Friday, June 27, 2008

Trader Joe - Friend or Foe

So, we went to Trader Joes, after a long absence. There is one directly across from the YMCA, but I have not been brave enough to take all three children in with me after a workout. Yesterday I only had Michael and Natalie with me, so I figured, what the heck, lets give it a whirl. While I love Trader Joes, I had forgoten that Joe is not the friendliest trader for the peanut allergic population. I would say 75% of the items in the store have a warning of some sort for nuts, and those that don't have a nut warning put an egg warning on it just to make me crazy.

So, we were walking down the aisles, and I was trying to remeber the 5 things we actually can purchase from there, and Michael and Natalie were eyeing everything asking if we could get it. Natalie was particluarily upset because she could actually have the sample, and was expecting it to be a giant chocolate suprise. Unfortunatly, it was some sort of unidentifiable sausage that did not meet with her cookie expectations, and she was very clear in letting me know her displeasure.

So, she wanted to buy something she picked out. ANYTHING. So we were walking down the isles, and my two 5 year olds would keep point out and asking :
"can we have this?"
"can we have this?"
"can we have this?".
Of course I kept checking labels, and of course the answer was always
"no, I am sorry, that is not safe".
Natalie thought she had a sure bet when she spotted Trader Joe cheerios, but again I checked the label, and disappointment prevailed....... not safe. It started to remind me of when we went to Ireland to visit Nana, and we found a may contain peanuts label on some flour. Anyways, in my annoyance I realised I was saying
"it is not safe"
louder and louder to my two frustrated children. Then I noticed all these people in the aisle around us were kind of looking at us and whispering to each other. I finally got it (yes, I can be a bit slow), they were trying to figure out why Trader Joe's was so unsafe. Was there another report of contaminated tomatoes????? Was there a new recall they had not heard about?????? What was this important news they had missed that that could be threatening their very health???? As we finally made our way to the register, I have to say I felt a little sad that for us that so much was unsafe. All these other shoppers I had gotten worried (he he he, it is a little funny) have no clue why just walking down the aisle in a market can be so frought with danger. They don't know how lucky they are.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Children's Book Reviews

Children's Books

We only own two of the children's books, and both are about peanut allergies. There have been many others I would like to get, but I am unfortunatly motivated by instant gratification, and have only been able to find the books online. I am not sure why I acutally ordered these two books, but alas lucky authors I did, and I have almost memorized them since I have read them so many times

Allie the Allergic Elephant
When I first got this book, I thought it was the same book that FAAN sold. Much later I was shocked to discover that Allie was not the only elephant in town allergic to peanuts. Apparently there is also a Alexander who is also peanut allergic. I think the two of them should meet up and talk about the difficulties of not only life as an elephant, but the burdens of life as an elephant allergic to peanuts. It could be a small but productive support group, and perhaps they could work towards removing peanuts from circuses and zoos.

My sweet little peanut allergic child absolutely loves this book. Right now it is his favorite book, and he asks to read it every single night. I like it because it is short and to the point, and covers some of the basic concepts of peanut allergy and the symptoms of anaphalyxis without being scary. Conor likes all the funny animals in the pictures, and the medical alert ad in the back with the cool red medical alert bracelet he wants for his birthday. He likes that Allie wears a medical alert bracelet, and her parents carry an epipen, but is very concerned about whether elephants really wear bracelets in real life. I think next time we go to the zoo he is going to be checking out the elephants and looking whether it is really possible for them to wear bracelets.

Peter Can't Eat Peanuts
I think I ordered this book pretty soon after Conor was diagnosed with his peanut allergy. I am not sure why I picked it, or even where I got it from, but I am very happy I did. This is Conor's second favorite book, and in some ways he relates to it more directly because Peter is a person, and also a boy. While we love Allie to bits, Peter frequently gets comments such as "he is just like me", during readings.

As the title pretty much sums up, the story is about a little boy named Peter, who discovers he is allergic to peanuts. He has a reaction, goes to the hospital, meets a wonderful allergist (named Dr. Sweeter - hhhhhmmmm, perhaps to rhyme with the name Peter????) and learns how to deal with his allergy. I like that this books stresses that Peter did not do anything wrong, having an allergy is just how he is. At the end of the book, Peter is very important going with his mother to meet with the school on how to keep him safe, and this makes him very special. Conor's favorite parts are where Peter is given his first Medical Alert bracelet (no medical alert ad with the cool red bracelet he wants for his birthday in the back though), and that Peter has an epi-pen just like him. Conor also has a cousin named Peter, and we always have to clarify that the boy in the book is not his cousin Peter.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Books - The Good, The Better, and the Best

Ok, I have been meaning to do this forever, but life just seems to get in the way of my good intentions. I even started this once before, but once again my computer played a very mean joke on me, and my brilliant witty post disapeared when I tried to save it. The score is
Computer - 2
Me - 0
We went to visit my parents this weekend, and made the unfortunate discovery that Conor is very very very allergic to cats. So now I am on the lookout for a book entitled Don't touch the cat!!!! or Conor can't play with cats, or even Don't enter a home where a cat might live!!!!! Anyways, enough of my exciting commentary.

We own many of the books on my previous list. Since we are only allergic to peanuts and eggs (and now of course extremly allergic to cats), we have not checked out many of the other books, but I am sure they are very good.

General Books
Food Allergies for Dummies
This is a very good book, and I like the way it is set up. There are nice overview sections for all sorts of different types of food allergies, and even a bit of information about asthma. It would also be good for someone just starting their food allergy journey, as it very simply lays out different types of testing and the differences between intolerences and actual allergies. I also like the cute little light bulbs in the margin, and the fact that it is set up very simply for people like me who on occasion, can be just a bit slow............ But definitly a useful book.

The Peanut Allergy Answer Book

I ordered this book when Conor was first diagnosed, and my allergist at the time said "here is your epi-pen, avoid peanuts, good luck and good by" It is a good overview of peanut allergy, how to avoid, and useful information about such things as airlines, schools, caregivers, etc.

How to Manage your Child's Life Threatening Food Allergies
I also ordered this book when I freaked out when Conor was first diagnosed. This is a great book with really practicle day to day information on how to deal with real life events. She lays out different scenarios such as playdates, and birthday parties, and gives different suggestions on how to deal with them depending on your situation. Also being the mother of a food allergic child, this book really spoke to me on a more personal level, such as, "you are not crazy", "you can learn to live with this, and it will be ok", and "take some deep breaths.." She also has a great appendix in the back with all sorts of information, such as a script to use and leave at your house in case you need to call 911, and information on how to start a support group.