Things to Do - A Bad Day

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A few days ago P ate part of a chocolate cookie with peanut chips and we landed in the emergency room. After an explosion of hives, some minor breathing issues, and other (luckily) small signs of a reaction the hospital released us, making me super grateful for - epipens (we didn't need to use one, but i'm glad we always have a pen with us), doctors, steroids, and benadryl. and also for tvs in the emergency room because i found it difficult to entertain a 5.5 year old and a very destructive toddler for 2.5 hours on my own.

i could go through the negligent chain of events that lead to the "cookie" incident, but I really don't want to rehash it. if any fault lies in this situation (and there's always fault somewhere) then it all rests with me. and i'm having a bad time with that.

having a child with a severe allergy is tricky and every parent handles it a different way. i know parents who micromanage everything, who shadow their kid's every move at birthday parties and playdates. who "bubble" their children. and i get why they do this, especially for airborne allergies. because even if i sound crazy to parents of "normal kids", when you realize a peanut can kill your child daily life becomes filled with minefields. where other parents see the reeses' logo, i see rat poison. trail mix appears as a bag of mini-explosives, ready to kill on impact. you see protein, i see death. it's a war. a long, drawn out daily war. and i have won some battles, but last week I lost one (the battle, not the war).

I tried. I try. I make mistakes.

This is tough. parenting is tough. one one hand, the goal at the end is to have them leave, right? to function without us. to raise strong, independent, happy people. and on this topic I'm a big free-range believer. but i also want them alive. on one side there's the bubble (lock 'em up) and on the other death, sandwiched between a world of grays. too many greys. especially in a society where every move is questioned - why didn't you yell at your kid? why do you always yell at your kid? always smile! don't raise a brat! make them happy! make them independent! never let them see you cry! take control! you are the adult!

lately i'm feeling like we're all so busy either being perfect or striving for perfection that maybe we need to talk about mistakes more. maybe i need to talk about mistakes more.

One last story - as we left the house for the emergency room - me trying not to panic, P saying "it's okay mommy, i just feel weird, but it's okay," t out of control as always - as i'm shutting the door behind us, it was P who called out "you have my epipen mommy, right? just in case. it's important. make sure you have it." And i realized that even if my bubbles have holes, at least I have a daughter who is doing a great job navigating the minefields on her own.


  1. How scary. So glad P is OK, and that she's such a smarty-pants kid. :) Don't beat yourself up (coming from someone who beats themselves up) - parenting is hard work. I don't think any parent falls asleep at night without first wishing they did one (or two, or three...) things differently that day. We're all doing the best we can.

  2. What an ordeal! So sorry you all had to go through that. But you should be proud of yourself. You raised (and are raising) that self sufficient daughter who remembered her epi-pen. And you handled a scary situation (with two additional children in tow!). And everyone is okay. You are doing a great (no, amazing) job.
    Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday night. Let's order margaritas and make a toast to imperfect parenting - the only kind there is! :)

  3. I'm so sorry to hear what happened, but I am so happy that everything turned out ok. My son has a severe allergy to nuts also, and it's such a scary feeling. Your writing is amazing and it really almost brought me to tears in your last paragraph. I can see my son, Mateo, being the same way...brave, smart and in control. Great job raising P!!

  4. Sitting here w/tears. So glad P is ok and so glad she has such an awesome momma. She is one smart cookie and you are doing a great job raising three amazing kids that will know how to manage all of the gray. Miles is allergic to eggs and peanuts. It is all so scary and I know how you feel when they eat something they shouldn't. I too struggle w/ this queest for perfect parenting and it's been getting me down. We are all human and my kids know how imperfect I am (a little too well)! But I keep telling myself all that matters is that I love them the best I can each and every day and I try my best to make sure they know it.

  5. This post is really terrific. I echo the other comments-all of them. Basically real lie is hard, having real kids with real problems is hard. Being a mom (good, perfect or otherwise) is hard. You are doing it every day and suceeeding, your daughter's response is proof. Just keep doing it! And writing about it too- the writing is wonderful.

  6. Thanks so much for the comments everyone! It's really tough to write a post about messing up (especially as a parent) and I can't explain how much your words meant to me. Thank you!

  7. That's definitely a scary experience! I'm so glad you were on top of things. I totally agree with everyone else. I can't think of anyone who doesn't lay in bed at night and imagine how he or she could have said something differently, or done something differently.

    Hang in there! You seem like a wonderful parent, and it's definitely evident in P's thinking. :)



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