Sometimes life lessons pop up in the most unexpected ways and places, even on your front porch. Learn how this food allergy mom turned an 'oh no' surprise into an important teaching moment for her small son about gratitude, caution, and generosity.
‘Cascarónes’, otherwise known as confetti eggs**, are hollowed-out chicken eggs filled with confetti and dyed different colors. Imagine kids laughing and shrieking as they chase down siblings and smash the confetti-filled eggs on their siblings' heads. Confetti and eggshells EVERYWHERE. Fun! Right?
Not if you have an egg allergy.
Yesterday, while we were out, one of our neighbors left a big bag of homemade confetti eggs on our porch with a sweet note, though it didn't say who they were from. It was someone who was trying to be kind to their neighbors and share their traditions. It was also someone who didn't know about my son Luca’s egg allergy. This had never happened before. A lovely surprise, but…?
So, what did we do?
Instead of throwing the confetti eggs away (which I admit was my first thought) I used the surprise as an opportunity to teach Luca.
I explained to him what they were and why it wasn’t safe for him to play with them. I wanted Luca, who is only three-and-a-half (and allergic to dairy and peanuts, as well as eggs) to know what they are made from so he’ll know to steer clear in the future.
Then we talked about what we could do with them. Instead.
They were so colorful and pretty (and so obviously made with love) that it would have been a shame to throw them away, especially after someone worked hard to make them for us. We decided that Luca would give them to his cousin who does not have food allergies, and then we’d go buy some safe confetti poppers at the store. Luca was excited to share the confetti eggs with his cousin and to explode his own safe ‘poppers’!
Here's where I come out on this as I think about the surprise and what we learned:
Allergy surprises will always come up
When you’re an allergy parent, many things are completely out of your control. And that’s ok. Try to keep calm and talk your kids through unexpected situations. After the initial surprise, focus on making the situation a positive (and memorable) teaching moment. Our cascarónes surprise was filled with important life lessons for Luca on kindness, caution, gratitude, and generosity.
Try and stay creatively flexible
Remember, there is always an alternative out there to make your little one feel included. Having a flexible mindset will help you find alternative paths forward that can be a win for your child and entire family.
About the Author: Courtney Pinkowski is the mother of three-and-a-half-year-old Luca who has severe food allergies, with environmental allergies, too. Since finding out about his allergies she has done everything she can to educate herself, spread awareness, and teach her little guy to advocate for himself. Luca is a proud Ambassador for @redsneakersforoakley and the @elijaalavifoundation. Follow their journey on instagram @luca.advocates.
Credits: Images courtesy of @luca.advocates
In Mexico, cascarónes are popular during Carnival, though people use them for just about any festive occasion. It is thought that they originated in China and made their way to Spain (via Italy with Marco Polo) during the late Middle Ages. In the late 1800’s, the Emperor Maximilian's wife, Carlota (Princess Charlotte of Belgium), introduced them to Mexico. Originally, they were filled with perfumed powders and were a high society sort of ‘thing’. Today they are filled with colorful confetti and require much time and effort to decorate and fill. They are still popular in the US Southwest, as well as in Mexico.