Monkey is taking part in a Free From Feast this year to raise money for Allergy UK. Last year she raised £200 and this year we want to do even better. So when I started this challenge today was obvious - F was for fundraising!
But the more I've been thinking about Monkey's allergies the more I've realised that there's another F that is a big part of every allergy parents life - FEAR!
They may not always look frightened. They'll be used to fighting for their kids and they'll have become experts in their allergies. I can guarantee you they'll still be scared.
They'll feel the fear pre-diagnosis when they know there's something wrong with their baby but nobody can tell them what.
They'll feel the fear when their baby isn't even on the chart for weight. The fear will get worse when they hear the words 'failure to thrive'. They'll come to realise that is just medical talk for poor growth but in that moment, along with everything else they're worrying about, they will think people are saying they're not looking after their baby properly.
Weaning will bring even more fear. With each new food they'll feel like they're potentially poisoning their child.
There will be fear when the baby starts nursery. How can anybody possibly keep their baby as safe as they do? Will everybody know about their allergies? What if they get another child's food?
There'll be fear about doing tests and giving medication. There'll be more fear about not.
Soft play centres and playgrounds are scary places. What if another child drops something? There's that fear again!
Most of all they fear seeing their baby in hospital again. They fear feeling helpless.
I've had all of these fears (and more!) with Monkey but I don't want her to feel scared. As she gets older I will need to teach her about her allergies. She needs to know how serious they can be. But I don't want her wrapped up in cotton wool. I don't want her thinking she can't do things. I don't want her feeling the fear.
I'll do that for her...
Monkey is raising money for Allergy UK