We were walking through the local supermarket when our son suddenly got so excited at the sight of so many shiny little gold bunnies! Of course they were shelves fully stocked with Lindt Milk Chocolate bunnies - designed to look gorgeous and attract the attention and desire of all shoppers in the lead up to Easter. In the past, our son has been drawn to many chocolates wrapped in colourful foil wrapping - only to be whipped away quickly by his parents. We all know how fragile that wretched foil is, and one touch of the chocolate inside could prove deadly for our son. I would even venture to say that touching the outside of the foil would probably cause a reaction since it's bound to be contaminated with dairy chocolate. I was immediately relieved that he was safely secured in the shopping trolley and I calmly explained that they had cow's milk chocolate inside them and that if he touched it, it would make him sick. I continued to move quickly along to the next aisle, hoping to create a distraction, but sure enough, at the end of every aisle were more and more chocolates. I resorted to saying that any thing covered in the colourful shiny stuff actually had cow's milk in it.
Next stop was Target, but sure enough, there were more aisles of chocolates - this time they were packaged with wonderful wonderful toys of all description. Again, I had to pull our son away, explaining that they all had cow's milk in it and would make him sick. All he wanted to do was walk along the aisle and look at how many different types there were but this was certainly not an activity I was going to indulge.
So now that you are feeling quite sorry for our boy, and perhaps not dreaming quite so much about Easter chocolates, let me tell you about the moment of true understanding. At home, he has seen advertising catalogs with Easter chocolates - and this has proved to be a much safer way of educating our son about dairy chocolate. "Cow's milk! Cow's milk!" he exclaims, as he looks at each picture. But when we went into a cafe to say hi to an old friend, our son got excited again, pointed to a gigantic Easter Bunny made out of dairy chocolate of course, but one that wasn't wrapped up, and exclaimed, "Cow's milk! Cow's milk!" Wow, our beloved son has integrated his learning about foil-covered Easter chocolates and realised that the chocolate rabbit fell into the same category for him. Wow! If you're in the education field, I'm sure you would be impressed by this boy. If you're an allergy mum, you would be amazed! I'm in both... so WOW!
What does this mean?? Well, it means that our son is probably less likely to reach for these chocolates the next time we are in the shop. He's less likely to reach for it if he see another child or pretty much every child around him hooking into the stuff. It means that when there is an Easter Egg hunt at Childcare, for which I've supplied special plastic eggs with special toys and treats inside, that he is less likely to pick up a life-threatening chocolate egg placed for someone else to find. So I am excited, but please realise, that this is a 3 year old boy we are talking about, and restraint and understanding will only go so far. So for this Easter, deligence is still required on the part of all his carers, but I really am proud of how much he is learning every day.
Now to only be able to teach him about the true meaning of Easter and get some real integration of learning and understanding on that one! For your information, so far he knows that the "mean guys killed Jesus and God brought him back to life again." Interestingly, he doesn't think this is so unusual since so many of the fairy tales have people who die and come back! Anyway, I'll save that discussion for another post.
So to you readers out there, may you have a blessed Easter - a time of remembrance of all Jesus Christ has done for us yesterday, today and tomorrow, and less a time for eating or sharing dairy chocolate!
(Creative genius from Auntie Joy)