‘Pop pop, please may I have some tea?
‘Of course, sweetheart.’
‘And may I have it with no milk, because I want to drink it in the front room where George is.’
‘Do you want kinder tee then?’
‘No, real tea but with no milk in it.’
My grandson is allergic to milk and all of its derivatives. As you can imagine, this makes life, erm interesting for all of us as we have had to learn what, exactly, are all the derivatives of milk and all of the, sometimes unexpected, places they can be found – soap, shampoo, suntan lotions… – as well as finding milk-free products in a place like Cyprus.
It is becoming less of a problem inside the close family as the little exchange with my granddaughter illustrates. George is well in the habit of going nowhere without his bag – a knapsack containing his meds in case of a ‘reaction,’ and Tina automatically sits at the kitchen table to eat anything that might have milk in it, even a chocolate biscuit. (The kitchen table is ‘dirty’ and George knows very well he has to take extra care when eating there.) She also automatically scrubs her face and hands after eating or drinking anything at all – as do the rest of us and, incidentally, George’s classmates at school 🙂 Habits can work for you, as well as against you! The problems arise with people who don’t take what we tell them seriously, or don’t think about what they tell us. My ex was in Platres, in the mountains the other day when she came across a new shop, a chocolatier run by an expat. The chocolate looked very nice and she asked the guy if he had any dairy-free chocolate. He informed her that all of his chocolate was dairy-free. She explained why she was asking – that she could kill my grandson if she got it wrong – and the guy assured her that, ‘There is no dairy in my shop, Madame!’ So, she bought some chocolates and George was very pleased to be told that they were ‘George-friendly.’ Of course, he had a reaction! Only a mild one, thankfully. The guy forgot to mention that he used milk powder in the fillings! I know it’s difficult to understand the dangers of something like this, but we are always very careful to explain exactly how dangerous it is.
I can’t help thinking about the problems he’s going to have when he gets a bit older. Imagine returning from a hot date and, before bidding a romantic goodnight to his current pash, producing a pack of wet-wipes and asking her to wipe her mouth 🙂