By the time Kenna started preschool, she was able to convey the message that “milk and eggs make me sick”. I don’t think she had a sound understanding of this concept, and she definitely did not know how to decide if a food had eggs or milk in it. As parents, we still made every effort to keep her safe, always talking to her preschool teachers, friends, and babysitters. As a family we adjusted to making meals without milk or eggs in it. We supplemented her diet with vitamins and high calcium/nondairy foods (like chia seeds). It became part of life.
During this time, Emily was born and while I exclusively nursed her, hoping she would not have food allergies, we still wondered. She would break out in a whole body rash at times. At six months (before introducing foods) we had her allergy tested. She tested negative for the top allergens. I was relieved, but still perplexed by her occasional body rash. It would only last a few days and it was definitely from a reaction of some kind. We switched laundry detergents (free of dyes, fragrances, and colors), used sensitive lotions and creams, and kept track of what I was eating. In the end, I boiled it down to peanuts and treenuts. Whenever I ate something with nuts in it, Emily would get a full body rash. She was otherwise a generally very happy and easy going baby.
This picture is not the best quality, but you can see the rash on her face (and continues on her body), after I ate a piece of Halloween candy that contained nuts:
At age one, we avoided feeding her peanuts and treenuts. We waited until age 2 and then tried giving her peanuts. No reaction, no rash. After a while we did the same experiment with tree nuts. No reaction either. We were in the clear. I suspect she was having a digestional reaction (an IgG, not allergic- IgE) to the nuts, causing rash and eczema. She would still have small patches of eczema here and there, but it was easily treatable with an over the counter cream/lotion.
As life went on, we got into our groove. It was easy to do for these few years. Kenna and Emily spent most of their time with me. I was aware of their needs and dangers. Looking back, I wish I we could have maintained our “groove”, but kids grow up. Things change and life throws curve balls. Elementary school was a whole different story (coming soon!).