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December 17, 2013 / ginavoskov2013


I didn’t realize, guys, that I’d written three times in a row about how I can now “introduce solids.” And considering I write like once a month, that means I’ve been writing about the same thing for three months. You’re either not picking up on this yourselves or you’re so incredibly kind as to not mention it–kind of like when I have salad in my teeth and you don’t say a thing and I just go on smiling, which is always fun. I was going to write once more about introducing solids, but I’m actually pretty much past the introduction of them and am giving Edie new things all the time. She’s eaten, among other foods, paneer, yogurt, avocado, papaya, and yesterday had some kind of apple/plum/kamut puree. Do you know what kamut is? I had no idea, but it sounded ancient and hippy-ish, and so I bought it. It’s wheat. 

I have read so much about when to introduce certain foods and how and why and blah, blah, blah. Years ago, I think the rule of thumb was to introduce one new food a week to see if the baby would have an allergic reaction. When we talked to our pediatrician, she said don’t bother with that. Why wait to find out if your child has an allergy? It’s better to know sooner, was her reasoning. That is fine with me, so I’ve been giving Edie tastes of nearly everything I’m eating, except for, obviously, the chocolate chip cookie dough that I made last week (from which I produced exactly 8 cookies and saved the rest of the dough to eat as dough. Don’t judge.) So far she has been totally fine and had zero reactions. Unless farting is a reaction? Because then she must be allergic to everything.

When did all these allergies, and fear of allergies, develop? During my first years of teaching, I had students who were allergic to NOTHING. Ten years later and students are allergic to all sorts of things: wheat, sugar, dairy, butterflies, cold air, mittens, rumors… (Side note: my first years of teaching were spent in an inner-city school system where most kids received free or reduced lunch. Now I teach at a private school in Manhattan where there’s no such thing as “free or reduced” and suddenly there are all types of food allergies.  Could food allergies somehow be related to people’s socioeconomic status?) I didn’t know a single kid who was allergic to food when I was growing up and I think that’s because our parents weren’t super careful about us. I mean, they cared for us but didn’t hover over us. Or use hand sanitizer. We didn’t even have hand sanitizer. When did that even come onto the market as something all households should have? My family didn’t have hand sanitizer. This is not to say we all lived in hovels made of dirt, but our parents were definitely not afraid of us playing in it. I literally played on a dirt pile in my friend’s back yard for a solid year straight–in the winter, too. I’ve never had as much fun since. And it’s pretty likely a good amount of dirt ended up in my mouth, which is probably the reason I don’t have any food allergies. Both Dennis and I are strong believers that getting dirty makes kids stronger. I don’t mean that we should be sending Edith outside to play in trash cans or that I’m going to feed her an e coli and salmonella puree, but a small amount of dirt isn’t going to hurt her.

You know, anything to justify the fact that my house is an insane mess.

No, but what I mean is that I think we have a whole generation of kids whose parents are too concerned about germs, creating environments that are unnaturally clean, so kids’ immune systems freak out when they encounter a new substance. My grandparents’ generation pretty much let their kids chew on raw shellfish straight out of the womb, so I’m going to try to strike a balance between unhealthy exposure to allergens and making Edie live in a plastic bubble. I’m probably slightly less cautious of germs than the average New York City parent. We stopped using hand sanitizer a few weeks after Edie was born because I kept losing all the travel sized bottles. When a toy falls on the floor in my house, I brush it off and give it back to her. Obviously, when another child sucks on Edie’s pacifier, I don’t pop it straight into her mouth, so I have limits to my reluctance to clean things, most of which is motivated by laziness and a belief that she will be fine.

However, I’ve been developing some anxiety about the trip to Belize. Not because of a fear of allergies, but a fear of her getting sick from the water. I fired my boobs since they weren’t filling out their TPS reports, so Edie is mostly on formula, which means I need to mix it with water. I was boiling the water for a month until our pediatrician said I didn’t need to bother. But what about Belize? Do I bring water with me? Will she be okay with the bottled water in Belize? Should I boil that, too? And what about fruit? Can I just give her fruit? Do I need to cook it or do anything special to it? Ugh. Help me.




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  1. meeshie / Dec 17 2013 9:43 am

    Wow – you so made me giggle today. No, you do not have to boil bottled water. Bottled water is fine for making formula with in foreign lands. I’d be careful of anything bought off of local fruit stands and stuff because you haven’t a clue how its fertilized or treated (don’t ask why I know this. Just.. don’t ask.) but otherwise you should be fine.

    • ginavoskov2013 / Dec 17 2013 10:44 am

      Okay, I figured that was overdoing it. 🙂 but now I do want to ask about the fruit…

      • meeshie / Dec 17 2013 12:25 pm

        Last time I visited Mexico I was traveling past one of those small town farms and saw guys umm… fertilizing their trees in a very natural and human way involving their lack of pants. And humans carry a lot of stuff in their.. err.. crap.. so.. yeah… not worth the chance of ecoli.

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