Monday, September 19, 2011

Willfulness, testing boundaries or Oral Allergy Syndrome?

An article I saw today in Scientific America gave me pause and a bit of guilt.  Alexa told Jason and I recently that ALL raw fruits and veggies make her throat itch.  We were very surprised by this and questioned her "even watermelon? you love watermelon? what about strawberries? blueberries too?" She held firm, "yes, even watermelon, but I didn't tell you because I really like it."  I know about Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) and I'm aware that some raw fruits and veggies make her throat itchy (carrots, celery, apples, pineapple) but I didn't know items she had been eating for years (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, watermelon) bother her.  When she began complaining she didn't want to eat these regular staples, we questioned whether or not it was true.  We wondered if she was testing us.  I'm not proud of this fact but it is honest.  Initially, I said "ok hon, don't eat them" and discussed it with Jason.  He also wondered if she was testing us.  This event lead to our first discussion about how to give our allergic girl more power over what she eats.  Initially, Jason thought we should push her to continue eating foods she has been eating safely for years.  He was sure she was just using her allergy as an excuse not to eat "healthy food".  I disagreed.  In my opinion, even if she is testing us, she needs to have the power to say no.  She needs to feel safe and comfortable eating.  I can't imagine being afraid something would make me sick and having someone push me to eat it anyway.  My goal is to decrease or eliminate her anxiety about food.  In my opinion we need to give her the power to choose what she does and does not eat (within reason and without exposure to her ANA foods).  Jason and I agreed not to push the issue until we met with her allergist.  The allergist agreed it was most likely OAS and gave us an updated handout.  Alexa is very allergic to birch which is part of this OAS issue.   So now we put the fruit/veggie on the table and let her decide if wants it.  If she eats it, great and if not no big deal.  She has started eating watermelon and strawberries again on occasion but is still avoiding all others.  I attached the article I mentioned as it's very interesting.   I still have some Mommy guilt about not trusting her up front but in my defense, I'm still learning.

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