And the winner is…

Food Allergy, by a landslide!


Thank you for playing, everyone. I particularly enjoyed the comments and how thoughtful everyone was.

I realized that some of the problems were things I was still struck by, viscerally, even though my kids are years away from most of those issues (Case in point–I was awakened yesterday morning by the sound of my son vomiting into the toilet. Not my face. He even wiped it clean, so I got to deal with the emotional part but not the puke. LOVE big kids.)

But it was interesting to me that things I'd thought were awful seemed like nothing to other people, and things I'd put on the list because I thought they were funny were real problems for other people.

Did you get any insights from playing?

21 thoughts on “And the winner is…”

  1. I would have never guessed that this would be the winner, but then we are in the midst of 9 month sleep regression/wait, he never slept to begin with so is it really regression/we should have stopped cosleeping before he could crawl out of the bed and we had to lower the crib mattress so now we have to bend in half to get him in there/dear god, how can we have another one when this one won’t sleep? madness.

  2. I think having food allergy in the mix skewed the results a bit, because it was the only life-threatening problem in the lot. On the other hand, it’s a growing issue that more and more parents have to deal with, and raising awareness about it is for the good – giving support to those who deal with it daily, and getting those of us who don’t to think about what it means for parents who do. We don’t have allergies, but my son goes to a nut-free facility and we received a “friendly reminder!” email to wipe the peanut butter off our kids’ fingers before sending them to school. I was a little horrified that it ever came to that (I’m very careful not to use the same knife or cutting board when making their lunches) – the little boy in my son’s class could have died from those traces!But that issue bracketed, I’d really like to see 18 month sleep regression face off against 3.5. *That* would be an agonizing choice for me!

  3. Yeah, I disregarded all of the sleep regression ones because the past four years, and the last month in particular, have felt like one continuous sleep regression. The descriptions provided for the sleep regressions would be *good* nights at my house.Also, I think 2.5-year-old should have been in the running. Impossible behavior.

  4. I found that anything that caused my kid physical or mental discomfort got my vote over anything that caused ME physical or mental discomfort. Which honestly surprised me a bit, because there were some doozy’s that we had actually gone through versus hypothetical situations, and sometimes the hypotheticals won.

  5. There wasn’t a way to vote for 4.5 year old, either. Or, for never experienced a sleep regression because your child has never slept through the night. We haven’t dealt with any food allergies, but it sounds so hard.

  6. I don’t remember 3.5 being all that bad. 2.5-2.75 with my oldest was my Horrible Time that I compare all bad days to. Most of that was the combination of toddler+new crawler, so the same age with my 2nd wasn’t such a big deal.I’m also not much of a believer in sleep regressions, but that’s mostly because we co-sleep and it feels like a years-long-somewhat-interrupted sleep time. My kids don’t truly sleep through the night until they’re 2 or 3.
    I correctly guessed 3 of the top 4 and 7 of the top 8.
    I never thought rashes were much of a problem until this winter when we had a 3 month long rash that finally went away with an impetigo diagnosis and antibiotics. So that got rated more highly than I would have voted it a year ago.

  7. Feeling pretty lucky to have a 3yo who doesn’t have food allergies or digestive issues and whose sleep has been tolerable to good most of his life.So my gut reaction to the initial list was that having a partner come home and ask what I did all day would be the worst because it would make everything else so much more miserable.
    I realize that scenario is more of a marital/partnership calamity than a mommy calamity but since I’ve had to single-parent a lot while my DH travels, I know that it’s so much easier to make day-to-day mountains out of mole hills when I don’t have my husband’s support.

  8. I totally agree with those who said that they tended to vote for issues that made their child sick/miserable over those that made them sick/miserable. That said, the time when my daughter was 18 months old, my husband was on a 10-day “business” cruise and the baby and I both came down with strep throat still ranks as one of the worst experiences of my life!

  9. I’m 35 and have had food allergies since I was little so I want to share a little. I learned to skim an ingredients label wicked fast, and I think in general being allergic to a bunch of stuff made me that much more conscientious/aware about what I eat. Which in turn I think can lead to healthier eating choices/styles. I was allergic to things back when not very many kids were, the whole no peanuts area etc was not in existence yet so I just had to be super anal and careful. I can only imagine what my dad went through (single parent) worrying about me. I guess I’m just trying to reassure the parents out there who have kids with food allergies/asthma/eczema. It gets better, generally it can be managed, and there may actually be “benefits” of growing up with these kinds of issues. I think it forces you to look at the ingredients of things and to really think about what you’re eating rather than just eating it. Good luck to all!

  10. @Anon for this oneI could have written that post! I must have put my mum through hell. I am 10 years older than you and back then there was no epipen or allergy tests. I had my first one in my mid 20’s which narrowed down my food allergy, so before that even though I knew I was allergic to nuts, I didn’t know which ones would send me into anaphylaxis and which ones would just make me really sick. Since then though I have found out that I anever knew I was allergic to.
    As a result I limit highly processed foods and cook everything from scratch. I can because I only work part-time and both my kids are at school, but also because I have had lots of practice so cooking from scratch is as easy as opening a frozen or ready meal and throwing it in the micro-wave. I am healthy and fit and know what food my body will tolerate and in turn what will bring on headaches and nausea and make me fill like sh.t.
    So yeah, there can be a silver lining to having food allergies. In many ways it is far worse for the parents than the sufferer him/herself.

  11. should be…. Since then I have found out I am allergic to things I never knew I was allergic to.

  12. I kept choosing the things that were the ongoing conditions…the short term things will pass. Also, anything harder for my kid was chosen over something that was harder for me. I think it’s easier to deal with things that make the grownups suffer than it is to deal with things that make the kids suffer.

  13. Agreed with Anon for this one as well. I have no food allergies, but my little sister does. We’re both in our 30s, so she did get allergy testing done as a child after she had a few reactions, but we grew up in the pre no nut campuses/classrooms era. I can only imagine the stress my mom went through was greater than the stress I went through–being the big sister around a kid having food reactions as an infant and then later our absent-minded father feeding her nut-laden birthday cake one year, our grandmother always offering black bean soup when we arrived to visit–it was hard work as a 6-15 year old protecting her everywhere we went without our mother (divorced parents) until she was old enough to look out for herself. I wish no families that kind of stress. I also wish them all a good night of sleep, but yeah, as hard as bad sleep was with my baby, I’d take that over again in a second if I could undo the food stresses of my sister’s childhood.

  14. you guys are so empathetic and kind. from my experience most people online tend to bash those parents and kids with food allergies. it’s unbelievable how many people online have said how dare you try to take away my son’s PB &J for your child. when i try to explain that my child gets hives, then puffs up beyond recognition, then stops breathing if he accidentally ingests it then the usual answer is ‘you shouldn’t be in public and you need to home school’. imagine saying that to another parent with a child with special needs? i say this bc i’m SO surprised there is not one negative comment about children with food allergies here. believe me i will take 100 sleepless nights over my sons’ food allergies. i will take him getting hit and him biting others at the park, i will take 100 temper tantrums at target over my childs food allergy. heck, ill take getting kicked out of preschool over his allergies. ALL of those things are temporary but unfortunately my sons peanut/nut allergies (according to the Dr.) is most likely permanent 🙁

  15. Bensmom, the few times I’ve seen peanut backlash IRL has been when the schools have made a half-assed ban attempt instead of a full one. The two schools here that I know of w/ bans (my mom works at one) only made it so the cafeteria itself could not serve pnut stuff, NOT that kids couldn’t bring it in, etc. The parents who were mad were *mostly* saying, “What was the point of that if I can still send it in?” which is a valid question. If they’re going nut-free, it needs to be all or none. The one mom who was flipping out online (friend of a friend), her 8 or 9 year old son has some feeding problem and will literally ONLY eat pb&j sandwiches. He is in feeding therapy for it. She claimed that a ban hurts her son’s special needs, too. It was kind of awkward b/c other moms who have pnut allergic kids chimed in and were like, “You admit your son is in therapy, he can learn to eat other things. My kid CANNOT and can die. I win.” The mom did say she was fine w/ him eating in a different room, separate table, etc, but since the school was not instituting a full ban, the partial ban was stupid, which is a valid point.It’s not hard to make a sandwich w/ an alternative nut butter. What IS hard is that not many processed snacks are made in nut-free facilities. More and more schools no longer want parents to send in homemade food and treats, so what the heck is anyone supposed to eat??? Food companies and schools really need to think this one out.
    In the voting, I went match by match & picked what I thought was the worse of the two. Like others said, certain things, while bad/inconvenient, were really temporary whilst others were devastating. Like, sleep vs nanny, sleep I can do nothing about it & it will eventually get better or the kid will grow up & move out. How can I go to work if I have no one to watch my kid???

  16. Kathleen said, “I kept choosing the things that were the ongoing conditions…the short term things will pass. Also, anything harder for my kid was chosen over something that was harder for me.”Ditto. I appreciated the way the pairings helped ME to put things in perspective. When you are in the midst of 3.5–with both my boys, this age HAS BEEN HORRENDOUS–it seems like death. When you have not had a good night’s sleep in 3.5 years, it seems like it will never get better. But you come to a point in parenting, especially when it’s not your first child, where some small segment of what little brain you have left tells you it will someday pass. Major, ongoing health issues–or something that will seriously impede your ability to provide for your family? Always worse.

  17. Anon for this one hit the nail on the head, re: food allergies. I too am in my 30s and when I was in school there was no separate table or room for those of us with nut allergies (and for the record I was also allergic to shellfish and dairy!). You just had to be on guard all the time and ask those who brought food into class what the ingredients were, always read labels and really learn what is in different foods/dishes. This is probably why I’m now a chef, I’ve spent my whole life examining food.In retrospect, I don’t think I’d change anything in regards to lunchrooms
    And kids bringing PB&J for lunch. It would have been horrifying socially to have been put in another room or table for us “special allergic” kids and I say this from the point of view from someone who will go into shock if she consumes pb. I understand why schools do it but I tend to think it’s more because they don’t want to get blamed for a kid getting sick and deal with liability and such. I’m very lucky that so far I havent found any foods my kids can’t tolerate or are allegic to but even if I did I don’t know that I would have them sit elsewhere for lunch. There’s value in learning to take care
    Of yourself, watching out for yourself, being cautious and asking questions.
    I’m sure I’ll piss a lot of people off with that last statement and I’ll get a lot of “but If he touches it he’ll swell up!” replies and let me say that I totally understand that. My son ate a PB candy in the car today and the smell really bothers me, my lips get itchy, I start to sneeze….basically I guess I’m trying to say that the rest of the world doesn’t have special tables and rooms for those of us with allergies, it’s worth it for kids to learn that early.

  18. This is an interesting contest. As I was looking through these, I was having a hard time deciding, because both were equally bad! hahah 🙂

  19. Coming late to this. I have a son with Hirschsprung’s disease and the diaper rash is really out of control all the time. I am so surprised that GERD was higher than diaper rash – in fact surprised that anything is worse than persistent diaper rash including food allergies. I guess my perception is skewed from seeing my son’s butt bleed daily for 4 and 1/2 years, spending thousands of dollars on creams that don’t begin to help, hours on the phone with nurses who say stupid stuff like “have you tried desitin?”, and getting lots of comments about neglectful parenting from many people. Seeing my son scream in pain everyday and knowing that you cannot relieve it is torture.

  20. “Seeing my son scream in pain everyday and knowing that you cannot relieve it is torture.”That is what GERD is, too — my son screamed for the first 8 hours of his life, nonstop, due to the pain. Thankfully, he started to recover at a year old, and is now pain-free.
    Big hugs — so sorry your son suffers so!

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