At 11am on Aug. 2, we gave Teapot her third dose of peanut butter. This time, instead of smearing a bit on the tip of a spoon, I slathered a bit on the end of a piece of pizza crust and Teapot went at it.

At 3pm, we were out shopping. It had been raining and we’d had the rain cover on. Inside the store, I took off the cover and peeked at Teapot. She had a speckly red rash around her mouth.

“Look at her mouth,” I told Teapot’s dad.

“It’s fine. It’s just a drool rash.”

Perhaps. She had been chewing on the strap of the stroller harness this whole time.

But when we got home and looked again, the rash had turned blotchy and had spread down her neck. “Are you sure?” I said.

“No. Not anymore. Do you want to give her Benadryl?”

I wasn’t sure. Was I overreacting? It was 4pm. I knew that reactions to allergens were sometimes more severe with subsequent exposures. And though Teapot didn’t seem bothered by the rash – and though she wasn’t having any other symptoms – we decided to err on the side of caution and give her allergy medicine.

Well, we tried to give her allergy medicine. One taste of that fake candy-flavored grossness and Teapot’s arms were flailing. Her mouth was firmly shut and she was up in arms about the foul concoction we were trying to force upon her. Maybe a quarter-teaspoon actually made it down her throat. The rest went in her hair, on me and on the bed.

We watched her carefully for the rest of the night. I was afraid to go to sleep that night and watched the video monitor like a hawk. A sleepy, bleary-eyed hawk. Teapot was fine. She woke up the next morning with somewhat rosy cheeks but the blotchiness had subsided. We decided to make an appointment with Teapot’s doctor anyway so she could start the referral process to an allergist – a process that, we were warned, could take over a year.

And then the guilt started. Did we cause Teapot’s allergy by giving her peanut butter too soon? Was it because I ate peanut butter during my pregnancy? The hospital had peanut butter available to moms and their support people as a snack post-partum! Did a molecule of peanut butter touch Teapot’s eczema and trigger an immune response that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life?

Our doctor told us to get rid of the guilt. There were just so many variables. We did not cause Teapot’s possible allergy. She told us to get Teapot tested and then we’d know for sure.


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