Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Victims Here

Tonight I have been thinking a lot about this blog and I feel like it is important for me to restate a big reason why I am doing this: having food allergies does not mean that your life has to end! In no way do I feel victimized by this situation. As challenging as things can be for us at times, it is so important for me to see this as a learning process. As trite as it might sound, I truly believe that all things happen for a reason. This is not any different. We have been handed a big, heaping bowl of lemons but why not put those lemons to good use? A dear friend of mine always says that the universe has a funny way of giving us what we are capable of handling, even if it seems impossible at first. I like that attitude! There is so much negativity in the world and I want my children to be "glass is half full" people.

Tomorrow, Ella is going to be attending the birthday party of a classmate. Usually we take along a wheat-free cupcake, which I bake in advance and keep in the freezer to grab whenever something comes up. Lately, I try to find out what other foods will be served so that I can also bring along a wheat-free alternative. For some reason, pizza is the go to food for 4 year old birthdays. And tomorrow's party is no different. Thankfully, Glutino has a fabulous pizza that I purchase at Whole Foods and keep in the freezer. It is a cheese pizza with red sauce that rivals any other and looks basically the same. (Having the ability to have convenience foods saves my life at least once a week!) Anyway, we often feel slightly silly carrying a cooler into a party but it saves us a mountain of heartache, believe me! Ella hates it when she is excluded and since we have been doing this, the tantrums have been minimized.
Anyway, the conversations that I have with the hosts/hostesses are sometimes a bit awkward. They always ask me what Ella is allergic to and then I see their eyes spin as I rattle off the lengthy list. Sometimes they very kindly offer to have stuff on hand for Ella to eat. And for that I am most thankful, but knowing how much work it can be to throw a party I would rather that they not have to take on the added stress of finding something for my daughter to eat. (People really are wonderful, truly!) Part of the reason why I dread the conversation so much is because I want to disappear. I do not want to focus attention on our situation. And when we do whip out the snack case, I try to do it in a discreet way. My favorite technique is to pull out her cupcake when everyone is singing. And then when the sliced birthday cake goes around, I grab a piece and scrape off the frosting (trying not to get crumbs) and then spread it all over Ella's cupcake. She loves it. We often get funny looks from Grandparents or people who clearly do not have young children of their own, but I am developing a thicker skin.

What are we supposed to do? Stay indoors and never live all the life that there is to live out there? No way! The only thing that will keep us home is a cold or flu. And when we are healthy... watch out!

**No babies were harmed taking photos for this blog. I promise! The above photo of Ella was taken and sent out to friends to try and coerce them to get out and vote. (As in, "Please Vote so that this baby will stop crying!") My Mother-in-law was concerned that Ella was actually in pain and truly unhappy. She wasn't. We had been taking lots of happy photos right before this. It was lunchtime, the sun was in her eyes, and she was tired. Within seconds her needs were met and she was once again a happy baby!

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