Using their imagination

Most children have more toys than could possible be needed, this isn’t about to be a lecture on not buying things for them, that is up to each individual to decide what is right for them and their children.
This is just a reminder about what children can do when they are left to their own devices.

Last week I spent the morning being assisted by Tim in wrapping some presents, unfortunately this involved getting through a lot more paper and sticky tape than planned, but led to a fun afternoon with the inner tube from the paper!

So a challenge to you the reader, what is Sammy doing in each picture?

Then Tim came to join the game

playing with a tube

He knows exactly what to do with something that looks like a stick, yes that’s right, hit things!

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Brownie Picnic

brownie picnicLast week the Brownies were having a teddy bears picnic.

For anyone who thinks that your children have to miss out just because they have allergies they really don’t.

Every single Brownie had to become dairy, egg, soya and banana free for a night, if they didn’t know that I had made sure all the food was safe for Tim they would never have known. As you can see from the picture, it all looks completely normal, but then it is.

I hope that anyone out there with children with allergies who are reaching the age that they might be starting with out of school activities and clubs find groups that are willing to work with you to enable your child to feel a full member of the group. This isn’t something I am doing because I have to drag Tim along to meetings, this is something I have done in the past when I have had anaphalytic girls in the unit and will do in the future.

If anyone has a child at a Brownie or Guide unit (or other similar organisation) and the leaders want any hints or tips feel free to point them in my direction. Lets do everything we can to make our children feel the same as everyone else.

CenterParcs

centerparcs

We have just returned from a short break at CenterParcs Sherwood Forest.

centerparcs food

It has been a difficult month or so for us health-wise and for a while I wondered whether we were going to actually get there, but we made it in the end and I wanted to let people know how great it was.
I am not writing about the activities and venue, as CenterParcs is somewhere that will be as good as you want to make it, you can choose to sit in your lodge all day or you can get out there and experience your surroundings, pool, activities etc.

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What I wanted to let others know about is the wonderful experiences we had as people who have to deal with allergies.

Our first experience this holiday was with the takeaway service,

dining

what we ordered was by no way suitable for Tim, but then he was safely tucked up in bed so we had pizza, but I was really impressed that it was obviously a normal question for them to ask while we were ordering if there were any allergies.

Our second experience, and our first outing for food during our stay was to Dexters

dexters_logo

I decided to pop in to see what was available before taking the boys, while they were busy playing, as it can be difficult if you suddenly get somewhere and discover that there is nothing that Tim is able to eat.
The woman I spoke to was really friendly and helpful, she was really apologetic that she had a couple of meals she had to serve, but would get straight back to me with the allergy menu, it only took moments for her to come straight out with the menu and had no problems getting any of the products that I wanted to look at just to be on the ‘safe-side’
It was great that Tim was able to eat something that looked just like everyone elses, being able to have his own hand-made burger and chips exactly the same in everyway as his brothers (other than the cheese that Sammy always has to have!)

On our last day we ummed and aahed about when to leave, should we eat there or leave earlier and find something on the way home, we finally decided we were on holiday so might as well make the most of it, assuming we could find somewhere else to eat. So once again I went ahead to see what was available, the first place I visited was the Sports Cafe

sports-cafe-lightOnce again the first person that I spoke to knew exactly where to find the allergy menu. On this occasion as it was mid-morning and the kitchen staff weren’t too busy she had even got one of the chefs to come out to me incase he could offer any additional help. He was really helpful, he worked his way through the menu for me, telling me exactly what was and wasn’t suitable from the children’s menu, and when he found anything that was not suitable immediately came up with options, for example the children’s burger contained dairy, but he would happily make him one using the ingredients they use for the adults.
Tim chose to have meatballs and pasta, which according to the menu came with grated cheese, I had no issues with it arriving with no cheese, but they replaced the cheese with some chips instead so that he didn’t feel left out.
When we ordered I made sure that I informed our waiter (Olly), letting him know that I had already discussed it with the kitchen and knew it would be suitable, but I was really impressed that he immediately went to the kitchen to check before putting it through the system. He was great with both boys, taking the time to speak to them and in particular listen to Sammy allowing him to order for himself. When it came to pudding it was nice that there was something that Tim could have, and once again Olly was very quick to go and ensure that it would be suitable for him.

So thank you CenterParcs for enabling Tim to feel ‘normal’ and having a great medical centre, when we think his allergies flared up from something he ate on the way to holiday

Sad little boy moments before finally deciding we needed to go to the medical centre

Sad little boy moments before finally deciding we needed to go to the medical centre

I think these two faces show what the boys thought to the food they got on holiday.

I will never feed my child something they are allergic to, will I!

As I mentioned in my last post about ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK, accidents do happen.

Are you one of those people who have seen people post on facebook, twitter or similar or mention in passing that their child has had something that it is known they are allergic to and have sat there thinking

How could they?

You know they are allergic you should be more careful

and then that probably adds to the views of people that suspect the allergy isn’t really that serious if you aren’t that careful about what they come into contact with.

Well I will be honest that was probably me until just after Christmas, I always felt there was a difference between real accidents of cross contamination and a child eating something that it is known they have issues with, but then that dreaded day came!

So what happened?

Quite simply I went and cleaned my teeth and came back downstairs to Sam announcing

We’re sharing mummy, look mummies chocolates

It seems that although we don’t have much in the house in the way of non-Tim friendly food, following Christmas we had a box of Roses Chocolates which Sammy had found.

It is so difficult as he is only 3 and although he understands a lot, I cannot (or maybe that is should not) expect him to understand everything, he does really well, but he is 3.

I was very good and kept my calm as I looked at the 5 empty wrappers, not knowing who had eaten what, and trying not to cry, Sammy was so proud to be able to tell me he had shared, when I reminded him that he shouldn’t give Tim anything unless we tell him it is ok the response from him was

I looked in the box mummy and there were no special chocolates (special = dairy free!)

well what do you say to that, all you can do is try and stay calm, not burst into tears and wait for the ‘fall out’

So for all those who at some point have felt that others are looking at them as if to say how did their child get something ‘by accident’ I apologise not only on behalf of myself but also the millions of others out there who until it happens to them, just do not realise how easily it can happen.

I have now been there, we had to live through a rough weekend and I now realise that although we will do everything we can to try and avoid it happening again, it is not something that can be guaranteed.

 

Allergy Awareness week

This week has been ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK.

allergy-uk-logo-strap

For those who are dealing with allergies every day we are all more than aware of it, for those who are lucky enough not to have to deal with it you may not even care.
But you should care, you see it could be your action that causes someone else to become seriously ill, maybe even die (and NO I am not exaggerating, people can and do die from allergies)

I can understand why if it doesn’t affect you directly you may think it is nothing to do with you, but in the last couple of days I have read stories from people of children with allergies. Ones who have been fed foods that they are allergic to by someone who thought they were helping by unwrapping something for them, and one who ended up needing a dose of adrenaline and a visit to hospital, just because another child walked by and dripped something they were allergic to onto them.
So really this is a heartfelt plea to say

PLEASE, PLEASE THINK ABOUT YOUR ACTIONS

Parents of children with allergies are now feeling the need to set up toddler groups specifically for allergy children, as at the ‘normal’ groups children are often allowed to wander around with food, smearing it onto the toys. When I ask people at groups now to stop their children doing this it is assumed it is due to Tim’s allergies, I always turn to them and tell them that I never let Sam, who has no allergies, wander around with food, it is not ‘good practice’ they could choke on something if they are running around while eating, it is also not nice for anyone to find themselves stepping in, or putting a hand in someone elses half eaten …. (fill your own blanks in!) I am a strong believer that if when you are out at a toddler group they want to eat they should sit and eat, if they want to play then they can play. And before anyone tries to tell me that their child just won’t, it is simple if they are hungry, they sit, if they go and play then the food is removed!

Accidents can and do happen, but we should all be working together to make these as few as possible.

 

I know it sounds a long way of, but a date for the diary, next year allergy awareness week is 28th April – 4th May 2015