Aw, Nuts.

peanut-allergiesIt really had been such a lovely Mother’s Day. I was the first out of bed and was greeted by a cheery kitchen table display of cards and gifts. Next out of bed was Graham, who – as he was padding down the stairs – announced that I should open my special Mother’s Day chocolates that Daddy had bought me.

Really, spending money on gift wrap is a pretty ridiculous expense when you’ve got a 4-year-old around the house. Yet, we persist for some unknown reason.

The day meandered from this activity to the next. All at home, per my request, since home is where I’ve wished to be for the last two weeks.

After naps, the boys were hungry. I spied an unopened package of English muffins and announced that was what would be served, with peanut butter, for snack. I really should know better, because when I get that specific, it’s like demanding that some line item of the contract be renegotiated. And so it was.

[parental gobbledegook spoken in gently reprimanding tones]

The English muffins were prepared, the jelly muffin was quickly snubbed for “tasting weird” and the peanut butter muffin wasn’t met with much more enthusiasm. Reid, at his tender 17 months of age, wasn’t exactly sure what we wanted him to do with the puck-shaped snack with jaggedy sharp points sticking off the top. It was covered with sticky warm gloop though, so that clearly must’ve been the selling point.

He splayed out his chubby hand and laid it smack in the middle of the peanut butter, picked it up, looked at it, made a few fists in rapid succession, then reloaded his weapon and began making like William Wallace.


“Guess it’s bath night… aww man, he’s getting it in his eye,” said Andy. He headed for the paper towel, ran some water on it and took to cleaning up our Kabuki artist. “Can you help me? He keeps rubbing his eye with his peanut-buttery hand.”

Eventually Andy grabbed Reid and headed upstairs for an actual washcloth and running water. I resumed my discussion with Graham, insisting that, no, jelly does not “go bad” or “turn rotten” but he probably just didn’t like the taste, which is fine… when a voice from upstairs came:

“Uhhh. We’re having an allergic reaction to peanut butter up here!”

I jogged up the stairs, figuring Reid’s eye was just irritated from the foreign material, when I was met by a smiling baby with wide, bright-red strips criss-crossing all over his face and small bumps raising among the red marks. His eye, yes, was red too and watering.

One thing I will say about myself, is that I have an uncanny ability to shut out emotion and lock into tactical mode in a crisis. Not that this was life-threatening, but OK, he was having a reaction to peanuts, so I guess maybe the word ‘crisis’ applies.

(That’s the thing about parenting. When something acute like a fever crops up, your mind just sort of downshifts into if-then scenarios. When you experience something for the first time, the possible paths of ALL THE WAYS THIS COULD PLAY OUT are darn near infinite – which makes being a new parent sort of exhausting.)

But in crises, I can deal. I don’t panic. I like this about me. “Put him on the counter, I’ll get the Benadryl.” We got a teaspoon of Benadryl in Reid, and then I told Andy we should get him in the bath to get any remaining peanut butter off of him.

While Reid was in the bath, I asked Dr. Google what symptoms I should watch for. The question in my head is always about escalation: 1) At what point do we call the nurse/doctor 2) At what point do we go to the ER.

Being a Sunday, our only real choice was the ER, and I wanted to avoid that as much as humanly possible. I gathered a list of respiratory reaction symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing) to look for, stopped in the kitchen to calm the wail of requests for a “PEAR!! MOMMY I DECIDED, I WANT A PEAR!!! MOMMY???” and headed upstairs to check on Reid and download the list of things to watch for to Andy.

Reid wasn’t in distress. He was happily kicking in the bath, loving all the attention. We noticed some mild swelling around his eye, but he wasn’t getting any worse otherwise.

An hour later, the hives were gone, and Reid just had the look of a kid who’d been crying his eyes out. Just a teeny bit rosy, with pink watery eyes and a bit of that under-eye puffiness.


This morning I called his doctor’s office for a follow-up. His primary care pediatrician isn’t in the office today, and I insisted on seeing her – as this will be a fairly critical on-going issue we want her to be aware and mindful of. We go see her tomorrow for additional testing. Usually this is just a blood test that gives us an understanding of his immune sensitivity to the biggest known allergens. This is the first [and maybe only] step.

Reid has had persistent eczema all his life, so his pediatrician has brought up the idea of doing allergy testing before. Eczema, apparently, can be a reaction to an environmental or food allergy. I pray for God’s sheer grace that Reid doesn’t have a milk allergy because I’m not sure how our Moose would handle that news. Milk products are his life.

So, we’ll keep this posted as we learn more. Second kids, man. They think up a whole new bag of tricks just to keep you on your toes!!


  1. Poor Reid. On the positive side, the reaction could have been much, much worse, especially considering the peanut butter facial he gave himself. Sounds like a mild allergy at worse so you probably don’t have to be one of those parents that has to ask other parents to keep all environments nut-free. And if this leads to further explanation of other allergens, it might just be a blessing in disguise.

    At least the poor guy recovered quickly. Good work, Mom and Dad.

%d bloggers like this: