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SGWhiskers

Crumby Kids

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I'm the snuggly, chase the kids, kiss the kids, give them a piggy back ride aunt. I'm also the therapist who gets down to eye level, grins, plays peek-a-boo, holds the hands, turns the head, shares the toys, and cuts the food of my preschoolers at work.

Well, several times, (including last week), I've gotten random gluten exposure from being with the kids during or after they have eaten gluten snacks. I'm not licking kids, or even kissing the nieces and nephews with my lips. (I do cheek to cheek air kisses with them). I was rolling a ball with a child eating crackers. I touched their arms, cheeks, shoes and hair with my hands. The closest I got to my face was to itch my nose with my upper arm. 6 months ago, I got sick from being in the car while my niece ate the same brand of crackers. I didn't even touch her. I also get sick from breathing in the bakery smell at the grocery.

My personal belief is that:

This is my disease. I am in charge of keeping myself safe. It is not your responsibility to make it easy on me. Don't be offended when I don't eat your food or bring a lunchbox to dinner. Don't think I being a difficult employee when I won't touch the crackers.

So I've figured out that I'm going to need to make myself safer and it will start to infringe on others a bit now. It is easy with my patients, my office, my rules. I'll just mention allergies and request no foods during sessions. I don't think I can ask the parents to wash up their kids before they come to therapy though.

The nieces and nephews are harder though. The oldest is 2 and there are bunches of them. Melba toast, cheerios, goldfish, noodles are going into the mouth of one kid or another constantly when I'm at my mom's or another relatives. Some of the relatives are on board with what celiac is. Others think I'm going through a phase. I've not worried about what they think though until now. Short of avoiding touching the kids, what are your ideas for the least invasive means of keeping myself safe?

Ask the parents to do more than the normal face and hand wipes after meals/snacks?

wipe them down again before I play with them?

Skip the cheek to cheek kisses?

open the windows?

ask parents to eat my snacks instead?

Share that their kids are making me nauseous?

make them wear hats during meals so their hair isn't full of noodle stickies?

only touch them with my feet?

Shower twice a play session?

Stupid disease.

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This is definitely a tender subject. I am a nursery director at my church and I make all our snacks gluten free. But I share the room and there is gluten used when I am not there. I have made it very clear to my staff of my problem and they are wonderful. Also I wipe down the child. It makes it really hard though with nieces and nephews. We try and respect one another and I say go wash all the gluten stuff off or I do kind of a gluten alert!! They think it is kind of funny, so we try to put a fun spin on it.

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