My older son, Casey, was diagnosed with multiple food allergies when he was still a baby. He has learned to talk, walk, play catch, ride a bike, swim ... and he has learned how to negotiate the sometimes-scary world of food allergies.
We have talked to him about how to handle the situation if someone spills milk at the lunch table. (If any milk gets near your lunch, throw your lunch out, and we can have a big snack after school. If it's not near you, move to a safer spot.)
We have talked to him about what to do when you're with friends and they get ice cream. (If there's a safe option, you can have that. Ask your friends if they can wash their hands before you go back to playing tag.)
What about going to a sleepover? (Go after dinner and bring your own breakfast.)
Of course, we constantly review emergency medications, symptom recognition and safety.
As a mom, I wasn't sure if my lessons were sinking in.
Until this weekend, when he went to a block party around the corner.
All morning, my boys played basketball on the closed-off street with neighbors. They went down the water slide. They had a blast. Then we had to go to a family party.
As soon as we got back from the family party, my boys jumped out of the car and ran around the corner to the block party. Minutes later they came home.
While we were gone, they had an egg toss at the block party. There were broken eggs all over the street. Our basketball was lying right in the middle of this.
Casey, and his loyal brother, came right home and left the basketball. As soon as they suspected that the party was no longer safe for Casey, they came home and told us, so that we could help them. We got the basketball, washed it thoroughly with lots of soap, and let them pick a movie to take away any lingering sadness from having to miss the rest of the party.
If you ever feel like a broken record talking about safety with your kids, it's ok. You will be glad you did when they know how to keep themselves safe.
My new book, Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.