Enjoy the Watermelon!

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Yippeee! There is watermelon in my fridge!

Why is this such a huge deal? Watermelon is a new food our son tried and didn’t throw up, gag, break out in hives, swell up, have to use the epi pen, go the ER, … I could go on.

Ignore the state of my fridge and note the small container of watermelon.
Ignore the state of my fridge and note the small container of watermelon.

D-Man has food allergies, lots of food allergies. One of his most unusual ones is an allergy to cucumbers. He throws up immediately after tasting one. We found this out a couple times by having him lick/suck on the end of a pickle at a restaurant when he was between 1 and 2 years old. We always thought he just had a sensitive stomach. After his other food reactions and allergies came to light (peanuts, tree nuts, fin fish, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds) we insisted on having him tested for cucumbers. The allergist, who I trust and is very well respected, said that a cucumber allergy is incredibly rare and that he has never seen one….Well now he has. D-Man reacted to the cucumber on his skin test and blood test.

cucumbers are in the melon food family

Why are we so excited about watermelon? Cucumbers are in the melon family and anything in the family he would be more likely to be allergic to. Late last summer we tried cantaloupe and D-Man had one bite and said it made his stomach feel upset. We decided to wait until next summer to try melons again.

It’s takes a bit of planning to try a new food in our family:

  • First is to get the food. I was not about to go out and buy a whole watermelon and end up having to throw it out. We couldn’t buy a pre-sliced watermelon at the grocery due to cross contamination. My mom helped us out and gave us some of hers she recently cut up and we knew wasn’t cross contaminated.
  • Second is to plan the day. We try new items on the weekend or day off. If we have to go the ER we don’t want it to be a work/school night. We avoid trying things on days we have something else planned. This can get tricky in the summer when the weekends really fill up!
  • Third is to plan the time of day. We try in the morning or noon time.  If we have to go the ER we do not want to go there at night. Also food allergy reactions can have a delayed effect. We do not want to go to sleep and not know what going on with D-Man.

When all the stars align and we have nothing else to do that day we start trying a new food. We rub it on D-Man’s skin not his face to see if contact makes him react…wait a few minutes then rub it on his lips….wait a few minutes then have him take a bite.

That last bit is sometimes the hardest. My kiddo, like many others with food allergies, is not that adventurous of an eater. I really can’t blame him I wouldn’t be adventurous if my throat closed up or I threw up from eating different foods. We also like to make sure we introduce a new food in a bright light, we don’t want to set him up for failure. Although my husband or I may be nervous about him tasting something new we don’t want that nervousness to hamper his ability. We avoid sayings like “is the food making your stomach feel bad?” instead we say stuff like “what do you think of the new food?” He is a four year old and if we put an idea in his head he will run with it.

So now after the planning and the set up, D-Man took a bite of watermelon. He didn’t like it because is was too wet and kind of squishy in his mouth, but he said his belly liked it. So YIPPEE! He can eat watermelon, but right now it’s too squishy in his mouth to try it again.

UPdate: there is now cantaloupe in my fridge!

D-Man had another go at the cantaloupe today. He is older, 5 now, and able to communicate better about if a food is “yucky” or if it is making him sick. The last time we tried cantaloupe he was 3 and did not have the words to explain how the food made him feel. Today we went through our steps. I rubbed a slice on D-Man’s skin, waiting and watched for 15 minutes,  no reaction and no itchiness. I rubbed some around his mouth, waited and watched for 15 minutes, no reaction. Next D-Man hesitantly placed a piece in his mouth and swallowed. He said it was “kind of okay and kind of not okay.” My question was, what does that mean. His response “It’s not as good at strawberries but much better than blueberries.”

Adding another food to our list of safe to eat items, cantaloupe. #foodallergies #cucumberallergy #funhappinessandlife
On our plate at dinner tonight, CANTALOUPE

My son does not like blueberries and loves strawberries. So at the end of the story we have yet one more food to move out of the “maybe unsafe to eat” category and put it into the “yes D-Man can eat that!”