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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Nothing strikes fear into an allergy mum's heart like a dirty floor

It used to be so easy to keep my house clean pre kids. Then I gave birth to a small person... she morphed into a toddler tornado... and I said goodbye to my tidy home.

No more neatly arranged decorative items or spotless floors. They were replaced with random toys and tupperware... all over the floor, chairs, stairs, shelves, under and in the couch. It's like a lucky dip when you sit on the couch, you never know what you're going to find stuffed behind the cushions. My house quickly began looking like a ransacked toy store. With a healthy side serve of dirt, sand, grass and anything else the small child decided to traipse inside. It wasn't pretty all the time, but it was manageable. Then entered child number 2, destructor baby, and everything turned to complete and utter chaos. Now most of the time I can clean all day long and it still looks like a crime scene at the end of the day. Sometimes I feel like all I do is follow them both around with the vacuum cleaner and baby wipes, yet they still manage to cover the floor in crumbs, smear sauce in random places and sneak biscuits onto the couch.

I'm no stranger to mess, in fact you could go as far as saying I embrace it given we do lots of messy sensory play. The reason I get so stressed out over mess on the floors, particularly discarded food, is because of baby girls multiple food allergies. Nothing strikes fear into an allergy mum's heart like watching their child reaching for unsafe food they find on the floor. If she eats the wrong crumbs, finds a random piece of cheese or even a discarded spoon that's touched milk, it can mean hours of pain, screaming, rashes and no sleep... and nobody wants that.

We've navigated food allergies before, when her sister was little, but it was a lot easier with only one child. I always made sure unsafe food was kept away from her up high when we ate and because we didn't drop food on the floor ourselves, any food she dropped and found later was her own safe food. I didn't have to be so vigilant and follow her around micromanaging every speck she picked up. Having an allergy toddler and an older child is a whole different ball game though.

Big sister has outgrown her allergies now, but a lot of the food she eats is still dangerous for her little sister. She's pretty good at asking before she shares food with her, but no matter how many times I tell her not to make a mess or drop food, I can guarantee there'll be a trail of crumbs left wherever she's been eating. There'll also be a curious toddler eagerly waiting to swoop in and eat every last crumb.

Baby girl is only 18 months old so she doesn't understand that she can't eat certain foods, or why, she just wants to eat everything her sister does. Unless our whole family goes dairy, soy and nut free there's always going to be the possibility she can find some food that she shouldn't eat, so right now it's necessary for me to be the mean mummy and take things off her, until she's old enough to understand how to manage her allergies herself, or hopefully outgrows them. 

On top of all of her food allergies, I have quite severe asthma myself and am allergic to cats and dust so I have to clean like a ninja for my own health too. Did I mention we have an indoor cat and our entire upstairs level is carpet? Not exactly the ideal living situation for an asthmatic. I know I shouldn't have a cat when I'm allergic, but he's soooooo cute and so good with the kids, he's basically our third child.

Pre kids {and cat} I could get away with a light vacuum here and there to keep the dust situation and my asthma under control. Now there's a whole different level of carpet cleaning going on, even when the carpet looks clean to the naked eye I can guarantee if I vacuum there'll be all sorts of dirt coming out of it. Between the kids walking food and dirt up the stairs, the cat molting and general household dust build up, I'm cleaning the carpets almost every single day. All the allergies in this house have turned me into the cleaning fairy I always wished I had.

Even though our whole family is well versed in handling allergies, my kids are still messy like everyone elses. Like most mums, I can plead with them til I'm blue in the face please don't drop anything on the floor, please don't eat that, we don't eat food off the floor etc and they'll still do it. Mess is part of our everyday lives. Unlike most other households however, it can have dire consequences, so I have to be on the ball all the time. If you have friends or relatives with allergies please be mindful when you visit them because they're likely as highly strung as I am. Also please don't be alarmed if you ever see them running around like a headless chook picking up stuff off the floor, it's just what us allergy mums do..

Toni x

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  1. This is something I had never even considered before! Just another thing to add to the list of your worries, that really sucks :(