On the next generation

1 May

My daughter is about a year and a half old, now. We’ve never introduced her to dairy. There just never seemed to be a need; after all, I do just fine without it. She’s never been exposed through breast milk, obviously. When she hit a year old and the pediatrician gave us the okay to introduce other potential allergens, we had a conversation about dairy. Our pediatrician is amazing and has much the same opinion of dairy that I do, so when I asked her when she thought we should try introducing dairy, she said, “Never.” (I love that woman)

A week ago she informed me “teeth coming”, so I think she’s teething again. This also means we’re back to the everything in the mouth stage, which is… exhausting. Last Saturday, we were out at this big Science Expo thing (it was awesome). She was all over the floor, so there’s really no telling what she got into all day. She napped through lunch (in the middle of a They Might Be Giants concert, no less), so her beans and rice sat out unrefrigerated for an extra hour or so. On our way home, we stopped at a restaurant for dinner (because after being out of the house and walking All Day Long, I was really not interested in cooking).

All of which is to say, I have no fricken’ clue what may have made it into her mouth.

Bed time was rough, as it quite often is. But there was something different about it. For one, she was screaming, which is unusual. Occasional bouts of crying, sure, but not extended crying or screaming like this. We suddenly noticed her diaper smelled awful, so Ben checked it. You have to understand, this was probably only the second time in her life she had a… (how to phrase it delicately, since this is after all, a food blog) …messy rather than wet diaper after bed time. After she was cleaned up, I held her and took her over to sit in the chair to nurse again. There was just something about the way she was moving, the way she arched her back and groaned… I asked her if her tummy hurt, and for the first time since bedtime began, she responded, echoing “tummy hurt”. And I just Knew. I knew what she was feeling, what she was going through. I don’t know why, or what triggered it, but I knew this whole set of symptoms as being exactly what I go through after a dairy exposure. The agonizing stomach cramps, the gas and bloating, the way too soon and extremely unpleasant diarrhea. I remember describing my symptoms to a doctor and telling her that they always occur 30 minutes after eating. I remember her telling me that it just isn’t possible for it to go through the system that quickly, and that I couldn’t be right. I remember both allergists I went to telling me it’s not a “true” allergy because I don’t respond to the Ig-whatever they test for, as opposed to one of the other two alphabet soups. I remember the scratch test, where I spent an agonizing fifteen minutes in the waiting room with my dad holding my arms still so I didn’t claw off my own skin, and then being told I had “no reaction”.

I just held my little girl, and rocked her, and rubbed her back until she finally fell asleep. And I went downstairs and I cried.

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