Valentine’s Day is coming up soon.
For most that means L-O-V-E and giving tokens to those we care about.
For this Mom, it means combating another candy filled holiday with a child that has a food allergy.
Food allergy advocacy is something I’m passionate about, but I’ll try and get off my soapbox quickly. When something as simple as a chocolate or gummy bear can mean an ambulance ride to the ER for your child, you tend to dread the candy holidays.
We learned of my sons food allergy at Christmas when he was two years old. He ate (more like tasted) a caramel cashew turtle off of a goody tray that had been given to us as a gift. It was instant… swelling, redness, hives, vomiting, sneezing, wheezing, trying to vomit and choking. Terrifying.
We called 911.
Fire, ambulance and police showed up. The ambulance gave him epinephrine on the way to the hospital. This is when we first heard the word ‘anaphylaxis’. Thankfully, we reacted quickly and made it to the hospital, because my son had what is called a ‘biphasic anaphylaxic’ reaction. Which means he had a second reaction hours after the first, (without taking in any more of the allergen) his heart rate elevated, and required additional doses of epinephrine.
This was all a shock to my husband and I. We have no family history of food allergies, and this is our youngest child. . . We were clueless about food allergies.
We have since learned about food allergies, and it doesn’t rule my son’s life.
Yes, there are things he cannot have and we have to be on guard for his allergens.
Yes, he has to learn self-responsibility a bit different than other children.
Yes, we have had other reactions.
We cannot remove his allergens from the world. Many people have personal struggles that they have to triumph every single day. Thankfully, his is very manageable.
All that said, holidays are a bit more stressful than normal days. Candy is so mass produced on holidays that it’s usually impossible to get any candy that doesn’t contain, or hasn’t been in contact with, his allergen. Therefore, we are the people that you usually get toy trinkets from on holidays. Hey – that’s not too bad, right? A little less sugar in the goody bag sent home from school.
Here are some great alternatives to candy on Valentine’s Day for children. I have also provided free printable tags to go along with these three.
Non-Candy Valentine’s Day Gifts
I hope these gift ideas still make for a sweet treat for those you care about.