Allergy Schmallergy?

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This weekend, we finally got out to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. It was a beautiful day and the weather was the perfect temp for kids and animals alike. We had not been to the zoo in nearly a year and when we had our membership, we used to go during the winter time a lot and run to the gorillas since it was indoors and warm. We never really went during the hot summer days and the Aussie Aviary was always closed whenever we went.

What is the Aussie Aviary? It’s this cool little place with these brightly colored birds in the midst of the kangaroos and other Australian animals. You can purchase a bird seed stick or cups and the birds will actually fly to you and eat the bird seed from your hand. It is a pretty cool thing, especially if you are a kid. (Me? I get scared from butterflies, so I just took pictures while Ninja and Ninjette braved the birds.)

When you purchase the seeds, there is a little sign that is a little allergy alert since the seeds come from a place where there is also peanuts and peanut butter. However, Ninjette has had food and other items that have similar warnings, but she has been fine. Ninja and I didn’t even think about it since we haven’t had any problems in the past and we are usually diligent about labels and such and we’ve never had a problem with this. Looking back, now, I should’ve asked since it was a new introduction of something that had been contaminated with peanuts.

But the bird feeding was so fun and Ninjette loved that the birds were on her hand and eating the seeds straight from her hands. We finally left and sanitized our hands. On our way out, Ninjette’s nose started running, eyes watering, and she was sneezing. I thought she just had some seasonal allergies or it was possibly from dander on the birds. We went to go wash her hands with soap and water by the gorilla area, but after we washed her hands, I noticed that her eyes were starting to puff up big time and she was complaining that her throat wasn’t feeling good.

Inside, I started to panic big time. Outwardly, I was cool as a cucumber. I got her Epi-Pen ready and pulled out the Benadryl. We sat waiting and watching. Ninjette seemed to be doing better and she wanted to see the gorillas. I breathed a sigh of relief and put the Epi-Pen away, but was still watching her closely. After a little while, I noticed the swelling in her eyes going down and she said her throat was feeling better.

We managed to eat lunch and play at the playground for a bit more before she needed her nap and we headed home. I don’t think I felt relief until after she woke up from her nap and seemed to be back to herself.

It was a scary moment for me and it reminded me how serious allergies can be. The last time we encountered her peanut allergy was when she was about 18 months old. We had to go to the ER for that one. Thankfully, I have never had to use the Epi-Pen and I also haven’t had to use Benadryl except once prior to this past weekend.

I have been guilty of getting lax about this serious food allergy – especially when it comes to things that have the label saying that it may have been processed in a plant with peanuts. I definitely need to be more diligent and stay diligent with her food allergy. I also want to do the same with the kids that Ninjette encounters – at school, church, and anywhere else. I want to be mindful and respectful of these food allergies. And for some reason, this got me thinking about food bullying and this article that I had read earlier in the summer by my friend Bri DeRosa from Red, Round, or Green. (She also has a lot of great recipes on her site to try!)

It makes me sad that there are some things that Ninjette may miss out on because of her food allergy, but I am also really thankful for her school and friends who are understanding of it. Maybe one day there will be a cure of some sorts for all allergies – Ninjette’s allergist is always reminding me of that. But for now, we’ll just stay away from the peanuts.

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