Any parent of a kid with food allergies knows what I'm talking about. The fear, anxiety and foreboding that comes along with finding out that your child has an anaphalactic allergy to peanuts. Right now Raph is sheltered from that deadly nut. He's got me and Mike and a peanut free school. Its next year that worries me. When he's in Kindergarten who will protect him? What if his new best friend eats a PB&J every day for lunch? They have systems in place for peanut allergic kids but they are still 5 year olds.
At least Raph is so particular about food that he's not about to accidentally eat anything out of the ordinary. If things are in the wrong shape sometimes he won't eat it. I won't have to worry about him picking up a random food at a party or school or a friend's house...he's just that way.
For now, though, he's protected and we have one small jar of peanut butter on a high shelf in the corner of our pantry. I reserve that peanut butter for times when he's not home or not eating. Sometimes I want some peanut butter, ya know?
Colin's never had peanut butter before. I had him tested and he fortunately has no food allergies but I still have this dread when it comes to peanuts. Its unfounded because I know he won't ever need that epi pen stashed in my diaper bag...I still get nervous though.
Today was one of those days when I felt the need for some peanut butter. I made a waffle, put a little peanut butter on it and syrup. Mmmmm. Colin was eating his normal, plain, waffle and I cut a square off for him to taste. As I was handing it over to his fat little fingers I had those bells ringing in my head. Warning me : NOOOOO DON'T DO IT!!!!
I know he's not allergic. I know he will be just fine but I can't just idly hand it over. I watch him intently as he tastes his first bite of peanut butter. He stops and moves his tongue around in his mouth and then goes for more with a smile. What's not to love about peanut butter?
I still watch him carefully as I share the rest of my waffle with him. Watch for swelling and hives and blue lips. Of course none of that happened. He happily enjoyed his new found treat. Then the time came for clean up. I have to make sure that he is thoroughly cleaned. I clean his hands and face in the sink, wash his bib and check his clothes. What if when I wasn't watching he rubbed some in his hair? Then Raph later goes and kisses him and gets some on his mouth and stops breathing?
I clean the table. I wash it down with soap and water three times just to be sure. I wash my own hands and face and look at the butter knife in the sink. What if he touches that? What if that knife touched something else on its way to the sink? What if, what if, what if?
This is how I wrestle with peanut butter. Every now and again I eat some peanut butter in my house. This time I even shared my guilty pleasure with Colin...but what if this time I don't clean it up well enough? Every now and again I have some peanut butter but then realise the risk and fear and clean up that comes along with it isn't worth it. Not today, not my baby. Maybe next year I'll try again and Colin can eat peanut butter when he's at a friend's house someday.