I finally feel comfortable writing to you about this. Back when you were newly 8 months old, I gave you some peanut butter. You had it before that and were fine, but this time it was either having had it for a few times or the fact that I gave you a bit more, but you had an allergic reaction. We took you to get tested a few days later. It was not fun…we waited for almost an hour before the doctor came in to explain the test, and then it was a short few minutes to see that you had a peanut allergy…and a dairy allergy! We still don’t know about tree nuts since they are waiting to test you for that, but we were quite distressed. It didn’t help that they immediately started explaining how to use an epi pen and throwing around “and then call 911” over and over without answering our questions about your allergies.
Finally they talked to us about what we could do moving forward. We ended up switching offices for various reasons, but in the meantime we weren’t allowed to give you a lot of different kinds of food. You wouldn’t believe all the places they hide milk/butter/etc. I started making bread for you and figuring out substitutions.
When a couple months had passed, we were able to do a baked milk challenge. I had to follow their recipe using a cake mix and lots of milk and milk powder. I’m sorry the cupcakes didn’t turn out so well. I promise I can make better cake than that, but I have never been good with box mixes. You and I were in a single room for 4.5 hours. You would get a bite (or more) of cupcake and then we would wait to see if there was a reaction. I kept you entertained in the Ergo baby carrier (where you also napped) and bouncing you on my lap. You wanted to wiggle all around but were fairly happy practicing your waving and babbling. Somehow we made it through and now you are able to have dairy baked into things, as long as it isn’t a major ingredient. In fact, we have to make sure you eat it so that you can build up a tolerance. I was so excited! For your birthday I plan on making a chocolate cake. Vanilla cake would be nice but most require too much dairy and I don’t want to do weird substitutions. I want you to have as normal a birthday cake as I can. You have already been loving the new foods you can eat, including egg scrambled with milk.
Even if you don’t outgrow your allergies, I hope you never feel like you are missing out. I have been so sad worrying about you and how you will feel, but then I realized that if this is how your life is, and if I find other special treats to make for you, then the treats you can’t have won’t seem upsetting to you. And besides, I still get to make you chocolate chip cookies which is very exciting to me. We’ll worry about things like ice cream and buttercream frosting later.
I’m also grateful you are growing up in a time when allergies are common enough that people respect them. Milk is tricky since most people think it is like lactose intolerance, which is completely different, but we can help train you and the Fudgelet to know what is okay for you. You have so many people looking out for you and crossing their fingers!