When our now 3yo daughter Miss J had her first anaphylactic reaction at 5 months of age, I felt like we had immediately been segregated from the “normal” world. We had found out that some foods are poison for our little girl, and as most Mums will know, when you’re trying to socialise with a bub, food is everywhere.
Mum’s & bubs meet for coffee, or go to McDonalds for the kids to play and Mums to catch up, in cafes/coffee shops there is food & drink all around, on tables, on chairs, on the underside of tables, on the floor & windows. Playgroups usually involve morning tea, and if not, most kids are chomping away at one time or another during the session. Even going to rhyme time at the library had food involved, Miss J crawled over to the books during one session only to find a cheese & cracker dip box tucked in with the books (luckily I was watching like a hawk).
What can happen, well at least happened to me, was I started to isolate myself. If Miss J and I went to playgroup, I would stay with her, and not go into the kitchen area to chat with the other Mums, as it was too risky to leave Miss J playing with other kids, who were eating cupcakes, biscuits, etc. If I ever did go for a coffee with other Mums I would try and time it for when Miss J would sleep in her pram, as it was so stressful trying to keep her wandering hands over everything.
Fast forwarding 2.5 years and I have been able to find a better way to deal with it, plus Miss J is older, and will listen (most of the time!) when I ask her not to touch something. She understands her allergies, and for the most part is really good when we’re out. I still don’t go to cafe’s very often, I think I’ve taken her for a soy coffee & soy shake (soy milk in cup brought from home, and bought out by waitress with much fanfare!!) twice since we moved her in April 2014. Twice isn’t much, but it’s 200% more than I had done in the prior 2 years!
The allergy world, while at first it can seem like you’re on your own, can actually be a pretty tight knit place. There are some great Facebook pages like Anaphylaxis & Allergy Friends Australia, which is a great place to “meet” other allergy families, who are battling the same things you might be. There are some great allergy related websites, blogs, Instagram & twitter accounts, etc.
Recently Miss J had a baked egg challenge in Melbourne (failed at first taste), and while at the Epworth for that challenge, we met Oliver from Oliver’s Choice, and his parents. It’s funny how things work out, we realised that we were both readers of each others blogs. Oliver’s Mum and I have stayed in touch, we both live in country Vic, by the sea, and have a child with life threatening allergies. I have bookmarked several of her recipes, and plan to try them over the coming months.
Another recent coincidence brings me to Jack’s Cookies.
My aunt works in the Emergency Department of the local hospital. And over the past 6 months or so she has been telling me about this “little boy with allergies” that she has seen at the hospital, and that she has been speaking to his Mum, about Miss J, saying it would be great for us to get in touch. Due to confidentiality restrictions my aunt wasn’t able to tell me the name of the mum or the boy, so it was something that came to mind often but not something I could really do much about.
That was until a few weeks back when our local paper ran an article about “Some Foods Make Me Sick – Jack’s Story” (it’s a good article, well worth a read). As soon as I read the article I realised it was the family my aunt had mentioned.
The article didn’t list any way to contact the family so I tweeted the paper and they tweeted back the Facebook page run by Jacks Mum, Journey for Jack.
From here I got in touch with Jack’s Mum, and we had a quick chat. A few weeks later she posted a photo of some date cookies, Jack’s Cookies, that her son loved and that were an easy quick recipe. I asked if she would mind sharing the recipe, and she generously gave me the recipe.
As we walked through Flagstaff Hill, stopping here and there for craft sessions, I recognised a little boy walking with his mum, I asked my husband if he thought the little boy looked like Jack from the newspaper article, he agreed he did. So with some coaxing from hubby I tapped the lady, who I now know as Katherine, on the shoulder and asked if the little boy was Jack. It was, yay, not totally humiliated!
We had a quick chat, introducing our “allergy kids” to each other, and then were on our way again. About 15 minutes later we were getting ready to meet the Maremma dogs and Katherine tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we would like to try one of the cookies that she had given me the recipe for. We jumped at the chance! Hubby & I had a quick taste, they were very tasty, then Miss J wanted a bite, and proceeded to devour the whole cookie, declaring it was “delicious & nutritious”!
So this leads me, rather long-windedly, to the recipe for Jack’s Date Cookies! Katherine very graciously agreed to let me post her recipe, which can also be found on her facebook page – Journey For Jack – a 3yo with Epilepsy & Anaphylaxis. If you try the recipe and love the cookies as much as we do, I would love you to get in touch with me and let me know, and definitely let Katherine know too, I’m sure she would love to know people are loving her & Jack’s Cookies!
Recipe & Photos Follow
- 3 cups Plain Flour
- 2 cups pitted Medjool Dates
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Chia "Eggs" (2 tablespoons chia seeds, 6 tablespoons water)
- ½ cup Raw Sugar (optional)
- ⅔ cup Coconut Oil
- Make chia "eggs" by adding 6 tablespoons of water to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. Mix well and allow to expand and form a gel like mixture
- Preheat oven to 180c
- Chop dates in food processor, then add all other ingredients, except for the coconut oil, and mix, then transfer to a large bowl
- Melt the coconut oil, allow to cool slightly, then add to the bowl and stir
- Roll spoonfuls of mixture into balls, place on lined tray and press with fork
- Bake for 15 minutes or until edges start to darken
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
Till next time,
Mel – This Happ-y Mumma