Friday, March 2, 2012

Strawberry Tot

My toddler would eat nothing but strawberries if I allowed it.  Even sick with a double ear infection, he keeps asking for more.  His words have evolved.  He used to call them 'bees', then 'berries', and now at twenty-six  months, he can finally say 'strawberries'.  He will eat an entire pint before I can even eat one.

What I can't get him to swallow tonight is orange juice.  I had the pharmacy flavor his medication orange so I could mix it in with his juice instead of having to pin him down and pinch his nose to force him to swallow.  It has been a fight all week and it's wearing me down.  He is twenty-five pounds of sinewy toddler, and far stronger than he looks.  He thinks he hates me right now, so his daddy is getting plenty of cuddles while home on his own sick day.

My toddler loves mushrooms, edamame, tofu, and snap peas, but his favorite food is rice.  We did baby-led weaning with him, so he was eating apples right off the core at ten months.  He has recently decided that bread crusts are no good for anything other than marking his territory.  My little Hansel has been leaving crusts all over the house so he can find his way out of the enchanted basement when the wicked witch tries to get him to take Tylenol.  He spits out the liquid kind, and screams "No!" when I try the chewables.  They really need to come out with a gummy version, because he takes his gummy vitamins just fine.

We have to be careful with my toddler.  In May, he had an anaphylactic reaction to mango.  He is also lactose intolerant, but that's not much of an issue since our household is vegan.  The mango is the bigger problem because of the current popularity of tropical flavors.  Mango makes an appearance in trail mixes, smoothies, teas, fruit snacks, popsicles, lotions, sunblocks, and Indian food (as amchoor and in chutney).  He can't eat anything tropical with "natural flavors" listed on the ingredients.  We carry an Epi-Pen everywhere he goes and have trained our babysitters how to use it just in case a new allergy pops up.  The mango was sudden onset after a few non-reactive exposures.  I gave him diluted mango-peach-pineapple juice and he blew up into hives and started vomiting.  We don't have anything mango in the house anymore, and the only time I've gotten to eat it was when we went on vacation without him.

I'm afraid of what allergies my children will develop.  My husband and I both have food allergies, so the probability is high for all of our children having food allergies.  I don't want to live in fear over potential reactions, but I still have to be really cautious about what they eat and how new foods are introduced. We take food introductions slowly and deliberately.  It has worked so far and my toddler is not a particularly picky eater.  Strawberries are still a safe food, so my toddler can eat them all he wants.  Maybe someday he'll decide broccoli is his favorite food instead, so I can get more than one strawberry for myself from the containers I buy.

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