the big issues

One is exactly enough

9 January 2010

I am wearing a sign. It floats above my head. Like a speech bubble. It reads:

I have only one child, please ask me when I am having another one.

Read More

No more eleventh floor

You walk across windswept and perilously stark polished granite to an intercom box. Dial the number. Bells ring somewhere high above you.


Hi, it’s us.

Come on up, eleventh floor.

High above ordinary suburban Canberra there is an apartment. It is all boxes and suitcases. There are only four toys now. The last minute details of a life are being finalised, completed and packed. This apartment has been home to some very special people. Read More

Friday – this week I am grateful for … being by myself

Today, for the very first time, I left my child with strangers. Dropped him off and walked out. Read More

Focusing on the big issues …

My son Benedict has eczema. It is under control. He’s fine. But that fact calls into play a whole lot of associated facts. Allergies go hand in hand with eczema. So after a vomiting episode and hives when he had a bit of cows milk formula we sought some advice.

The extremely expensive immunologist tested my little boy by drawing little dots on his forearm and then placing drops of testing fluid on the spots. So far so fine. Then he pricked the skin under each dot with a tiny lance! Wincing, it was me of course,  holding Benedict’s arm. He tolerated it fairly well. He did however react immediately to milk, to egg and a little bit to peanuts.

While the results were not entirely unexpected, my mind turned immediately to the big issues. OH MY GOD … Easter! Chocolate! Cheese! Cake! and then school! peanut butter! and oh my god I’ve got one of THOSE children. I am one of those mothers who has to watch like a hawk. Who takes her kids to parties and won’t let them eat anything! Who scrutinises labels and interrogates restauranteurs. FUCK!

This was all happening internally. Outwardly, I was calmly nodding sagely and watching carefully as the  immunologist calmly explained that the risk is low. That his reactions are not life threatening and that he’d probably grow out of it. CAKE! CHOCOLATE! FUCK! There was no need for further testing until he is about to start school. I checked Robert’s face. He was calm and nodding less sagely and I sensed him about to ask a lot of questions. CAKE! FUCK!

The immunologist then ran through the protocols and what to avoid. A nd then he did something great. He wrote CAKE in block capitals and drew a little circle about the size of a one cent piece. Most kids, he said, can have a little bit of cake. YES YES YES! Then he drew more little circles and indicated that if the first little piece of cake goes ok then try a little bit more and so on. PHEW.

When I read the full report which came in the mail a few days later I was further reassured. He is allergic. It’s not too serious. There is no need for EpiPens and panic stations at every party. He might not be allergic to peanut but it is best to avoid it. My motherhood was once again about to be tested. I will need to rethink how to feed my child and how to keep him safe. I will have to be vigilant and interrogate restaurants and read labels. Easter, I realised is easy, dark chocolate all the way for everyone. We already know he likes it.