Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stuff that Bugs Me (Installment #1)

1. People that both accept the "hygiene hypothesis" as gospel truth while simultaneously not at all understanding it. I did not give my child food allergies by overusing hand sanitizer, and p.s., I'm not even close to being a germaphobe.

2. People who write inflammatory articles and blog posts making it sound like food allergies are the invention of parents who need to feel like their child is "special." I'm sure there is someone out there that actually fits that profile, but must you diminish everyone else's real concerns by focusing on the outliers? Trust me, no sane person wants their kid to be "special" in this way.

Just a venting post. I realize that both of the above complaints betray my own insecurities as a mom of a food allergic child. It is something that I have struggled with -- trying not to care so much what anyone may think of me as a mother when the subject comes up that Georgia is allergic to certain foods. It's just that food allergies have gotten more and more media attention in recent years, not all of it accurate, and certainly not all of it positive. So, as soon as the subject comes up (which frankly, I usually try to avoid unless necessary - I guess I'm not the best food allergy spokesperson at this point in time), I just assume that the person I'm talking to has a lot of preconceived notions and is judging me left and right. First of all, that may not even be the case, and I'm obviously guilty of prejudgment myself if that's what I'm thinking about this person for no apparent reason. Second, who cares? (That is the part I especially need to work on.) I can't blame myself for whatever caused Georgia to have food allergies, whether it be genetic or environmental, certainly it was nothing that I knew how to prevent otherwise I would have. I can't control whether this person somehow doubts that Georgia's food allergies are "real." On a related note, I need to get over my own embarrassment and shyness about asking questions in restaurants about exactly what is in the food. I know that my child's health may depend on the answer, so I'm ashamed that I have sometimes taken chances rather than risk bugging a waiter with a question that might be annoying. Working on all of this....

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