Hope has severe food allergies. So I was glad to make it through the Halloween hype and abundance of chocolatey, nutty candy without a trip to the emergency room.

We’ve had a string of infractions lately that have added a few more gray hairs. Talk about learning to trust God with my children…


Hope had allergic reactions to my breastmilk

Every time I leave her in the care of others, prayers are whispered that she will be safe.

Last week, I got a call from her nursery school: “We were tracing letters of the alphabet in flour and….” Ugh, I already knew what was coming.

Then today I got a call from the school where Hope is a peer model: “She ate another child’s chicken nugget and instantly broke out in hives around her mouth…”

In her almost 3 years of life, Hope has been sickened enough times by touching/eating a forbidden food to know better than to just put anything in her mouth. She has learned to be very careful, to question foods that are unfamiliar. When asked, she can list ‘nuts, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy and sometimes corn’ as the foods she’s allergic to. So I was surprised to hear that she had eaten a chicken nugget without hesitation.

When I got to the school to pick her up, my friend Dawn told me that Hope has the same lunch bag as another child’s. Their bags got mixed up and Hope ended up eating the nugget. I understood the mix-up, but was still confused. When I saw Hope, I asked her what happened. (At this point she’d already received a good dose of Benadryl and was doing fine. Thankfully there was nothing in the nugget that would cause anaphylaxis.)

She said sadly, “I thought it was my surprise. I thought I wasn’t allergic anymore.”


On school days, I always pack a “surprise” in her lunch.

She is such a good sport. I learn a lesson from her every time I watch her at a birthday party. While other children enjoy pizza, cake and ice-cream without a second thought, she is content to eat her rice and gluten-free pretzels. There have been times when I have wanted to utter a “Woe is me” on her behalf. But she never complains, never compares, she’s just happy to be there.

“Hope, baby,” I said. “You’re still allergic.”

Her head was down, but I could see the worry in her eyes.

“I’m not mad, honey. We’ll go home and Mommy will make some of your special nuggets and we’ll watch Strawberry Shortcake. O.K.?”

Then a grin popped onto her face,

“Well, Praise the Lord!” she declared.



Children’s Hospital Boston recently published an article on Fighting Food Allergies.

27 thoughts on “Allergyville

  1. ug, I can only imagine what happens at birthday parties. The enemy: the ubiquitous pizza and cake. btw, we’ve started “food challenges” in a controlled environment at an allergy clinic through Children’s. So far, so good for Jeremy, but Jeremy’s allergies are only moderate (though anaphalactic).

  2. She is just too precious. I love the way she just let it go and has a good attitude! Wow, that pic of her with the allergic reaction as a baby – that was intense! I always feel so lucky that none of my 4 children have any allergies at all, bc that must be very difficult to stay on top of, esp. in hope’s case where she has so many and they are in like EVERY food under the sun! ugh! you both are troopers!

  3. Hope will have a-MAZING impulse control and therefore, great emotional intelligence. I’m sure that doesn’t matter so much as Strawberry Shortcake, though. You two are sweetness!

  4. Wow, she knows so much at such a young age about her allergies. I don’t know how you make it through Halloween and birthday parties! Amazing control. It’s a shame that people still don’t “get” how dangerous food allergies are.

  5. Its not every day that a two and a half year old’s faith blows you out of the water. Jesus restores that girl’s soul time and time again. Thanks, Jeneil for giving us glimpses of His work in your little ones’ lives!

  6. she has such a special personality. love the “praise the Lord” at the end! and thanks for the updated pic! she is getting so grown up!!

  7. The part about her thinking the chicken nugget was a surprise and that she wasn’t allergic anymore is a heartbreaker! It seems though that Hope is smart enough to realize that there are many things in life that are more wonderful than food, things she’ll never be allergic to, like watching a favorite show with her mama!

  8. AW that is the BEST response! 🙂 At least there are more goodies these days available for allergic folks- my mother in law is allergic to some of the same things and she makes a long trek to go to a Whole Foods. Other folks I know order treats online.

    Glad she has some perspective. I was such a whiner as a kid 😉

  9. Hope is too precious! Is arranged marriage still okay with you? lol. I am praying for that day where she won’t have allergies anymore, but even still we say, “Praise the Lord.”

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