So the first two years of Jett’s life were incredibly isolating, holidays were no different. This past 11 months have given us a glimmer of hope for the future. We still have a crazy schedule every week, five therapy sessions, Gymboree, feeding Jett, preparing meals, and my hot yoga. But the variety in our lives has grown. We are able to enjoy meals (we prepare) with friends and family, dine at a few restaurants downtown, attend some shows and baseball games, and schedule some play dates too!
Jett continued to make progress on gaining safe foods, although feeding him was still a full time job. Our diets expanded from seven safes in March of 2016 to about 70 safes by December 2016. I began making up new recipes for both family meals and desserts. Everything was made from scratch and dairy, soy, corn, and grain free (at least) but they tasted incredible. Gaining spices made the biggest difference in my daily cooking.
Jett wanted to be Elmo and go trick-or-treating. David rented a Big Bird suit and I dressed up as Abby. We went to my parents’ neighborhood and walked to a few houses. None of the candy was safe for him, but because of his eating disorder he didn’t want to eat any of it anyway. Our wonderful sitter and her husband set up a small gathering of neighbors to all give Jett non food items like glowsticks, dollar store toys, and she even had a baby Elmo for him. This was so thoughtful and made Jett’s day! Both sets of grandparents also had some small cars for him too.
We hosted Thanksgiving in our new home. I made an entire meal that both Jett and I could eat for 18 people. Roast pork, bacon brussels sprouts, savory sweet potato mash, roasted potatoes, homemade applesauce, brownies, Twix bars, and hot cider. Everyone else brought their favorite traditional Thanksgiving food to share. I was still on high alert for cross contamination, Jett accidentally getting into something, and the left over crumbs. But, I was SO thankful that our diet had expanded enough to make foods that everyone could enjoy. And also that we were able to host so we didn’t have to run to three houses on one day!!
Christmas was much like Thanksgiving except I was able to find a safe ham!! Boy, was that delicious!! We hosted again and had an equally large crowd with a similar spread of food and desserts. Jett even had safe cookies and (breast) milk to leave for Santa! We finally found a way to make holidays work for us, after 2.5 years!
In March of 2016, Jett was making some eating progress. He finally was willing to eat when family was over for dinner. He also tried a few new foods. We began taking him to a few restaurants too.. the iPad is necessary for these excursions but how glad are we to have a few places Jett can order a plain burger patty or a steak and some roasted potatoes or fries!! I really enjoy eating a meal someone else has prepared too.
Easter weekend was a little step backwards. Jett is pretty sick with a cold and it’s caused his gagging and throwing up on food to increase. We’ve also had to reinstate videos during meal times to get him to eat at all. Hopefully, we can transition back to toys and songs after he’s better.
We did a small egg hunt in our front yard and Jett LOVED it. We filled eggs with dollar store finds.. plastic bugs and animal figurines, some puzzle pieces, a car, some pistachios, and his favorite snack, Cheecha Puffs (wheels as he calls them). He also had a small Easter basket with other non food items.
We stopped by Mimi’s house and found some more eggs in her yard after lunch and visited. Then we went home for nap time and I finished my first ever, safe, double layer cake! For dinner we went to my parents house where they had bought our safe ham and had it in the oven. I brought all of our safe oils, spices, and the desserts I had made. While finishing dinner prep, Jett did his third egg hunt of the day. He needed a video to eat even just his ham at dinner, but I was so thankful to have a meal I didn’t have to make alone.
Holidays are hard on everyone! I hope this post helps FPIES and allergy parents learn they’re not alone and that there is hope that things will get better. I don’t know if we will ever be restriction free, but at least our family and friends can enjoy the foods that we prepare. We are beginning to plan Jett’s third birthday party and he’ll have a cake he can (but probably won’t) eat!!
Keep your kids safe and enjoy what time you have together with your families! Make memories apart from food and know that it does get easier with time.