On a hot summer day when my twins were only a year and a half old, I decided to make them some cold lunches. Simple enough, right?
Three hours later we walked out of the hospital.
On that sunny day, I made my children peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into cute little squares. I sliced banana and put it on the side. It was the perfect meal for growing boys. Feeding them, I couldn’t help feel proud of myself for such a nice meal on such a hot day. As I was busy patting myself on the back, my son began to break out in splotchy red rashes. One trip to the hospital confirmed my worst suspicions. Peanut butter wasn’t a good choice for an afternoon meal ever again, because my child happened to be allergic to it.
Flash forward two years. Armed with this knowledge and Epi-Pens, we have managed to keep both twins, and their little brother, alive. Peanut butter is barely, if ever, eaten in the home. As our son’s greatest protector, I look over packaging for ingredients to make sure everything he consumes is nut free. That is until a bag of cookies catches my attention at the grocery store.
The cookies were chocolate chip, with peanut butter cups baked into them. I don’t know who is in charge of coming up with crazy cookie ideas, but they need a raise because these were an amazing idea. I couldn’t resist buying a pack and bringing it home. Once you know your child has a peanut allergy, it is relatively easy to shield them from the dangerous little nut.
Let me tell you, for what it’s worth, these cookies were delicious. If they didn’t scar my family, we probably would keep them constantly in stock. Now, I knew there would come a point where my kids would catch me munching cookies and demand some. You don’t live in a house with toddlers without understanding they will always find the cookies.
When the kids came around demanding their fair share, I doled out a couple of cookies to the youngest and to his brother. The youngest we had checked when he turned one if he had an allergy by smearing peanut butter on some bread and putting 911 on speed dial. It wasn’t fair to me that one allergic kid keep his brother’s from missing out on peanut butter. So I gave some regular, non-laden with peanut butter cups, cookies to the son we took to the hospital and some peanut butter goodness cookies to his brothers.
Now, on that fateful day many years ago when we first found out about the allergy, when my son started to break out, I administered allergy meds to both children. They were twins, so I figured better safe than sorry to hit them both with the medicine on the chance they both might be going through an allergic reaction. Then, I ran to the other room to grab my phone so I could call people and get the situation under control. It should also be noted when my twins were babies, they had eczema and not the best skin. They also looked very, very, similar.
I have always prided myself on being able to tell my sons apart. Even as babies, when they looked almost identical, I could still be counted on to differentiate who was who.
As I looked over at my now four-year old son, I first thought he was rubbing his eye because he was tired. This made me excited. Who doesn’t love an early bedtime?
“You sleepy, Buddy?” I asked, trying to contain my excitement. When he turned towards me, my stomach dropped.
This kid’s normally adorable face had transformed. He looked less like my son and more like Sloth from The Goonies.
I scooped him up and brought him to the kitchen.
“Shit. Shit. SHIT!” I shouted as I grabbed the allergy medicine and motioned to my wife.
She looked at me confused.
“Remember when we found out Killian had the peanut allergy? Remember how it was weird how his allergy tests came back as barely any irritation to peanut butter? Well, I think I had taken the wrong kid to the hospital.” I said, turning our son in her direction.
“Shit!” she said, before grabbing him and coats. As she bundled them up for a hospital trip, I told her to hold on a moment. Pulling my phone out, I snapped a picture of my son’s splotchy mug.
“We just gave him medication, I am sure the doctors will want to see how his reaction looked before that” I defensively said, as I uploaded the photo to social media. As my son went on his way to the hospital, I sat down next to my other two children and stared at my other twin. My phone beeped out an alert for a message. The message from my wife flashed across the screen.
“Don’t ever give me shit about mistaking the twins again.”