ham for me and Zac (uncured, just the cut of meat) and the rest of the family had a feast that was fit for a FructMal, MSPI, and IgE to eggs little boy. Jed was able to eat everything on the table! It was so nice!
Then it was time to play.
The boys chased balls around the yard for hours. They played with some old toy farm vehicles my Uncle used to play with as a boy and passed down to them.
They went back to scare the fish at the pond. They chased ducks and chickens. Jed painted his new egg from his Easter basket (with Grandma’s help, of course!).
Then he watered Grandma’s plants for her.
He had so much fun watering the plants that he kept refilling his tiny watering can and watered almost their whole garden!
Then PopPop took him for a ride in the wheelbarrow.
THAT was lots of fun!
Of course, both boys drank their goat milk and I even made them both goat milk ice cream on Sunday afternoon.
Somewhere along the way, Darrel took this picture of Jed that just melts me:
Sigh. It was such a nice weekend!
So rarely do I get to see the kids just run around like regular kids, flying kites, playing in the dirt, chasing chickens, doing arts and crafts, hugging other kids. This weekend was like a breath of fresh “normality” in our lives, and it was something that *I* desperately needed.
I’m so grateful for the people who made this weekend possible. My parents are always so helpful with the boys, but the folks at church made a non-issue out of something that could have been a big issue for us. I appreciate that more than they will probably ever know.
This truly was a fabulous, fun-filled Easter weekend for us. I hope I get the chance to see my boys in action this way again soon!