Over the last month, Jed has developed a new comprehension of our “food issues”.
One night Darrel was eating a bowl of cereal before bed. Jed, of course, was fascinated and kept trying to get into Darrel’s food.
Since Darrel is the only person in the house that can drink dairy, we cautioned Jed to leave his food alone.
Before we could say anything more than “No, Jed, that’s Daddy’s food”, he said in his cute little boy voice “Daddy milk make Jed tummy hurt!”
We, of course, praised him, saying “That’s right! Daddy has his milk, and you have your milk. Very good, Jed!”
The next week, Jed was eating a popsicle on the porch and sweetly tried to force me to take a bite.
I said “No, Jed, Mommy can’t have that. I made those just for you!”
He pulled the popsicle away and said “Jed popsicle make Mommy sick!”
It was easier to just agree with him (because *I* don’t have any problems with anything that was in his popsicle) so I said “That’s right, Jed. Your popsicle isn’t good for Mommy. But they’re okay for you! I make them just for you so you can have a yummy treat!”
He smiled, took a big bite and said “Yummy Delicious!” before scampering off to his next distraction.
I’ll admit, as pleased as I am to finally be reaching the point where Jed can start to understand that some foods are okay and some foods are not, my heart broke a little each time.
It reminds me of how cautious we’ll have to be, and brings up the difficult conversations we’ll have to have with Jed over the years as we explain things to him.
At this point, we will keep things on his level. That food is “not good for Mommy” or “will make Jed’s tummy hurt”. In the future, we’ll have to talk more about the serious side of food allergies…and I don’t know how we’re going to have that conversation.
How do you convince a child who has been so carefully protected that a food will make him terribly, terribly sick – and possibly even kill him?
More importantly, how do you do it in a way that doesn’t terrify him?
He’ll hopefully have no memory of any IgE reactions; so how can we convey the seriousness of it all without scaring the poor child half to death?
I don’t know the answer to that, so I’m opening up the forum to my lovely readers:
Those of you with kids who have food allergies, how do you explain it in a non-threatening way?
(Honestly, I may not have too large a problem with this. When I had to take the car in for a tire repair, I tried to explain what was going to happen to Jed. He wasn’t getting it. Finally I said “We’re taking the car to a car doctor.” He gasped and said “Oh! Car doctor make car better!”
Isn’t it sad that at barely 3 years old he understands doctors better than he understands automobiles?
Still, that may help me along the way, don’t you think?)