Category Archives: Travel

If you only knew (a glimpse at traveling with food allergies)

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of “you never come see us anymore.”  Not that visits were frequent before children but our closest relatives live at least an hour away.

I never knew how much stuff a baby needed when traveling. It’s quite a chore, especially if you’re staying the night!  Now let’s add food allergies into that mix. YOWZAS!

Here are some of the extra steps I have to take when traveling.

1. I start by thinking (and obsessing) over every little detail. Who will be there? Will they respect my rules regarding Squid’s allergies? Will there be food? If there is food, will it be safe? If it’s not safe, will people wash their hands before touching Squid? What will we eat? How long are we staying? How much food will we need? Should I take extra cleaning wipes for other people’s hands/our eating area?  HOW AM I GOING TO KEEP MY CHILD SAFE??? The list goes on and on and on!

2. Take all those questions from #1 and begin packing. It takes me AT LEAST two days to pack and make sure everything is perfect because we do not have the “stop at the nearest fast food option.”  It’s what I bring or nothing because after several reactions and way too many close calls, I really have a hard time trusting food that wasn’t cooked by me or with me present.

3. The day has come. We’ve made the trip and arrived safely. The hard part is over right? HA! Not a chance. Remember all of those questions from #1? They’re still buzzing in my head but this time they’re being played out in real life. I can’t relax at all during my visit due to worry about what Squid may accidentally be exposed to and how many hives he will get THIS time.

Vacation is not a vacation for me! My idea of a vacation these days is leaving Squid with Daddy and having some Mommy time of some sort. Family events where I can relax are very rare, especially if they involve food.  Needless to say, Thanksgiving is my new version of a complete nervous wreck nightmare!

4. Making it back home without hives or a hospital visit is nothing short of a miracle! Praise God!

Please be understanding. Please be patient. Food allergies are rough.

Hawaiian Adventures: Contact Dairy Allergy

Our grand trip to Hawaii.  We had everything planned out.   My friend scrubbed her house top to bottom, sterilized her child’s toys, and washed the highchair.  What am I forgetting?  Oh yes, the pack-n-play. But her daughter hasn’t used it in forever.  It’s safe right?  WRONG!

We get there and get settled but of course after getting up early and traveling across 5 time zones with a screaming toddler, we’re tired.  My friend gets the room set up and we call it a night.  The next morning we wake up before the sun to find hives across Squid’s eye and face.

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I blamed his reaction on the fact that we went to Starbucks when we arrived and I accidentally touched his bear in his bag when I was getting out wipes. I promptly stripped his bed and washed everything. I also scrubbed down his bag. Problems solved? I thought so until the following morning.

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After he woke up with hives for the 2nd day in a row, I knew it wasn’t a contaminated bear. My friend gathered her spray bottle of vinegar and a container of disinfectant wipes and proceeded to wipe down every square inch of the pack-n-play. As an allergy mom, I should have taken that job upon myself.

The 3rd morning (below) was the absolute worst! Squid was extra fussy that night and I don’t blame him one bit. We had to slather his poor little face in antihistamine cream as well as a dose of benadryl.

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3 days of this and I finally had my culprit nailed down, the fabric sides. I, again for the 3rd day, washed all of his bedding items and then I drug the pack-n-play out into the yard for a wash. I took regular dish soap, a sponge, and the water hose and scrubbed until the fabric oozed with bubbles. Top, bottom, inside, outside, mesh, plastic corners, padded sides, EVERYTHING! After I rinsed it, I scrubbed it again. When it was dry, I soaked it until it was dripping with vinegar. Finally, I wiped it down with disinfectant wipes. I threatened that if he woke up in hives again, I would just burn the thing and be done. Luckily, the wash took care of it!

Allergy life is such a crazy adventure, especially with a contact allergy. Lesson learned.

Hawaiian Adventures: Toddler Meltdowns

As mentioned in a previous post, we had a number of meltdowns on the plane. 4 for 4 on plane meltdowns to be exact but it wasn’t all horrid.  Let’s start from the beginning.

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Up before the sun. Here we go!

Flight #1: Up before the sun

I had been prepping Squid for Hawaii time for about a week by sending him to bed later and later each night.  I hung up blackout curtains in his room to simulate “night” and block out the blinding morning sun.  It worked rather well but waking up at 5am was a bear.  It was more like 2 or 3 am for my poor little guy.  I had hoped he’d sleep on the 40 minute drive to the airport but no luck.  Oh boy.

I took allergen free suckers to help with his ears during take off and landing.  Take off was surprisingly great with a first time flier.  He did very well during the flight but the landing came with a fit.

Mistake #1: Not making sure the little guy got a nap.
I discovered later in my trip that my ring sling  is AMAZING!  I could put him in it any time he got tired and he would pass smooth out.  Had I known that trick at this moment, I would have used it.  Instead, I tried to let him play it out in hopes that we would land in Utah, eat lunch, and then nap.  That’s not how it happened at all!

Mistake #2: Suckers
Suckers are a huge, sticky mess for a 16 month old!  It was great for take-off but descending, as I found out, takes 20 to 30 minutes.  The suckers only entertained him for about 5 minutes before he started waving it around like a lightsaber and using them as drumsticks on the locked tray table…. and then attempting to stick them back in his mouth.  That would just be gross to a regular mom but it’s a worse case nightmare for an allergy mom!  After I took his suckers away (somehow he ended up with 3) and got him situated in my lap, it was full on meltdown time.  He screamed until the plane landed 😦 Poor guy.

I put him in the sling and got off the plane.  He passed out during our walk through the tunnel from the plane to the termknal.  I located the terminal for our next flight and took an extra long, well deserved, mommy lunch with a sleeping baby strapped to my chest.  Everyone in the restaurant enjoyed admiring the drooling little sack of potatoes.

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Welcome to Utah!

 

 

Flight #2: Aloha!

Our flight from Utah to Hawaii was pretty similar but 3 times long.  6.5 hours of sitting with a toddler…. we got a little cabin fever so we did some crazy things to keep entertained.

In flight activities:

  • Eating a safe meal from home
  • Putting the movie screen in Japanese
  • Opening and closing the window over and over blinding the other passengers (sorry everyone)
  • Running up and down the aisles (sorry again everyone)
  • Taking crazy selfies to later send to Daddy
  • Napping (thank you Jesus!)
  • Pulling all the tissues out of the box in the bathroom.  Seriously, why would they put all the items that low?!
  • Playing in the floor (ICK!)
  • Opening “in flight gifts” and stuffing the paper between the seats (dont worry, I dug it out)
  • Played with cups (not sure why I brought toys, this was more entertaining)
  • And lastly, melting down YET AGAIN during the descent
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Chicken in a cup. The best kind.

Mistake #3: Should have just held him
Here we go again but this time it was not from tired because he was plenty napped up and it was not from ears because he had an apple sauce pack, a cookie, and a drink the entire way down.  Nope, this time was because (1.) he wasn’t finished playing and didn’t want to be still and (2.) he thought it would be fun to unbuckle his belt a million times and got fit-throwing angry when I held it shut.  Guess I won’t be letting my lap baby sit alone again.  Geeze!

 

 

Flight #3: The Red Eye…. never again!

Take the red eye they said, you can sleep on the plane they said… clearly they’ve never flown with a toddler that takes up 2 seats to sleep.  There was no sleep for Mommy on this 5.5 hour flight home.

But before we actually got to sleeping or lack there of, we greeted our fellow passengers with an over-tired meltdown just after take off.

Mistake #4: Not putting him in the sling
The stewardess was coming down the aisles with the food carts and I didn’t want to be in the way.  Had I known they’d be taking forever, I would have just put him in the sling and rocked him to sleep.

Mistake #5: He saw the cup
I pulled his cup out of his bag to get it filled with water but as I mentioned, they were taking FOREVER.

So here we go in the worst meltdown of the entire trip.  He screamed for 40 minutes.  I mean full on, my mom is obviously trying to murder me back here, screams that I’d never heard come from him before.  Everyone was staring. People were trying to help because it’s 10pm and they want to sleep as much as I do.  I tried rocking him, walking him up and down the aisles, hiding in the bathroom, eating, drinking, singing but nothing was working.  FINALLY my poor, overtired little guy passed out in my lap.  I’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh from the entire plane which included me.  He sprawled out on both seats leaving me with a corner but as long as he was sleeping, I was happy.

 

Flight #4: Tired again but almost home (I’m starting to see a theme here)

When we landed in Utah again, it was 3am Hawaii time.  Let’s just say, he was not ready to be awake.  I got him to take a nap in the airport so I thought we were good to go.  This was the only flight that he did not have his own seat.  I had him listed as a lap baby on all the flights but he ended up with his own seat on 3 of 4!  He did very well during this flight.  We colored, read, played games on my phone, played in the bathroom, but when we were running the aisles the plane hit some turbulence and they turned on the seatbelt signs.  Yet again, he was not done running around and he let everyone know!  We had started descending at this time too so luckily the flight was almost over.  He had an apple sauce pack, a cookie, and his water which kept him entertained until the applesauce was gone and then the real fun began.  He started throwing himself around, trying to get down but we were in the window seat of a 3×3 plane.  I hooked one arm around his chest and one between his legs and did the best I could to keep him calm for the last 10 minutes.  The instant we landed he stopped crying and then passed out soon after.  The guy sitting beside me said, “what just happened.”  I laughed and said, “tired baby wasn’t ready to sit.”  He slept the rest of the way out of the airport and the entire drive home.

 

Conclusion:

Will I every fly again with a toddler?  Probably not this one.  I’ll wait until he’s older so he can understand what’s going on.  I know one thing for sure, I’LL NEVER FLY ALONE AGAIN!

Don’t let this scare you.  All kids are different and mine is very “opinionated” and not afraid to let everyone know apparently.  Judge by your own child’s personality but also learn from other people’s experiences. Be aware of how long your flight is so you can sit back down before you have to buckle and make sure your child is well rested.

On the bright side, no food allergy issues on the plane and we made it there and back safely!

Aloha.

Flying with a dairy allergy: We survived!

Ok, so dairy and egg is not the worst allergy to have when flying but it’s still a serious allergy.

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I had the fortune of being able to board the plane before everyone else since I was flying alone with a baby. It was great because I had time to wipe down (without judging eyes) the seats, the tray table, the seatbelt, and any other surface Squid could possibly touch, with Wet Ones and Clorox wipes. Our little row was pretty much sterile by the time I was done with it!  I also had the fortune of my little guy having his own seat 3 of the 4 flights.

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4 flights, 0 reactions!

Meltdowns on the plane and allergic reactions at our destination were a different story 😦

Needless to say,  it CAN be done!