During the summer hols, I often ended up dragging all four kids with me to do the food shop.
It required vast amounts of what I was short of, mainly patience, money, and energy.
A major part of allergy management is reading, and understanding food labels. All information in very tiny print, sometimes ( in the case of toiletries,) in Latin.
we had learned quite early on, what the mysterious label 'may contain' really meant, the hard way.
Mainly due to the projectile 40 min vomiting, which was repeated the next day instantly after trying another plain biscuit, from the same pack.
We tip -toed over the clean patches on our carpets, and cleared the house of all foods with may contain labels.
Here is a typical trip to a large supermarket.
I start with a brief wash, and pat dry of both damp ends of baby, find clean t-shirts for the boys, and sponge the stains of my top, and try to get out of my pjamma bottoms and shabby but comfy flip flops.
While I dabbed the marks ( most forms of bodily fluid) off my shoulders, I would ask the boys go to the bathroom, or go on the potty.
of course this leads to lot of fun for boys, and a shout of 'lets play star wars'! is a terrible sign, which often led me giving up on the t-shirt sponging thing, go and rush upstairs while begging them to 'not cross the streams'!!!
Then of course ,you clear up the pee, find clean ( but crumpled ) t-shirts for the boys to wear.
however, you are now getting a little , ..erm...frazzled, so plop shirts over the nearest heads , and drag them to the front door.
one son now flashes his belly button when he breathes in, and the other has a shirt flapping around his knees. But you have no time to stop and sort all that out, because soon the baby will need feeding again.
You wriggle in to jeans, grab your money and car keys , and put the children that have a tendency to escape in the car FIRST.
once you count the heads of the kids, have made sure that you checked that the front door is shut ( you only do this three times, any more than you have to go to the doc and get drugs for your after pregnancy OCD hormones. They are the same ones that make you want to clean the oven before you give birth.) then you start the car and go!
During the journey you lecture the children on holding in bad gas, and stop 2yr old from trying to throw shoes out of the car window.
By the time you get to the car park, your head is sticking out the window as your eyes are burning and strips of skin are peeling from the back of your throat.
Farting is a constant source of entertainment for any male, of any age. It gets worse as they grow up.
The baby and parent parking space is taken up with sports cars, and slim looking woman without children ( who cant possibly have stretch marks, but you our not bitter, NOT AT ALL! ) and you find a space.
Not near any other cars , because of the damage your older boys do with the car door slamming.
A reasonably clean double shopping trolley is found, a blanket for baby to feel comfy, and 2 year old sits with his comfort blanket ( lankey), and thumb in his mouth.
Once in the shop, you avert gaze from high heeled shoes, because mummy's do not get to wear them very often, and the pretty bras, because new mums still need to wear grey pregnancy bras, or stern feeding no nonsense bras.
Which have all the sexual allure of a dead fish. In fact the bras are a pretty good contraceptive in the early months.....
Everything has to speed up because you have two hands to push trolley, heavy with two children, and two mobile children that like to run away.
You try and ignore the fact that your 6 yr old has brought his 'sooty' puppet with him, and is skipping ahead, and pausing to 'listen' to what sooty is saying to him, then laughing out loud.
I'ts really best not to dwell on the fact that for the past 6 months your child has been talking almost non stop to his own hand.............
The four year old loves the big supermarket shop, once he met a shop worker , flipping the hidden control programs open under the big freezers.
He tried to climb in a freezer once, I had to shake his trousers and socks free of peas when i got him home.
Buttons , switches, that could be pressed, must be pressed. They call him and beg for a pudgy finger to set them off. In fact the in store phones have been used as well. Often to call 'fireman Sam' a favourite BBC cartoon character.
I whizz through the aisles, allergy problems mean that some sections of the supermarket are not going to be visited , ever, the on store bakery section, the deli section, and the pizza , curry , roasted chicken section.
some sections require a pause for thought, working out what ' nut free , but nuts on site' really means in relation to one small jam tart, when you realise that its all gone far too quiet.
2yr old is calmly chewing through a toothpaste tube packet, and trying to kick me while he sits in the trolley.
Around the corner of an aisle, you see a flash of the boys, and take a chance to ponder over a packet of toilet roll tissue.
hmmmmmmmmm? Aloe vera? has that ever touched allergic son's skin before?
The anti bac spray on the toilet seat last week has still left its mark, and not just on HIS bottom. Bearing in mind that tender area, is aloe vera a allergen for some?
A couple of old grannies walk by complaining loudly , you catch a drift of the comments, 'broken bread sticks' 'abandoned children' 'sword fights' seem to hit a memory, so all shopping is halted, and race to bread section.
once boys retrieved, and bread kicked under the shelf, you drag them off quickly. Hissing madly in anger.............bribery is your only option now.
Somehow you get all shopping paid for, ( all fruit bruised and ruined ,but you are running out of time, baby is crying) get the mobile boys back in car.
Strapped up , and shut up with a chocolate bar,
and allergic son with something safe to chew on.
scrape the toothpaste off the babies legs, arms, and clothes, and sit in car to feed her.
Then drive home. and shopping does get into kitchen, but by now you need to cook a meal, do some washing, and sink in to the evening routine.
by 11 pm , all tins are put in to the cupboards, but there is a small pile of food that you cant use. hidden small print missed, and now declared unsafe................and that happens all the time, every flipping week.
Now, these days, all children are at school, and my only problem is reading the labels. my eyes seem to be giving out on me.
But my real theory is that my arms are just getting shorter, that's why the shape of the top of your arms changes so much!
bones shrink and your arms resemble the glorious shape and texture of a raw pork sausage.
our only choice is to buy expensive glasses to distract the attention from our arms.
well, that's what I do.
3 weeks ago