We have been irrationally paranoid about giving Teddy peanut butter. We’ve fed him most other highly allergenic foods—shellfish, strawberries, other nuts—but for some reason, we’ve been especially wary of introducing peanut butter. Until a couple weeks ago. With Teddy’s 18-month pediatric appointment coming up, and Mike had the brilliant idea to bring some peanut butter to the doctor’s office, figuring we could give Teddy a taste while the pediatrician was in the room. That way, if he had a reaction, it could be attended to promptly.
The plan went perfectly, although our pediatrician was a little confused about our concern. “Do you have any reason to think he might have an allergic reaction?” Nope. “Has he had allergic reactions to any other foods?” Nope. She just shook her head, gave an amused grin and indulged us. We offered Teddy the peanut butter, peered anxiously at his lips for any sign of swelling, and several minutes later, when he was clearly breathing without any difficulty, concluded our worry was for naught.
We were sharing this story with a group of friends one night, and, as a way of explaining our paranoia, added that Mike’s cousin had had all sorts of problems with her son, who is about Teddy’s age. He had allergic reactions to many foods, including peanuts, which even warranted a trip to the ER. As we were offering this information, I clarified that Teddy wasn’t related by blood to this other toddler. When I said it, I was actually thinking it was the other toddler who was unrelated by blood—and therefore any worries about a genetic connection with allergies were moot. But as soon as I said it, I realized what a ridiculous statement it was. Teddy’s adopted. Of course he’s not related by blood to this cousin. No matter the cousin’s story. (Upon reflection, I realized I was wrong; Teddy’s cousin is related to Mike by blood.)
But that brief moment also made me realize something else: I don’t always think about Teddy being adopted anymore. First and foremost, he’s simply my son.