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Envy and Food Allergies

August 8, 2012

When we first started to navigate through Joseph’s allergies, I worried about how things would be when he was a toddler and we had to tell him “no” to all the foods his sister and friends would be eating. Part of this comes from the fact that I remember my mom splitting a bag of M&Ms among me and my brothers, and not only making sure we each had the same number of candies, but the same number of each color of candies to prevent any fights. I didn’t want to deal with a fight every time someone was eating something that Joseph was allergic to.

Thankfully, this hasn’t been an issue for us so far. While Joseph will occasionally ask for foods he is allergic to, he is content when I give him a substitute. When I give him a cookie, he’ll even insist that his sister gets one of hers at the same time. He doesn’t mind (or at least he hasn’t noticed) that her cookies tend to be bigger than his Enjoy Life cookies. If his sister has slices of cheese, he is content with his shredded Daiya cheese. In nursery, he makes no grabs for other kids snacks, or complain that they have something different. I hope that this contentment will continue as long as he has to eat different things from his friends. The problems only come up if I don’t have something else on hand that he likes to eat.

It’s nice to see that this means he has some comprehension that there are foods that he can’t eat. It’s hard to explain the nuances of what he’s allergic to, because we call his coconut milk “milk” and his Enjoy Life cookies “cookies.” It’s just so much easier to say, so when we explain that he’s allergic to cookies, we have to add that he’s not allergic to┬áhis cookies. I know his sister has picked up on what we’re trying to teach, because she’ll say “Joseph’s allergic to [whatever she’s eating that he can’t have]” without any teasing. Hopefully that will continue!

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