The Caterpillar on her Arm

We had been waiting for an appointment since October.

October 7th.

The day that our whole worlds changed.

We would never look at foods or environments the same again.

at the hospital

Grocery shopping became a new experience.

Choosing a care giver was an interview process that included a peanut free home, education sessions, and information on how to administer and EpiPen.

We counted down the days until we would see the allergist.

And secretly I hoped that the doctors had been wrong.

She went first, holding out her arm for the Dr. to draw a caterpillar along its length.

A bug with 12 legs.

A huge smile.

6 drops of water up its back.

And then 6 tiny mosquito bites that the caterpillar barely notices.

She giggled at the story and watched the insect come to life in front of her.

Daddy’s turn was next.

His caterpillar wasn’t so kind and he needed more hugs.

With testing complete and daddy’s tears dried we were ready for the results.

I held my breath and looked at the raised bumps on my daughters’ arms.

I looked atΒ  Brian’s red bumpy skin.

And I braced myself.

Allergy to peanuts.

It was official.

And Brian?

Peanuts, almonds, hazel nuts, dogs, cats, horses, feathers, all trees, and crab.

And I was worried about my daughter?

iPhone Photo Phun

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89 Responses to The Caterpillar on her Arm
  1. Alison@Mama Wants This
    January 11, 2012 | 6:19 am

    Oh your poor girl and man! I can’t imagine how hard it must be. I just spoke to a mom of 3, whose eldest has a severe peanut allergy, and she says, now that he’s 3 1/2, he’s a wise one. He doesn’t eat anything that’s offered to him that he’s unsure of, as he knows of his allergy, wants to be careful. Awareness in one so young, is a beautiful thing.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:45 pm

      Funny you say this.
      We have been teaching her to say “no peanuts”

  2. liz
    January 11, 2012 | 7:45 am

    Oh my! That’s a huge life shift for all of you. Not only will the foods you eat (and eating out!) be forever changed, but the danger that requires the epi pen.

    So sorry to hear it, dollcakes!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:44 pm

      We’ve adjusted our lives since October and are slowly getting used to it. Because Brian has a peanut allergy, which we didn’t realize was so severe, we already avoided peanuts as much as possible.
      But not as much as we should have.
      We sure will now.

  3. Greta @gfunkified
    January 11, 2012 | 8:05 am

    oh no! I’m so sorry. At least she did well at the appointment. Did your husband have any idea he was allergic to so many things?

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:43 pm

      We knew that he was allergic to a lot of things and to peanuts but we had no idea that the peanut allergy was so severe and there was such a degree of allergies.

  4. Jackie
    January 11, 2012 | 8:34 am

    The best part is that you know now. Learning to live with it may be a challenge but one that is easy to overcome.
    It looks like she did well though!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:38 pm

      She did great! I was so proud of her.
      Her dad on the other hand had a rough time. LOL

  5. Teresa
    January 11, 2012 | 8:46 am

    Oh man!! Not cool at all, but I am glad you have answers. I take it your hubby is excused from yardwork now? ugh.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:37 pm

      No WAY!!

  6. Kapaldo Family
    January 11, 2012 | 8:48 am

    We found out the hard way about my eldest’s walnut allergy and then crab when we saw the allergist. It’s crazy what sorts of things are manufactured in facilities that also handle peanuts, treenuts, and even shellfish. I end up making a lot of baked goods from scratch. Some companies are nice enough to straight up tell you they are peanut/nut-free (like Tootsie Roll) which is nice. It is a different way of life, but it is doable!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:36 pm

      Most companies here are supposed to disclose but there are some little small companies that don’t. As well as the household products that contain it.

  7. Lindsay
    January 11, 2012 | 8:54 am

    I was terrified that my boys would be allergic to peanuts… it’s so scary.
    But I’m so glad that you now know exactly what the allergy is and it’s extent.

    Does this mean B doesn’t have to clean the pool anymore? pfft.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:33 pm

      Oh he’s cleaning the Mutha Heffing pool!

  8. imperfectmomma
    January 11, 2012 | 10:05 am

    Wow. Thats a lot to handle all at once. Hope your baby takes these allergies in stride. And I hope your daughter does too. πŸ˜‰

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:30 pm


  9. Jenn@Fox in the City
    January 11, 2012 | 10:17 am

    What a brave little girl you have! It wasn’t something I gave much thought to until my BFF’s little girl turned out to be allergic to peanuts . . . and then her son to seasame seeds. Now I think about it. I can’t imagine how scary it must be to have that worry in the back of your mind at all times.

    Peanut free seems to be a whole lot easier now than it used to be. Also, I totally recommend the WOW Butter. It is a Canadian product that tastes just like peanut butter but is made with soy. πŸ™‚

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:30 pm

      OOOHH I’m so going to try that!
      Thank you.

  10. Amanda Austin
    January 11, 2012 | 10:33 am

    Oh my word!! Poor guy!

    It’s kind of cool how they tested her! I’m sure the story made her feel a little better.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:29 pm

      She loved the story and giggled through the whole thing.
      Brian on the other hand….

  11. Miss Marina Star
    January 11, 2012 | 11:36 am

    I cannot believe he’s lived this long without realizing he had so many allergies. That’s nuts!

    That was bad, I know.

    But I am sorry that you learned about your daughter’s allergy in such a frightening way. I can’t even imagine how this would alter our lives. Hopefully you have a supportive school with other parents who understand the importance of keeping it peanut free.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:27 pm

      The daycare that we are interviewing is peanut free and we are constantly educating our family on the dangers.
      Brian had an idea about his allergies but we had no idea it was this bad.
      What an eye opener!

  12. Christina
    January 11, 2012 | 12:19 pm

    Oh that makes me sad for you guys. Those type of allergies are the worst, sorry you are having to go through this.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:20 pm

      Thank you!
      I am surprised with the amount of children who have this allergy now.

  13. Jamie
    January 11, 2012 | 12:35 pm

    Gosh. Glad you found out. I remember being on a field trip once to a farmer’s market. He teacher bought packs of muffins and we sat down to eat. The minute the child across from me swallowed — back up it came. Even though nuts weren’t list on ingredients, obviously there was something there…that was nutty. Good luck and glad you know.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:19 pm

      That is my biggest fear!
      my daughter eating something and having a reaction and peanuts not being listed on the pkg.

  14. Eve
    January 11, 2012 | 12:55 pm

    Oh no, I’m so sorry! I have a nephew who is allergic, so I know what a big change it will bring. My sister was terrified at first, but she quickly became a pro at watching out for him and teaching him how to watch out for himself. Just keep telling yourself, you’re a strong woman, and you got this!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:18 pm

      This is what I’ve heard.
      People who have been through it tell me that I will become a pro at learning what to watch for and reading every label.
      Thank you for your sweet sweet comment xo

  15. Surferwife
    January 11, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    oh man. Poor Momma! My nephew has (had?) a severe peanut allergy that now seems to be nearly gone. (He’s 13 now).

    Your poor little baby girl.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:14 pm

      That gives me super hope that people do grow out of it!
      Fingers crossed!

  16. Kristin
    January 11, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    Oh dear. That’s a hard diagnosis but I hope knowing is better than suspecting.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:13 pm

      you are so very right! Knowing is one million times better!

  17. Brianne
    January 11, 2012 | 2:46 pm

    So glad that you caught all this before something awful happened! That’s a huge plus!

    Once you get this figured out, I’d like to know how as a non-allergy house we could be friends to your kiddo without making her feel bad or awkward. Always want to be helpful not hurtful and my big stupid mouth isn’t always on the same page!

    Good luck!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:12 pm

      Oh what a wonderful thing to ask! SO SO SO Wonderful!
      What a great post idea!!
      I will get back to you once I learn more!!
      I love that you asked that.
      How open minded and super awesome of you! I’m busting with happiness over here and want to hug the crap out of you!

  18. Kir
    January 11, 2012 | 3:09 pm

    I have been giving a LOT of thought to things like this lately..because even though the boys are not allerigic to anything (that we know of) I am trying to be so vigilant about what we are doing in the space of other children who might be. I told another mom just the other day “it takes a village” and I believe that…that it’s up to all of us to keep everyone , especially our little kiddos, safe.

    I am so sorry that this is something that you need to be very aware of for both the baby girl and Brian. it won’t always be easy and that’s what makes it even harder.

    that picture of her just killed me…I want to hug her up.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:10 pm

      Thank you so much, from the parent of a child with an allergy, for being aware!
      Those who are ignorant and don’t care, or don’t take the time to learn about making their environment safe for all children really get my goat!

  19. Katie E
    January 11, 2012 | 3:15 pm

    Oh, goodness! We are a very allergic family, so we’ve been through that testing and it’s really NOT fun. But we don’t have any food allergies, and I know those are so much harder to deal with. At the same time, it seems like peanut allergies specifically are common enough these days that schools really already accommodate them. My girls go to public school, and they never serve anything with peanuts in the cafeteria because of allergies, and you’re not allowed to bring anything to classrooms that contains peanuts. So hopefully it won’t be quite as bad as you’re expecting once you get used to it! (Not to diminish the scariness of having to deal with that at all – I KNOW it must be hard!)

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:08 pm

      The schools are getting better now, as are the daycares! We have found that we have to educate our families and friends continually and of course our daughter.

  20. Angie
    January 11, 2012 | 4:46 pm

    Oh, hon, I am SO sorry. How terrifying that must be for all of you.

    I hope you’ve got access to a Whole Foods or an EarthFare or something that will hopefully make avoiding your allergens easier.

    And I’m so proud of your little girl for going through that allergy test and doing so well. Big hugs to all of you.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:05 pm

      We have a health food store that we’re going to be making GOOD use of!!

  21. Amber
    January 11, 2012 | 6:38 pm

    I’m here if you need any help with the peanut Allergy. Then I’m highly allergic to all shellfish. πŸ™‚ So I’ve got some good tricks and tips. πŸ˜‰ At lease in my head they are anyways.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:05 pm

      Thank you!
      I have tucked you away as a resource already! You are awesome.. in case I haven’t told you lately.

  22. Kimberly
    January 11, 2012 | 7:12 pm

    Oh. My….
    This is so serious.
    I am so so so so sorry.
    That allergy is scary.
    Sending non-peanut butter smeared hugs.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:03 pm

      Thank you my friend!
      I love your hugs.
      No matter what kind of sticky, gooey, icky sauces you’ve been into.

  23. Erica M
    January 11, 2012 | 7:26 pm

    I’m such a goober getting weepy at an allergy post. Poor Daddy. What a cute little girl!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:41 pm

      awwww! You are so sweet! xo

  24. Ado
    January 11, 2012 | 7:37 pm

    Wow. I’m amazed by all of this post – the photo of your red faced, allergic daughter in hospital, the amazingness of the doctor who drew the caterpillar – how fantastic was that?! – and the size of those mozzie bites on her arm – and the fact that your husband didn’t know he was allergic to all that stuff until now! Wow.

    Pardon the pun – that must’ve been a lot for you to swallow.
    I hope everybody’s all better now and that you are all adjusting to this huge life change for you!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 11, 2012 | 9:41 pm

      Luckily we had from october until now to digest that she was allergic, that we would need testing, to learn how to watch for peanuts, and to educate our families and friends.
      If it had all happened at once it would have made my head explode.

  25. Andrea @ The Penny-Roach's
    January 11, 2012 | 9:09 pm

    I really like how the doctors helped her through the tests with the caterpillar. I can’t imagine that’s very easy to do. Good luck on getting through all the upcoming changes.

  26. Cookie's Mom
    January 11, 2012 | 9:18 pm

    Allergies are never fun to deal with. Sorry to hear about the nut allergies. πŸ™

    On the plus side, at least you are in good company these days. Much more common and understood now that when we were kids.

  27. Laura@Catharsis
    January 11, 2012 | 10:09 pm

    Oh, I am so sorry. That’s so unfair. I can only imagine the stress involved in making sure she is safe on a daily basis. My only experience with allergies are my brother’s potentially fatal allergy to Tylenol (and anything with acetominophin) and my son’s newly discovered allergy to amoxycillan. (spelling’s wrong..sorry)

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:44 pm

      oh my goodness! How scary!
      Tylenol is used for so much!!
      And so is ammoxycillan (I also spelled it wrong)

  28. Just Jennifer
    January 11, 2012 | 10:36 pm

    Aw man! Rest assured that all schools are totally sympathetic to food allergies now and they do everything in their power to help. Take care!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:43 pm

      Thank you! I’m very happy that the schools are improving.

  29. Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness
    January 11, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    I had allergy testing when I was a kid. It was NO fun, and turns out I’m allergic to mostly everything outside.

    I would guess, though, that knowing what to avoid, and how to manage the allergies might make your daughter and husband more comfortable (and safer too!).

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:42 pm

      My daughter handled it much better than her father.
      Now that we know what to avoid and aren’t left guessing we can breath

  30. Galit Breen
    January 11, 2012 | 10:56 pm

    Oh no, you! I’m so sorry for all of this- the ouches, the allergies, the bumps.

    {Sigh. It’s never easy, is it?}

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:41 pm

      Nope.. it’s not.
      But I’ll do it, every day.

  31. Rach (DonutsMama)
    January 11, 2012 | 11:13 pm

    OH wow. I do worry about this sort of thing too since we are introducing new foods to Donut. That’s crazy about Brian’s allergies–so many! I’m surprised he didn’t realize it earlier. Well, I’m glad you’re getting things taken care of now. A lot more people are educated about peanut allergies these days.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:40 pm

      I waited until my daughter was 18 months before introducing peanut butter and she immediately had the reaction.
      It was terrifying

  32. Kimberly
    January 11, 2012 | 11:29 pm

    Oh wow, that sure is scary! Did Brian know before that he was allergic to anything?

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:39 pm

      He knew that he was allergic to peanuts, dogs, and Christmas trees. But we had no idea that he was allergic to so many things!

  33. Cynthia M
    January 11, 2012 | 11:48 pm

    It’s crazy how prevalent this peanut allergy has become. It was something no one ever heard of when I was a kid, and now it seems like it’s everywhere! I hope all goes well for you and the family. I’m sure this is all hard to deal with on every level.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 4:30 pm

      I know!
      When I was a kid no one had a nut allergy, and if they did I didn’t know about it.
      Now it seems so many children do.
      If that’s not a red flag I don’t know what is.

  34. Sandy@Sinsationally Me
    January 12, 2012 | 1:27 am

    What a nightmare to go through. I’m glad the appointment went well and that you are making the necessary adjustments with your eating habits.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 4:29 pm

      It’s a life changing experience but one that we are getting used to.

  35. SHannon from mynewfavoriteday
    January 12, 2012 | 1:31 am

    Oh goodness…first off, she is a million times stronger than all of us, they all are. All the minis. The fight and acceptance that is within can inspire us all. You are an amazing mama for the road you walk and the one that lies ahead. The preparations, teaching, more preparation and more teaching. All of which will teach her so very much. Good job mama..for both kids;)

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 4:28 pm

      Oh you are so right!
      They are strong and resilient!
      She is starting a new daycare soon and I’m a mess, but I know she will be fine just because kids are so very strong!

  36. Kindred Adventures
    January 12, 2012 | 6:11 am

    What a life changer. I love how you wrote this story. After reading you 2011 review I knew about your daughters experience. The end of this story was unexpected and surprising. What a not fun experience. I am happy it is done for your family. -Lv

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 4:27 pm

      I knew that Brian was allergic to a lot but not quite that much!
      We have to go back for testing for my daughter before she goes to school because she’s not two yet and can develop more allergies.
      Fingers crossed that she doesn’t.

  37. Jen Has A Pen
    January 12, 2012 | 10:42 am

    This is totally scary to me. I don’t know how you protect her from this. I don’t have any allergies, but I remember this thing on the news about a school in Florida that was up in arms about new policies implemented to protect a little girl with a peanut allergy. The non-affected people were outraged about the changes. I was flabbergasted by their ignorance.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 4:26 pm

      I think many people get upset about it because they’re scared. They don’t know what to do if a child has a reaction and worry that if they’re the one to give them peanuts then they will have to carry that guilt forever.
      I understand.
      But that doesn’t mean they won’t have to get used to changing the way they do things πŸ™‚

  38. Jessica
    January 12, 2012 | 7:02 pm

    I don’t know anything about allergies but I’m sure you will adjust to your new way of life.

    I can’t believe he is allergic to so many things.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:54 pm

      I know!
      We knew he was allergic to a few things but had no idea there was so many.

  39. Jackie
    January 12, 2012 | 8:26 pm

    Unfortunately, food allergies are a reality in our house too! Tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, & until recently milk for my almost 2 yr old. Luckily no epi pen yet, just a bunch of doses of benadryl. I felt so horrible for my mom. She had eaten Peanut Butter on toast and then was kissing my daughter. Hives burst up all over her cheek & near her ear.
    It sucks!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:53 pm

      That is a huge fear of mine! So I threw our peanut butter out and I don’t eat any now.
      I do miss it but it’s not worth it.

  40. Sara
    January 12, 2012 | 8:37 pm

    I’m so sorry. This is a beautiful way to tell a heartbreaking story. My boys attend a nutfree school and I am mindful of those parents who are ever vigilant in keeping their children safe and healthy.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 12, 2012 | 8:46 pm

      thank you for such a lovely comment.
      We’re fortunate that all of the schools (pre-k to gr. 8) are nut free in our area, however, I know several out of area that still aren’t.

  41. Jamie
    January 12, 2012 | 9:00 pm

    Oh that’s hard. Very very hard. I don’t think people give enough credit for how hard that is. A friend of mine couldn’t do dairy while she was breast-feeding and I just stared at her as if the world would end! You do what you have to do though! I’m very mindful of these kinds of things and hope those around you are too!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 15, 2012 | 3:59 pm

      Thank you for being mindful!
      It is overwhelming at first but it’s now becoming part of our life.
      I can’t imagine not being able to eat dairy! WOW.

  42. Brandy @ Momwich
    January 12, 2012 | 10:43 pm

    Hugs, hang in there. – She’s a little cutie.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 15, 2012 | 3:58 pm

      Thank you!

  43. Lady Estrogen
    January 13, 2012 | 12:08 am

    Whoa! I didn’t know that’s how they STILL did it that way. Poor… um… daddy πŸ™
    I can’t imagine.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 15, 2012 | 3:57 pm

      she didn’t mind it at all… Daddy on the other hand had a really hard time.

  44. By Word of Mouth Musings
    January 13, 2012 | 12:33 am

    ack, no fun and no fair.
    But glad you know it all now and know how to move forward. People here are pretty good about being vigilant, it is so common these days. We always have snacks for kids at our house – just in case … stock up and leave things wherever you may visit!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 15, 2012 | 3:56 pm

      We’re finding that we have to educate our family and friends each time we plan to visit and it will be that way for awhile.
      So glad that you are aware!

  45. JamieAnne
    January 13, 2012 | 3:07 am

    Wow! Glad you were able to confirm which things your family needs to avoid.

    I’m amazed at the number of kiddos who are allergic to peanut butter.

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