death sausage

by lani

when in the course of human events a mother is enlightened with a nigh supernatural intuition regarding the relationship of her erstwhile begotten offspring unto legumes, that mother ought forthwith to act, or as the case may be, not act, upon this miraculous revelation.

in other words, i had a hunch that the kid might have a peanut allergy.

feeding ash has always been an adventure. even before his first solids, unknown food sensitivity in breast milk, poor suck reflex, and significant tongue tie foiled our attempts at breastfeeding, and we placed him on a hypoallergenic formula.”what will the baby keep down today?” became a frequent question soon after ash experienced his first solid: boiled carrots.


as the first baby in an intentional community house, he experiences no milestone without an appreciative audience.


TV4A8927looking coy, post carrots.

the carrots proved harmless enough and, emboldened, we expanded his culinary repertoire.

as i said, i had a hunch about the peanuts. with no concrete reason to worry, though, we gave him peanut butter at about 9 months old. it started well enough; he dabbed some on his sweet round cheeks and stared at us with a look of pure enjoyment.

peanut butter ash 001this is a look of pure enjoyment. trust me.

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soon he began to scratch, a not uncommon occurrence for our little eczema baby.

peanut butter ash 010and then he began to swell.

peanut butter ash 013this was the last picture i took before tossing my camera on the counter and rushing the baby into a soapy bath. yes, i am the mother whose child had a full blown anaphylactic reaction in front of me and i stood there taking pictures. mom of the year award.

peanut allergies, while not fun, are nonetheless fairly common. we continued to feed the child without worrying too much about subsequent issues. oh sure, he puked up cow’s milk. and his special dairy free formula gave him reflux. and his special goat milk formula caused a bleeding diaper rash. and tomatoes and citrus were out because of his eczema. and gluten gave him gas. and his food sensitivity panel bar graph looked like the dubai skyline. but other than that, he could eat anything! (as long as it didn’t require chewing, since he didn’t have teeth.)

this pretty much left … more carrots.

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so, we fed him carrots and almond milk, and somehow he grew and … sorta … thrived

until one day last may, when i fed him the same sausage that he had eaten every week for months. chicken apple – a hoity-toity brand with no “caramelly appetizing color #42” or “crude oil as a preservative” … the kind with prune juice as a sweetener. as soon as it touched him, it burned sores and blisters onto his already fragile skin. this sausage, the one that he ate almost daily. we suspect that the culprit is the pineapple-juice-from-the-tropics-of-hell that was on the ingredient list, but we can’t be sure.

adding insult to injury, the child still has scars from this incident on his thighs that don’t seem to be receding very quickly. at this rate, he’ll be explaining his sausage battle scars to the rest of 7th grade p.e. class, a fate that this paranoid parent may have spent a bit too much time agonizing about.

the date allergy was discovered after the consumption of several innocently named “lara bars.” i assume that this lara-human bears no specific ill will against my son, but if she does then may she spend the rest of eternity cultivating pineapples.

so we feed the child warily, our vision sharp and our affect tense. at every meal we march to the battlefield, eyes keen, searching for a sign of the enemy. “is that a hive or a zit?” “does his lip look swollen to you?” “why is his hand red? WHY IS HIS HAND RED?” parenting food allergies is a gig for thrill seekers.

yes, we have learned well the lesson of the pestilent legume and the death sausage. constant vigilance.

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