When Jed turned one year old, we had a family celebration on his actual birthday and a party the following weekend.
At the family celebration, we served homemade spaghetti and garlic bread, and Darrel’s mom brought a cake for everyone (except me and Jed) to eat. At the party Darrel and I held, we had a dairy and egg free feast for Jed: safe hot dogs, chips, and homemade cakes for him to smush and us to eat.
It took effort, but it was wonderful!
Friday, Zac turned one.
There was no family celebration. There will be a joint birthday party for both boys at some point in June, but as of yet I don’t know when.
Thanks to FPIES, Zac’s birthday had to go pretty well un-celebrated.
I’ve heard other FPIES Mama’s lamenting the lack of a cake at their child’s birthday party and – while I commiserated – did not share in their sadness. I truly believed that I had accepted our fate. It’s just logic; he’s one! He won’t remember the cake, so what does it matter? Right?
Besides, I’ve gathered lots of “food-free” party ideas for the boys’ birthday party. It will still be fun! Right?
I believed that way all the way up to about 10:00 a.m. on Friday. And suddenly, sadness started creeping in to my soul.
Sadness for my son, who, while not actually able to remember his first birthday will one day look for photographic evidence of the celebratory joy over his first year and will find nothing.
Sadness for our family, for the normal things and activities so many take for granted that we cannot indulge.
Sadness for me, because I LOVE my kids and want to give them the world! And I can’t even give my son a gift wrapped in paper or a lick of the beater from making him a cake. I can’t “do” motherhood the way I always dreamt, because FPIES has made it impossible.
Sadness that even when we do have that party for the boys, Zac will not be allowed to toddle around and investigate all the new, exciting things and people in the room because the danger of an FPIES reaction is too real and too dangerous.
The birthday boy should NOT have to be physically restrained in someone’s arms during his own damn birthday party! It’s just…WRONG!
So Friday was an emotionally draining day for me.
I did my best to celebrate him as much as I could; I have a tradition to set an alarm to go off on my kiddos birth minute so I can sing them “Happy Birthday” at the exact moment they entered the world. I did that for Zac.
He loved it! He grinned and giggled and tried clapping his hands, running around the living room with glee.
At my aunt’s suggestion, I took the 1.5 ounces of breast milk I still had in the fridge and put it in a breast milk baggie in the freezer long enough to make it a slushy and fed it to him as his one and only ‘treat’.
He wasn’t as thrilled with that, though he was intrigued. Mainly he was tired and hungry, and being strapped into the high chair was NOT accomplishing his goals of Food and Sleep, so he did.not.like.it. But once the milk touched his lips, he did enjoy sucking on it a bit.
Jed saved me from a crying jag over that one by tossing all my freshly folded laundry onto the floor. It’s hard to be an emotional mess when you’re trying to prevent your toddler from re-covering the dining room floor in towels!
All day long I kissed and hugged on Zac, telling him I loved him, telling him how happy I was that he was born, how thrilled I am to be his Mama. I tried to get as much snuggle time in with him and his brother as I could.
I wish our lives were not diminished so by FPIES. Zac shouldn’t have just had his Mommy telling him how awesome it is that he was born…he should have had all our friends and family celebrating him!
Because that’s what a birthday is, after all. A celebration of the person.
I can’t celebrate my son the way I would like to because it will make him sick.
So today, I get it. I get why the other FPIES Mama’s have lamented the lack of a cake at their kiddos first birthday party.
It’s not because the child will remember it, or will not be just as happy without it.
It’s because it is yet another symbol of the normality we all desire for our children being ripped from our fingers.
And we as Mama-bear Protectors can do nothing to protect our children from the “different-ness” that is their lives. It’s another missed milestone.
And it just sucks.