Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To the Allergy Moms

I have a confession. I have judged (silently and not-so-silently) other moms. And one group that I am particularly ashamed to say I have judged are the allergy moms. You know these moms: their kids are allergic to normal stuff. (Sometimes it is scary, like peanuts. I don't judge those moms -- that peanut allergy thing is terrifying). But the "my kid is allergic to wheat" mom, or the "my kid is gluten-free" mom, or the "my kid is allergic to raspberries" mom... I have often found myself wondering if you were a bit hyper about your kid and maybe he's really fine? Until now.

Because karma has come along and given me a big ol' bite on the booty. My adorably fat, dimple-faced 1-year old is allergic... to lots of stuff. He has broken out in terrifying hives, his face has blown up, and his eyes have swollen shut in reaction to: wiping his face with a paper towel, feeding him foods with cow's milk, feeding him raspberries, blackberries, pasta sauce, Goldfish crackers... the list goes on. And he is allergic to grass. If he plays in the grass, he breaks out in horrible welts and spikes a fever. And all of these reactions usually spawn eczema patches that he scratches relentlessly. So now I am "that" mom, asking what ingredients are in foods, putting my kid in pants when it is 102 degrees outside, having Benadryl in my car at all times.

I never thought I would be an allergy mom. We try to eat healthy, but I'll be honest. A year ago, I was NOT on the non-processed food bandwagon. I have eaten either Cheezits or Doritos or one of their first cousins every single day of my life as far as I know. I love my coffee creamer. My kids eat (gasp!) fruit snacks. (And not organic ones. They eat the Ninja Turtle and Hello Kitty ones.) But we do eat lots of fruits and veggies and healthy proteins, I promise. I don't totally suck at feeding my kids good stuff. I make my own mac-and-cheese and my own chicken nuggets (to which my kids adoringly respond by saying, "Did you make the yummy kind out of the box or that other kind? And I respond, "No, I did not make the kind out of the box that takes 5 minutes. I made the homemade kind that takes 45 minutes of Mommy's time. But thanks for the love, kids.")

But now I am an allergy mom. And I am coming at you, fellow allergy moms, with my tail between my legs, and I am saying that I am so sorry. I had no idea. I had no idea how sick your kids could get if they ate stuff they aren't supposed to. I also had no idea how much extra work you put in to keeping them healthy.

So, I am asking you, non-allergy moms, who may be inclined to judge unfairly (as I did), to think first. Think about how easy it would be for that mom to give her kid the pasta or sandwich or orange or pizza or whatever normal food it is that he can't have. And guess what else? She probably has other kids who CAN have that stuff. So she has to either say no to all of her kids or, as is the case in my house (since my son cannot tolerate dairy), he has to watch while the other kids have something he can't. And he's 1. So he's totally rational and understanding and easy to communicate with. Or the big kids have to eat in another room or at another time. Or Mommy breaks and lets him have the thing he isn't supposed to have because he is soooo upset, and then we all deal with the effects: hives, eczema flare-ups, and/or vomit.

Fellow allergy moms, I'm so sorry. Can I still get in your circle? I'll bring some dairy-free dip and homemade oatmeal bars.

And hey, 3rd kid! You're supposed to be the low-maintenance one. WTF?


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Boys and guns

You know that moment when you look over and notice that your 5-year old son has drawn a picture of a monster holding 2 guns along with an army of "minions", also ready to shoot at any enemy in their path... and you are in CHURCH? And that he drew this masterpiece in the coloring book from one of the children's bags that belongs to CHURCH?

I have blogged several times about my fears and struggles with raising a girl in this princess-centered body-image warped world. But I also have 2 boys. Yikes! And I am constantly at war (pun intended) within myself with the whole boys-love-guns thing. I don't love guns. I don't even like them. At all. And I don't have a brother, so I did not grow up with "Hi-Ya! Pow! Pow!" screaming through the rooms of my house. But I live in that world now. For being quite a book nerd and computer lover, my kindergartener is a boy. And he is fascinated with guns, violence, swords, enemies, good guys, bad guys... the whole gamut. Usually my husband handles it better than I do. He grew up playing Mortal Combat and did not turn into an adult who beheads others, so chances are, if we are the best parents we can be, and instill proper morals and values in our boys, they will also grow up to be properly functioning adults. However, for all the times he tells me "not to worry about it" when my son attempts to chop down Darth Vader in his Wii game, even Daddy found it disturbing that our little guy drew this lovely image in the church's coloring book. I think his words were: "Ummm.... buddy? Not okay in church."

We do believe in the importance of discussing violence with our kids. We are proud of our soldiers and thankful for their service. We know that violence has served a purpose and will continue to serve a purpose in many corners of our world and in many circumstances. We also teach our kids to stick up for themselves. We do not want them initiating violence, but if someone pushes them down, or pushes one of their siblings down, we give them free reign to open up a can of their best whoop-ass on that kid. We also talk about guns. We talk about how guns kill people and are not funny. This is hard as many of my son's idols (Luke Skywalker, Han Solo) use guns. "But it is okay, because they are good guys, right Mommy?" Ummmm.... ???? Are guns okay? Sometimes.... I guess??

So for all of the battles I fight for my daughter, I fight twice as many for my 2 boys. Guns scare me. Violence scares me. Teenage boys shooting up classmates in the school cafeteria scare me. But, like my daughter's love for princesses, I guess there is a certain love for guns that I have to accept in my household.

But I think next Sunday morning we may just stick to the crossword puzzles, okay little guy?