To most, these shelves are filled with all kinds of delicious treats – ice cream, chips, cheese and oh so many yummy snacks. I watch kids helping to push the carriage and grab all their favorite foods to lob into the cart. I watch as they answer “yes” when the deli counter attendants ask, “would you like to try a slice” or as they bask in all of the free samples meticulously placed outside each aisle. I watch with sadness behind my eyes because I watch these other families knowing that we are unable to walk around the grocery store with such ease. To us, the grocery store is more of a minefield than a fun outing.
When we get to the grocery store, we immediately must take every precaution to keep our daughter safe. First, we wipe the handle and seat down with our favorite Wet Ones wipes. Why you ask? Well, how many times have your children munched on a yummy snack while you pushed them around the grocery store? Even though that Starbucks Cake Pop tastes delicious (have you tried the new snowman one?), the allergen proteins that go from that cake pop to the seat are more than you can imagine.
Next, we cover the seat with our handy dandy Target seat cover. I’ll be honest, before we had Olivia I judged other parents that had these, hard. I would think to myself, really? Your kid cant handle a few germs – I am embarrassed to think that used to be my thought process but it was. Now look at me! I could be the spokesperson why these covers are so amazing! Pushing aside the germs argument (have you looked at the highchairs at some restaurants? Yuck!), the seat cover is an extra level of protection for Olivia against any food that may have avoided my wipe.
Finally, I give Olivia her bag of safe snacks and push her around the grocery store – keeping the cart far away from the nuts, which are so wonderfully placed in the same aisle as the BANANAS. Ugh, that subject is for another blog post…
Olivia knows her rules at the grocery store – we don’t touch the cart unless we wipe it down and we stay seated and in our seat. There is no walking around the grocery store for her – at least not until she is big enough to respect and understand how serious her food allergies are. For now, the wooden bear that protects the honey and allergy free aisle amazes her – don’t worry, we pet and greet him every time we go – and the robot that cleans the grocery store is a must see!
For any new allergy moms – you will figure out how to navigate intimidating places like the local grocery store. Take every precaution to make yourself and your child feel at your most prepared and you will get in and out in one piece. And you will start creating your own traditions – who needs that deli cheese anyway?! Remember stay prepared – not paranoid. We got this.