{WNIMKW pt 2} my canary sings

There needed to be a happier companion piece to my latest What’s New in My Kitchen Wednesday post because frankly, I am amazed by my son’s total willingness and curiosity to come to the table to eat. His love for all things food amazes me everyday despite having {sometimes scary} reactions to food he consumes or touches. Please read to the end where I have an update. -Christina

{My Marshmallow Project…still need to write the post}

You see, with all the wheezing, hacking, choking, vomiting, swelling, lethargy, yawning, temperature-spiking and itchy hives Miles still loves food. He doesn’t wince at the moment I say “its dinnertime”. He doesn’t run away and hide behind his train table. He loves to chop, slice, dice, whisk, “cook” and most importantly, at the young age of 2, he loves to eat.

No {safe} food is off-limits. He will try anything. Kimchi, pickled beets, chickpea miso soup, mushroom risotto, anything goes.
(Well almost. For some reason he always poo-poos butternut squash. Sorry Michael.)

From the moment of his first positive test results I began a conscious campaign to introduce food in all its forms: in the ground, at the farmers market or grocery story, on the cutting board, on our plates. My mother brought over her very-worn copy of Ratatoille and it has become his most favorite movie. Every time he eats soup he says “Toille eats soup”. We’ve occasionally watch cooking shows, he runs to the television and tries to identify everything on the close-up action shot. I invite him into the kitchen, I let him play. We play in his kitchen. We make soup. We roll cookies. We drink “tea”. We read stories upon stories about farmers and farm animals. He has two farm sets, used and battered, but two sets?! Totally excessive. I know.

{Saratoga Gluten-Free Goods Bun & KFF spicy microgreens}

Of course its great for every kid to have major exposure to food. I believe that there have been more than enough scientific studies that have shown that the more involved kids are in growing food and preparing meals the more likely they are to eat whole foods and skip the nuggets. In our case, I don’t have a lifestyle or ethical choice. I have a life-threatening issue to contend with, where getting stuck in a snowstorm with a hungry toddler can be a hair-pulling, stream-inducing situation if I don’t have safe foods in the car. I can’t “just once” stop at a fast food joint and there are only so many Chipotle locations. Having very few books written on the subject of the psychology of severe food allergies and very young children, I have winged-it during the past 27 months. Flown by the seat of my pants. It seems to reason that the more positive experiences around food I present to Miles the better is outlook on the whole eating process. Right?! Who knows… but its working so far.

{stuffed}

I do this partially out of fear. Fear that Miles will become scared of food. That he will refuse to eat. Also, that MY FEAR (on the playground, at playdates, at family holiday meals) is felt by him. He will soon pay more attention to the “behind the scenes” antics that happens in the kitchen while he is playing “Choo Choos”. Such as any trip outside of the home has a 15-30 minute planning and packing stage. We bring a big bag of safe foods just in case the car breaks down; almost everywhere we go. We have limited choices in the convenient food world. I don’t want him to feel my fear so I overcompensate. As he gets older and can comprehend what his medical issues are and how limited he is, in a fast food/birthday party/school lunch kind of way, I’m afraid he will turn his back on food. So I dice and chop and read books to show him the vast amounts of whole foods he can consume without issue. The world is big!

I try my best to show him the world is filled with positive food experiences. I’m hoping in the long run these experiences will out-weigh the bad times. They will happen. They have happened.

We keep on keeping on and Miles is impressing the pants off me everyday. I love you Miles.

UPDATE: Since writing the two-part post; Heidi a.k.a. Brooklyn Allergy Mom, has written a wonderful response. She is my big hopeful future. I have been following her blog since Miles’ diagnosis 12 months ago. The difference, she was dealing with the intensity of “figuring it all out” food allergy stage 12 years ago when there was no food-allergy-friendly products, cookbooks, memoirs, blogs, magazines, cooking classes, allergy-friendly/ gluten-free menus, food-allergy/GF bakeries, and various food allergy non-profit organizations and support groups. Before 504 Plans were implemented under the federal civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that are required for food allergic children in public or private school receiving federal funding.

Before all of that. She is a pioneer working on the front lines creating food from scratch so her daughter could thrive. And thrive she has. I look up to Heidi, and all other food allergic parents and caregivers that came before me. They have paved a safer, more knowledgeable, more understanding, more accessible road for us all. Thank You Heidi.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. You are so welcome my friend!

    1. Christina says:

      Seriously, reading your posts makes me realize there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Michael K says:

    Why does he like to eat? He’s a GUY!!!! 🙂

    1. Christina says:

      Ha! Will he be eating for two his whole life because my boy can pack it in 🙂

  3. Erica says:

    Two very inspiring posts Chris! Thanks for a personal look into raising Miles and your day to day struggles – it takes a lot to put yourself out there. Miles is a happy, curious, playful two year old because of all YOUR hard work. You never cease to amaze me 🙂

    1. Christina says:

      Thanks Erica. Without supportive friends like you, I’d be hiding out with Miles in the house.

  4. MamaJillian says:

    Bravo! Food is GOOD, even for kids who deal with the reality of unsafe food. Eating, preparing and enjoying food is a good thing.

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