Friday, August 16, 2013

Teaching Independence and Food Allergy Awareness

One of our goals is to teach Bee to take responsibility for her allergies.  One day she will be somewhere without me and she will have to be her own advocate.  The thought of that absolutely terrifies me.  But I know that she will grow up and she will have to be responsible for her allergies, health, and safety.  I'm not exactly sure how we're going to teach this independence.

I want her to understand the seriousness of her allergies and know that all it takes is one little bite.  I want her to recognize that there are no second chances and that her allergies will be something she deals with on a daily basis.  However, I don't want her to live in fear either, paralyzed to go places or enjoy new experiences.  Where is the balance?

So, not only do I worry about her food allergies, I worry about how she will handle them herself and how I will teach her.  But I was encouraged just last week -

My husband took the kids ice skating.  He loaded them in the car with their skates, jackets, and heavy socks.  They backed out of the driveway and a small voice from the backseat piped up, "Don't forget the Epi!"  Yes, little Bee has heard me say this phrase about a million times in her little life.  And now she has taken responsibility for reminding others to see to her needs.  Since that day, I have heard that phrase from her every single time we walk out the back door. 

I don't forget her Epi and I remember that one of the most important things I can do is to model actions and words for my kids.  They are always watching and they have learned the importance of taking the Epi with us just from watching us.  So, I think we've discovered step 1 in teaching Bee to be her own advocate.  We can do this!


Anonymous said...

I have been thinking over this same thing as my daughter starts preschool this week. Her diagnosis has been in the past few months, so we are still getting in the habit of reading labels and carrying the epi everywhere. It scares me to let her be with other people, but I also know that I can't tuck her away forever. I just hope that everyone she is with takes her allergy list as seriously as I do.

Lexi said...

It is a scary thing. We're going to keep working toward independence and hope that Bee will learn to take responsibility. But until then we will continue to be her advocate and hope that she is able to learn through watching us. I will always have fear when I'm not with her though - and even when I'm with her I am often afraid of what could happen. Being an allergy parent is really tough!

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