Introduce Shellfish? Check.

Despite my overly calm reaction to the sitter introducing my son to peanut butter, I’m over-the-top nervous when it comes to my baby and food. OK, maybe I’m just over-the-top nervous when it comes to people and food. After witnessing my husband cough while eating chips on more than one occasion, I’ve asked him to please, pretty-please never eat that particular snack food unsupervised. I am not exactly kidding.

Anyway, Roy is 19 months old, and the thought of giving him a frozen pea makes me want to hyperventilate. When my husband cuts the boy’s food into pieces, it’s all I can do to wait and watch how he handles them before diving in to halve everything again. Roy’s instinctive response to the word “chew” is to do so along with an exaggerated head-nod, as he’s seen me do at nearly every meal beyond purees. Add to my nervousness the fact that my family has a history of shellfish allergies, and no wonder it’s taken me a while to warm to the idea of giving him so much as a scallop.

But Clint and I really love shellfish. Before Roy became old enough to share family meals, we’d typically have shrimp, squid or scallops at least once a week. We’ve been missing it terribly. Clint broke down about a month ago, declaring one Saturday The Day. Roy had a few bites of shrimp at lunch, followed by no adverse reaction. Well, except mine, which involved inspecting his limbs for hives every few minutes and quickly asking,”You OK?” every time he so much as cleared his throat.

I braced for Round Two, which my doctor informed me is when allergies often emerge. We wanted to wait until Roy was in perfect health, so of course I pointed to every runny diaper and case of the sniffles as reason to postpone. Last weekend, Clint apparently decided he’d had enough. On Saturday, that old familiar scent of sauteeing shrimp filled the kitchen. Shrimp and veggie sandwiches for Clint and I. Yum. Shellfish Round Two for Roy. Eek.

Me: Aren’t you nervous?

Clint: Nope.

Me: Not even a little bit?

Clint: Not even a little bit.

Me: Really? Really?

Clint: Really.

Incidentally, this is the same back-and-forth we have on airplanes during takeoff, though to be completely accurate, imagine my side of the conversation slightly slurred due to the pre-flight martinis.

Roy ate a couple of shrimp. He kept asking/insisting, “Chicken?” so we finally just rolled with it, calling it chicken-shrimp. No wheezing. No shortness of breath. No trip to the ER. Whew.

We’re a shellfish household again! Until baby #2, that is. I think I’ll try and work up the nerve earlier with her. More accurately, I’ll ask Clint to spearhead the process earlier, despite my pleas to the contrary.

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  1. by Stef

    On August 23, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Again, I feel like a bad mommy….Royce gets bites of everything and anything…no nerves, sometime someone will ask if he’s had something yet, and I say no as Marty says yes. Oh well!
    Glad he is not allergic to shellfish! That’s too tastey a good to miss.
    And maybe I am wrong, but if you eat something while breastfeeding, little one eats it too. So you have a safer place to discover those allergies, because then they only have tummy aches. That’s what happened when my cousin discovered her baby was allergic to dairy. No more for mom, all good.
    Either way, I am glad that you let him try it even though you were nervous. Very brave, and a true display of mothering. :)

  2. by Berit Thorkelson

    On August 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Stef, don’t feel like a bad mommy! I wish I were as laid-back as you. I’m trying to chill out, and at the very least, not reveal my nervousness to Roy. I was comforted by the fact that he didn’t have reactions to my shellfish ingestion while bf-ing… if figured if he was allergic, that hinted that it probably wasn’t severe.