Friday, May 15, 2009

Allergy Interview with My 5 Year-Old

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week. I spent more time online reading food allergies news and reading other food allergy blogs than normal. I learned, laughed and even teared up a bit. It was good for me. I posted about food allergies and emailed friends in hopes they would gain a better understanding of my son's allergies.

Today I jumped at the chance to talk to my son about his peanut allergy. (My youngest son has a play date today, my oldest son is still in school, and my daughter is taking a nap.) Talking to my son about his peanut allergy was the most significant thing I did all week. I got out his medicine bag and we talked about each item. I realized that I had not done this in a while. I interviewed him (Thanks, Jenn, for this idea.) We talked more about some questions - beyond what I recorded.

Here's what my 5 year-old had to say about his peanut allergy:

Momma: Do you like having a peanut allergy?
David: No! Since if I see something really yummy I want to eat it. We wouldn't know if it has peanuts.

Momma: Are there any good things about a peanut allergy?
David: Not that I know but there might be...

Momma: What would happen if you ate a peanut?
David: I might have an itchy nose. Well, my mouth would swell up and I wouldn't be able to breathe - like in outer space- there's no air out there.

Momma: What would we do if you ate a peanut?
David: You would have to do my shot really quick. Then, I would have to go to the hospital.

Momma: What do Momma and Daddy do to keep you safe?
David: Tell me that I cannot eat things with peanuts and I cannot eat things that we don't know (if they have peanuts).

Momma: How do you keep yourself safe?
David: I don't eat things unless Momma and Daddy say I can.

Momma: Where do you see peanuts?
David: In a bag at the store. But, peanuts are also in food when I can't see them.

Momma: What is the hardest part of a peanut allergy?
David: Not knowing if something has peanuts and another thing, it might be something I would like but it might have peanuts.

Momma: What is the scariest part of a peanut allergy?
David: The scariest thing is not being able to breathe. That would always be the scariest. Dying is not the scariest. If I die, well, I believe in Jesus, so if I die I will go to heaven. I'd still be alive there.
But, I want to have my shot because I don't want to go to heaven yet... because I would miss my family.

Momma: Does it bother you to have a different snack at preschool?
David: No. One time my class had cupcakes and I got a piece of cake from home. The piece of cake was way bigger than the cupcakes.

Momma: How does your peanut allergy make you feel?
David: It feels sad to not eat a cup cake when it looks really yummy. That's hard.

Momma: Does it bother you to be different from the other kids?
David: No. I am not different from other kids with a peanut allergy. I am not different from Lindsay. (Lindsay is our babysitter and she also has a peanut allergy.)

Momma: If you could tell our whole town something about having a peanut allergy what would it be?
David: If I eat peanuts, I can't breathe.


Rational Jenn said...

What a great interview! Thanks for sharing! I'm thinking of making it a yearly FAAW thing--to talk to my kids about my son's allergy and record what they say about it. I mean, we do talk to them quite a bit about it year-round, but there's something bout asking questions and just listening to what they have to say, isn't there?

RLR said...

My almost-3-year-old is just beginning to understand that peanuts are off-limits for her. We have explained it in simple terms:
- peanuts and eggs will make you sick
- you may need a shot (what kid doesn't understand that word?)
- you will definitely have to go see the doctor if you [eat] any

My 5 1/2 year old understands his sister's allergies to a better degree, and will talk to others about her situation. Often, though, he will say that "peanuts are allergic to my sister" - ha!

Carmom said...

I loved that you interviewed him and that he knew so much! You and Seth, the whole family really, are doing such a great job teaching him everything he needs to know about his allergy. Keep up the great work.

He And Me + 3 said...

Jane Anne,

He did a great job. What a very smart little boy.

Beth E. said...

How sweet and INTELLIGENT he is! He seems to understand the seriousness of his allergy, and knows to check before eating anything. We had the hardest time with our son remembering to ASK. And, the most frustrating you are when foods you think you don't have to worry about contain nuts!

You do a great job educating your child - and everyone else - about peanut allergies! Good job!

Anonymous said...

it is obvious that there is some brilliant parenting going on in the Owen home....keep up the good work! patti b.

Shawn said...

Thank you very much for sharing! David, you did a GREAT job!

Anonymous said...

This is charming and thoughtful...and I love that *someone* made sure that piece of cake was WAY bigger than any cupcake!! :)

Carrie said...

Oh that is a great little guy you have there! What a smart kid...he sure seems ready if something happens and knows how to avoid some yummy foods he might not get to eat! Awesome job!

McCrakensx4 said...

What an awesome interview. I don't think you have anything to worry about (with him eating anything that he doesn't know!) with that smartie pants! Great answers David!!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Great interview! It's amazing that our sons answers are so similar. I agree with Jenn, I think I need to do an interview like this every FAAW. I just don't think I "listen" enough to how he feels about it.

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

Great idea for a post. It's amazing how much they understand and nice to talk the time to listen to them.

Kimberly said...

i absolutely loved this interview with David!!!

momstheword said...

He really has an amazing maturity and grasp of the situation. You've done a great job training him to be careful. This must be a comfort to you, I know it would be to me.

I'm so glad you found our new Five Moms blog. We are excited for it to open tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, JA! You guys are doing such a fantastic job :) It truly shows in the way David is able to understand and handle his peanut allergy. I have a great friend here who has a PA son, too. I share your knowledge and experiences with her every chance I get :) Keep making the cake pieces bigger than the cupcakes,too ;)