Later on this winter, my son will turn three. We've started having conversations with him about why we don't eat certain foods, why we don't partake in bread or cake when visiting company. It's hard to know how early is too early and how much he'll comprehend at this age.
When telling him about his food allergies, we always try to give him a reason why, keep the sentences short and easy to remember. Our conversations go something like this:
"Eggs give you the runs and a rash all over."
"Chocolate makes you angry."
"Bread or cake gives us a tummy ache."
"Nuts make you act a little nuts and gives your skin spots!"
I'm always worried I'm going to overwhelm him with the number of foods we're avoiding, but amazingly, he is storing this information away for when it is needed.
Just the other day he surprised me. I was attempting to rework an old Christmas cookie favorite - Peppernuts - when he told me he couldn't have them because he couldn't have nuts! No matter how I tried to explain that they contained no nuts - that it was just the name - he remained steadfast that he couldn't have them.
That definitely warmed my heart and eased some of my fears about his eating the wrong thing when I'm not around. Kids are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for.
I may just have to rename that cookie recipe.