Yesterday I was talking to a woman at church who has a son William's age. She was trying to convince some of us to take home a batch of banana nut muffins because her son is allergic to peanuts. He had two episodes where he broke out into severe hives and got all swollen up when coming into accidental contact with nuts, and the resulting allergy tests confirmed it. She has to carry around an epi pen in case anything ever happens again.
Yikes. Thank God William doesn't have any food allergies. That we know of, anyway. Do you know how many things have nuts or "traces of nuts" in them? It's insane. We bought a big bag of dried blueberries at Costco, and written in menacing type on the bag of the back was "May contain nuts or nut products." Dried blueberries! It never even would have occurred to me that I'd need to keep a child away from dried blueberries for food-allergy reasons.
We have a no-nuts policy here at our house until William turns three. David says that the literature suggests a link between several autoimmune conditions--eczema and asthma and some food allergies--so it's better to just be proactive about it and limit his diet until then. And William has mild asthma and mild eczema, so the possibility of also having a food allergy is very real. But neither of us have any family history of food allergies, including tree nut allergies, and we've both speculated that William has come into contact with or accidentally eaten nuts in the past anyway. So at this point, it's mostly just a "better safe than sorry" policy. His school has a "no nuts" policy, too, so it's just as easy to keep all aspects of his life officially nut-free.
Still. I always ask about nuts when people offer him food. And I don't even bother to buy things or make things with nuts in them. It's just not worth the hassle of trying to keep them away from William. If he saw me eating, say, almonds or peanuts or banana nut muffins, he would want some too. That's how it always goes. But David realized about eight months ago that Chick-Fil-A fries its food in peanut oil, and well, we all know how I feel about Chick-Fil-A so it almost goes without saying that William has eaten there pretty regularly since we moved to Nashville. And he's eaten other foods that we only belatedly realized may have contained "traces of nuts or nut products."
So I can't wait for the day when William turns three and we can (hopefully) be a little less cautious. I cant' wait 'til I can finally start giving him peanut butter crackers. They're so easy to carry around. And honestly, I would be sad if my son missed out on peanut-butter sandwiches. I think that, done right, a PBJ or PBB (peanut butter with banana) is one of the great small joys in life. You know, really good whole-wheat bread lightly toasted, some thick blackberry jelly or preserves, a nice chunky layer of crunchy peanut butter. Mmmm. Strawberry preserves would be okay, too. And if I really had to, I'd settle for creamy peanut butter. Ah. Sometimes, that just hits the spot like almost nothing else.
In fact, I may have to go fix myself one now. William's napping. It's okay.