Road Trip with a Food Allergic Child ~Part 4: What did your dog have for dinner?

The final leg of our trip:  Bar Harbor, Maine.   Fortunately we had a microwave at this hotel so we didn't have to worry about setting off any more fire alarms!   At this point in the trip I had become frustrated with cooking out of hotel rooms and trying to create appealing dishes while balancing my tools and ingredients on the limited counter space beside the hotel bathroom sink!  The rest of us were feeling very tired of restaurant food which once again sealed the deal that next time we travel, we will get accommodations with a kitchen.

On our way to Bar Harbor we stopped for lunch and my son had a bowl of clam chowder which came with a package of oyster crackers.   My daughter loves crackers and remembered having them in Florida so she immediately reequested her own pack.  She was very excited as she waited for the waitress to bring her crackers and we were happy that she was able to share in something from a restaurant.   When the crackers came, they were in fact the same ones that she has had before and the ingredients were fine but then I noticed that little U (Kosher Symbol that I often cross-reference with the ingredients for confirmation that something is dairy-free) and it had a D beside it.   I had recently written a blog post about the kosher symbols and now knew that this meant the presence of Dairy.   Even though we knew she had eaten the crackers before without incident and the ingredients read safe, I did not feel comfortable giving them to her with the little D there.  You can imagine that she was very upset and she started bawling in the restaurant.  Other people were looking over wondering what was causing our daughter to throw a fit and they heard us trying to appease her by promising to get her different crackers from the store later etc.   It was a big scene and ruined lunch for everyone.  To make things worse, my husband and I got into an argument afterwards because of this issue because he feels that I am too paranoid at times and that the crackers would have been fine.  I argued that I could not give her something that I felt could be risky and especially when we were in a different country, unsure of where the closest hospital is.  I was very really is exhausting having to scrutinize over every thing she might eat and ingredient labels and then it was causing us to fight which was more upsetting.  We were both tired and frustrated and sad to see her so upset.  It really isn't fair that her brother gets to have the crackers and she doesn't.   We explain to her that fair doesn't mean the same for everybody, and that different people have different needs and circumstances.   Sometimes these explanations just don't help when you are 4 years old.

We had a great time in Bar Harbor despite the food allergy issues and I would highly recommend going there if you ever get the chance.  It is just beautiful and there is lots for a family to do.  On our last day we went for lunch and then took a boat trip to see lobster fishing in action, harbor seals and a lighthouse.   Bar Harbor is a great place to travel to if you have a dog as well.   There are many shops in town that cater to dogs and their owners and they are welcomed in many businesses and hotels.   They are also welcome at the Acadia National Park. 

Kate just loves dogs and on our last evening as we walked to dinner she was happy to see so many dogs out walking and made sure to say hello to all of them.   She was wearing her brown and white polka dot dress that I love and we came across a dog with a coat that matched her dress!  The dog, named Bella, was very friendly and Kate was more than happy to befriend Bella.   Unfortunately, the dog kept licking Kate's face and I had just learned in my allergy safety training course that this can be dangerous for children with food allergies if the dog has eaten something that is not safe for the child.  We went off to dinner and sure enough within a few minutes, Kate had a huge hive on her face.   I am pretty confident that this came from Bella but do not know whether it is because the dog had in fact eaten something with milk, egg or nuts in it or perhaps Kate is allergic to dogs like her brother?   We will find out soon as she is getting her annual allergy testing this week (skin tests) and for the first time ever we are going to do the RAST (blood) testing as well.  I will keep you updated on how that goes!

We are back home now and happy to be eating home-cooked meals!  We have great memories of our trip overall and brought back an adorable little jingle bell lobster ornament that will remind us every year at Christmas of our wonderful trip to Maine.  Nothing beats time together as a family and I am truly grateful that we had such a happy, safe, vacation experience.

Thanks for following me on my journey as we did our Road Trip with a Food Allergic Child!

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