Emotions of a Child with allergies!
Today my daughter had a cooking session at School - making pancakes (with syrup) and butter (to be eaten with crackers). This educational session can seems like a nightmare for a gluten sensitive child. I informed her teacher about her allergies and requested her to take precautions to avoid contamination. She very graciously agreed and took all the necessary care. I had sent gluten free pancakes and crackers from home.
My daughter came home very happy with the whole experience. She was also overjoyed that her pancakes were bigger and more in number than what the other kids got at school. She felt special in her own way.
Most kids with allergies have to often abstain themselves from everyday foods consumed by other kids. This abstinence affects them deeply at an emotional level. They can get negative feeling about themselves or their caregivers. They may even misinterpret abstinence as punishment. It's absolutely essential for parents to empathize with their children and explain to them in the best possible way that these foods work as poison and would make them sick. As parents, we want to give our children the world but with allergies, its always a challenge to replicate even the simplest of foods.
I have spent ridiculous hours in the kitchen trying to replicate making a goldfish cracker
or chocolate cookie which resembles the store bought ones. All my labor is worth it when it's rewarded with a smile and content look on my daughter's face as she enjoys it.
I feel with little planning and lot of patience we can overcome these hurdles and make our children feel as normal as can be. Before taking my child to any party or outdoor event, i usually call upon the host and discuss the meal options for my daughter and/or take along gluten free options similar to the food being served, so she doesn't feel left out.
In fact on many occasions other kids have felt jealous as they assumed she was getting something special that they couldn't have. Most of her close friends regularly enjoy her gluten free food making her feel that allergen free food is way more tastier than regular food.
On pizza day at school, she has mentioned that her gluten free pizza is tastier and easier to bite through than the pizzas served at school. She has announced to me that she would prefer to continue eating her gluten free food even after her allergies have healed.
As a mother, my most important concern is to raise a happy, healthy child. My greatest moment today was when my daughter returned home happily singing the song she learned while shaking the container to make butter at school. This song also flooded me with my childhood memories of this song and we just couldn't stop singing it together.
"We are going to Kentucky, We are going to the fair,
To see a senorita with flowers on her hair,
Shake it shake it shake it, Shake it all you can,
Shake it like a milkshake and do the best you can,
Rumble to the bottom and rumble to the top,
And turn around and turn around and till you holler stop!"