Meet Olivia. This little darling is my 3 year old niece. In this photo she drew me a cow and a plane (obviously).
Olivia and I are share the special bond of being the needy foodies in the family. While she does not have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance (at least, not yet) she does have a pretty nasty allergy to dairy. Neither of us envies the other.
But, being the two mutants of our clan, one of our favorite conversations to have is this:
Me: Can you have dairy?
O: No, but I can have gluten.
Me: Can I have gluten?
O: No, but you can have dairy.
Me: But can you have gluten?
O: Yes, but I can't have dairy.
...Baby Einstein, amiright?
Another one of my favorite things about Little Miss O is her devotion to sharing. When Olivia shares something with you it's not so much of a friendly gesture, but an obligation in which disinterest is of the utmost insult.
O: Aunt Warren, want a fruit snack?
Me: Oh, no thank you! I'm full.
O: How about just one?
Me: No, no thank you.
O: Okay, how about just two?
Nowadays, as the "special" ones (we were always special, lezberull) she even adds in this tidbit to her tedious persuasion:
O: Aunt Warren, it's gluten free. I checked.
Ohhhh you sweet, sweet, sharer how I WISH it were that easy. Of course she's not quite able to conceptualize the qualifications for gluten, but that fact that she wants to not only know, but control them, gives me warm aunt fuzzies.
Which is why making her cry last Sunday was misery.
The child was eating cookies (no harm there), but these cookies weren't GF. And then the child wanted to help with dinner and grabbed for the taco shells with her crumb-covered hand before I could intervene with a sweet-ass (yet gentle) karate chop.
What I DID do was a quick wrist-grab, shell-swing away from the baking sheet while politely demanding a hand-washing. Critical? Yes. Fun? Absolutely not. Terrifying? Yes. Worthy of Cool Aunt Status? Hell no.
I know she'll never remember this moment or the soppy mess of tears that came with it, but I probably always will. It's good to take pride in your health, but how are you supposed to feel about that commitment in a situation like this?
This disease has its expected challenges, certainly, but I wasn't prepared for moments like that. They happen in the most normal of times when you finally feel comfortable and you forget for a moment that not all food is your friend. Then, BAM. Vigilante back in action.
I hope someday I'll look back on this post and laugh. Maybe by then I'll have found some magical fix to make my insides not feel so weird about making an innocence kid cry over cookied hands. Or maybe I'll just be used to it.
Until then, I guess I'll have those fruit snacks.