We never had to deal with the stress of food allergies before, so this is all new to us with Oliver. Mostly everything in our house is nut, egg and dairy free. There are some exceptions that we hide well in top cabinets for when he’s asleep. And we do order pizza every once in a while (after the kids are in bed and we feel guilty about it), but we wash our hands thoroughly afterwards and we clean every surface that came in contact with the pizza box.
We’re on constant alert every time we go anywhere. Sometimes we half-joke that we wish we could keep Oliver in a bubble in order to keep him safe. And this was the inspiration for this illustration in the book I’m working on:
My son Oliver has severe food allergies. He’s not even three years old and he’s had his fair share shots of Epinephrine. Of course, I pray everyday that he outgrows all of his food allergies, or at least one of them, but in the meantime, I want him to learn about them.
For his age, he already knows a lot about which foods are “safe” and which are not (and also how to label a food that he doesn’t like as “not safe”), but I also want him to know that he’s not alone, that although we can’t go to restaurants together as a family, there are other things he can eat.
I looked around for children’s books dealing with food allergies, but honestly, I didn’t see any that were meant for his age. Also, the ones I saw, while they may have had a great message, they were really old.
So, I decided to make one. I’ve been working on it for a while. I should’ve completed it by now, but for whatever reason, I just haven’t made the progress that I wanted to make.
I plan for this blog post to be the beginning of a series where not only do I share my book’s progress, but also my struggles. Frankly, I think one of my biggest fears is completing a project (like this book) and then have nothing happen, like no one buying it, no one reviewing it, no one loving it. And although I am making this book for Oliver, I also want other children and other parents out there who struggle with food allergies to embrace it, to find solace in it.
So, here we go. Stay tuned!