Last April, we did a prick test and a patch test for my daughter's allergies. The patch test came back without huge reactions to anything, according to the nurse. However, in my eyes, they were reactions and so I followed the results. Hence, we were able to introduce a few new foods and took away a few other foods. The foods we took away were ones I was suspicious of anyway so it just confirmed my suspicions.
The prick test was done for nuts and shellfish. I was worried about an anaphylactic reaction for these foods so the doctor did the test. The only response was a tiny reaction to cashews. The nurse noticed it and poo-pooed it because it was so small. I really didn't think much about it because, at the time, I was more interested in introducing other foods first.
Fast forward 10 months. I decided to start eating cashews because of health benefits. She asked to try some so I said "sure." She liked them and had them daily for about 5 days. And then she stopped wanting to eat. Anything. And so the allergic reaction began.
Here's her standard allergic reaction (when it's an esophageal allergy): arguing about eating; not eating; large trucker burps; coughing; going to sleep, waking up about 3 hours later very hot, and vomiting from her toes; eating nothing for two days; needing to be coaxed into eating for three days using any means possible; over-coming the psychological fear of eating.
That whole process takes us about 8 days. It's exhausting. Every parenting rule we have has to be thrown out the window:
1. Don't watch tv all day: Actually, if your child won't eat, you don't want her expending ANY energy because it will result in a massive blood sugar issue so watching tv is actually a good option.
2. Don't bribe with chocolate chips: Chocolate chips were served with EVERYTHING for three days.
3. Don't hand feed a four-year-old: Actually, she won't feed herself because she's afraid to eat so the only way it will happen is if you distract her and feed her.
4. Don't distract you child with the computer to get her to eat: To get over the psychological damage of the attack, she had to be distracted from the food she was eating. While she played computer games (just watching a video wasn't enough), I fed her tiny bites of crunchy foods.
(No, she doesn't wear glasses. They were an old pair of mine without the lenses.)
I share this information for two reasons:
1. If your friends/family member has a child with digestive issues, be compassionate. Check in occasionally to see what "safe" foods you can keep in stock at your house to make a play-date a little less stressful for that parent.
2. Try hard not to judge the parenting choices of others. If you were to come in town after or during one of these attacks, you would be appalled at how I nourish my daughter. You'd probably make judgements about my parenting and likely try to make suggestions to guide me into making, as you perceive them, better choices. Seeing my parenting in this little glimpse of time would lead you to make judgements about my overall parenting, but my parenting is very different at all other times. So I ask all of us to be cautious in making judgements about others because we really don't know what they're going through at the time you see them.