So as you know, our new daycare rocks. Yesterday when I arrived to drop Owen off in the morning there was a petting zoo set up on the front lawn. A petting zoo! Complete with miniature ponies and chickens and bunnies. The warm air smelled of sun-warmed poop. There was a class full of toddlers running around with the chickens, reaching their pudgy hands out to try to catch them (unsuccessfully). I turned the corner to park my car and there were sprinklers set up with children running through them, one by one, under the careful observation of teachers who were laughing and running around with them. It was like a picture perfect summer day (poop and all!). Love this place.
On the first day when I came to pick Owen up, I saw a similarly picture perfect scene. Owen and another baby, side by side in high chairs, happily picking up Cheerios one by one and holding them between their tiny fingers before clumsily smooshing them into their mouths. Cheerios. The quintessential toddler snack.
Except for one thing.
And even without reading the label, I can pretty much guarantee you that there are oats in Cheerios.
*Upon further inspection (thank you, Google!), “whole grain oats” are the number one ingredient.
When I dropped Owen off at the new daycare I had submitted some forms that I had written his allergies on, but I didn’t remember to tell anyone about his allergy specifically because at our old daycare they only feed the children what you pack for them. I totally forgot that this new daycare supplies a healthy snack for the kids every day. That day the healthy snack included Cheerios.
I came in the room and my first reaction upon seeing Owen and his little buddy was pure joy. What’s more adorable than babies eating Cheerios together? Until I realized that I have kept this child eczema free for the last few months by having him avoid oats, wheat and gluten (even though oats are the only allergy confirmed by blood test, I’ve been avoiding wheat and gluten since a weird reaction he had to homemade bread awhile ago). MONTHS. He’s had some rough skin come and go during that time, but nothing like the red eczema cheeks he had prior to that. I calmly explained to the teacher that we generally avoid oats and wheat/gluten, but that this could be a test of if his allergy has gone away (subtext: OMG DON’T FEED MY KID SNACKS I DIDN’T APPROVE). It was my fault for not making sure they were aware when I dropped him off. But I didn’t think they were going to feed my baby! Mommy fail.
For the next day, his cheeks were fine. I thought, “Hooray! Allergies are gone! Oats are fine!”. Then slowly, ever so slowly, the eczema began to return. The third day after exposure I felt the raised bumps on his cheeks and saw the redness creeping back on the sides of his face. Sad baby. Then he started itching his face and ears like the good ‘ol days. It’s not a wonder it took me so long to figure out what the culprit was, since it takes 3-4 days for symptoms to appear. Sheesh.
At least this time I knew how to nip it in the bud. Two nights of hydrocortisone later and slathering his cheeks in lotion multiple times a day, his clear skin is back, and no more itching.
That was a close one. I feel very fortunate that his allergy is only eczema, and not anaphylactic or something more life-threatening. And I’m glad I was there to see him eating snack or I might not have known what caused the recurrence. But… problem solved! And at least now I know that (a) his allergy is real, and (b) it still exists.
Seeing how easy it is to identify the allergy is actually a wonderful thing, and I think I’m ready to try wheat/gluten and see if we can expand into a world of homemade breads and wheat-only crackers and things. Goldfish crackers! Saltines! Pretzels! The possibilities are endless. Fingers crossed those red cheeks stay away.
Oh, Cheerios. How I wish my baby could eat you.