There are few things in this allergy mama’s life that can put me on my toes like flying with my nut-allergic son, sending him to someone else’s house to “hang” for a while (“Playdates are soooo first grade, Mom”), or…well, I guess I can actually list a lot of things. Although these situations often stress me out, I feel strongly that we cannot let his food allergies keep Z from experiencing life. So, with much trepidation I step out of my comfort zone (like from Chicago to Mars) to teach my son how to enjoy “normal life” carefully.
Enter the All-American pastime, baseball.
And all the allergy mamas said, “AMEN.” Right? The first time we took my son to a baseball game, my insides were twisted up tighter than a slinky. You couldn’t have pried the Epipen® out of my hand if you tried. I’m pretty sure I saw one of the players hit the ball. Once. The entire game.
As sure as I was that I would end up in years of therapy from that one experience, it all went well. And you know what? We’ve gone back–more than once. During our multiple trips to the local minor league ballpark, I’ve learned a few things that have made it a bit easier to swallow the idea of taking my son with peanut allergies to a baseball game.
Take wipes, or a blanket to sit on, or both. Whatever makes YOU feel comfy cozy, Mama. Because really, if you can’t stop staring at your child long enough to watch even one pitch, what’s the point?
Create a buffer zone. The last game we attended was with my son’s Cub Scout pack. Fortunately, I knew all of the people around us, so I was able to remind them of Z’s allergy, and everyone quickly agreed they would not purchase peanuts. Those that brought some in to the park with them offered to keep them tucked away to keep my guy safe. Now, I know this doesn’t happen often ever, but if you get to the game early enough to stake your seats, you can often befriend those directly around you and share your concerns. For the most part, people are receptive to a kind request.
Find a peanut-free game. Many baseball teams are now offering peanut-free or peanut-controlled games. This means either they won’t sell peanuts at the park that night, or they have created a section just for families like ours. Check your local team’s website for the low-down, or you can use peanutfreebaseball.com for a quick reference.
While I still wince a tiny bit at the 7th inning stretch when the whole ballpark is singing about buying peanuts, I now feel like we can survive a baseball game anytime. With my auto-injector nearby, of course.
I know there are other peanut-allergic families that go to baseball games, and my list for surviving (and enjoying) the games is not exhaustive. What tips do you have for enjoying a game together?