Jay and her beautiful family has been part of our lives for some years now. Precisely, as old as Ash and my Daughter. We incidentally met at an antenatal programme run by retired midwives in our village church hall!! So yes we are Bump Buddies. Who knew 8 years down the road we would be where we are :)
From the time I have known her she is nothing less than strong but kind, loving and fun but things were not always smooth. I know that for sure. As our kids grew up we tried to see each other more and got closer. This is when I started seeing the struggles they have been through. In the beginning, Ash couldn’t attend just any toddler group, play cafes or activities like my daughter could and I thought that was it but it was much more than that.
Learning about allergies
As new parents they were dealing with something totally new to them (as if being new parents was not enough!) Allergies!! So many incidents, flare ups and A&E visits later Ash was given the diagnosis of MULTIPLE ALLERGIES.
Now even for someone with a medical background like me, it’s a complex topic but to deal with it as a parent I can only imagine what that would be like. Every consultant visit and skin test revealed new or different information. So every play date or meet up had to be made sure it wasn’t a guessing game but in a sure to be safe environment.
Safe play dates!
Coming to that, It meant that Ash could only be in a space with people who understood this and were comfortable with the idea. Our kids see each other more as siblings than just friends and we wanted to that to carry on and not let a diagnosis or his condition decide what relationship we could have with Jay and her family! Back then, this strictly meant a few things.
Firstly, we could only meet at mine or hers. Simply because she trusted my understanding of the whole situation and I would make sure to my best abilities that Ash would not come in contact with any allergen present in my household. My kids would have to wash their hands and mouth after snacks or drinks (which was always Ash friendly anyways) but still you wouldn’t want to risk it as one knows how much control you can have over your toddler in the kitchen!!
Even the meals we plan for the grown ups had to be Ash friendly. So that meant many of the takeout's were not an option either.
Eat outs, cinema and other public spaces were never something we could do together as families. There were even fewer restaurants then who would cater to multiple allergies back then as now.
Missing out on birthday parties
NOT attending your fiends’ birthday parties!! How can anyone explain that to a child? For the first few years Eva could not have Ash at her birthdays. After understanding his allergies to certain substances in depth and after serial tests to confirm the severity of each, Ash finally was able to join in for Eva’s 5th birthday.
Most importantly for whatever reason Ash was under my supervision, I had to be familiar and confident with his emergency kit with his EPIPEN administration being literally the lifesaver. We are fortunate that we have never come to that but it is what it is. It was NEVER a choice but a necessity!
These are just my experiences with the Dhanjal family so it is fair to say that it is just the tip of the iceberg. We know that Ash is definitely in a better place now but better is not good enough for any one’s child. We want them to be safe and that is what we wish for our dear Ash x