Why I Don't Call My Son an Allergy Kid

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Maybe it’s just me, but I cringe every time I hear the term Allergy Kid.

Here’s the thing about Allergy Kid. In my mind, the descriptor is the word that defines the “kid” forever and in all situations. So, any way you look at it, that kid will always be Asthma Kid, Allergy Kid, Eczema Kid. When I was growing up, I was “the skinny kid with bird legs who ran slower than anyone on the basketball team.” It stuck. And it stunk.

So, I determined early on that I would never allow Z to be defined by his allergies or his asthma. Yes, he is a child with both environmental and food allergies. And yes, he is a kid that uses a daily controller med for asthma.

But these things, these medical challenges, do not define who he is.

So, let me tell you who he is. He is an eight year-old who can multiply and divide in his head faster than he can figure out how to write down the solution to the problem. He is a boy who has a vocabulary larger than some adults I know. He is a one-handed bicycle rider, a tree climber, an Xbox Forza Four driver extraordinaire. He is a voracious reader that gives equal time to The Hobbit, Guinness Book of World Records, and his Action Bible. He is a Cub Scout that can sell a stalk of corn a bag of popcorn.

He is a national karate champion.

Why I Don't Call My Son an Allergy KidAnd he happens to have allergies and asthma.

We, of course, understand reality and we take all necessary precautions to ensure his safety when he eats. And we’re on him like white on rice to make sure he’s done his Qvar puff before brushing his teeth.

But this is all done so that that he can live a normal life.

The medical diagnoses he has do not stop him from being who he is. I’ll be durned if I ever hear him introduce himself as, “Hi, I’m Z and I’m an Allergy Kid.” In fact, if that happened, my head may actually explode.

Our kids deserve to be defined by something greater than one word that could make them appear, or feel, to be less than what they really are.

They are special, unique, strong, and so very able. Let’s not forget that. Just because they can be classified, according to our government, as individuals with disabilities, let’s not dwell on the “dis.” Rather, let’s put emphasis on the “abilities.”

My Z is a gift and I would have him no other way. He’s a kid. With talents, gifts, and a personality that no one else will ever be able to replicate. And he happens to have allergies and asthma.

He’s bigger than the allergies and asthma. And I hope he continues on with this mindset.

Forever, in all situations.

Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to "Z", and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

4 Comments to Why I Don't Call My Son an Allergy Kid

  1. Kate

    Our children are so much more than Allergy Kids. Thanks for this perspective, Tiffany!

    • Tiffany

      Thanks Kate!

  2. Beautiful post, Tiffany! I completely agree. My son has hearing loss and I would never want anyone to think of him as The Kid Who’s Hard of Hearing. It’s only one small part of who he is.

    • Tiffany

      Exactly, Heather! Thanks for sharing.

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