Wednesday, September 28, 2011

But We're a Sweet Potato Family!

We started Olive on solid foods last week. Rice cereal was food number one, taken with interest but a lack of enthusiasm. Food number two was a pear puree, which she really didn't seem to like much at all. Food three was a sweet potato puree. This went over like gangbusters and was a beautifully messy meal. She loved it and ate plenty. I made a big batch and froze it, thinking it would last for months, congratulating myself on preparing for the future and being on top of things, for once. Then came the spots.

By the end of that day she was covered in tiny red spots. Our thought process went something like this:  

What happened?
It was obviously an allergic reaction to the sweet potato.
But every book on baby food ever written lists sweet potato as one of the safest foods to introduce to babies.
Well, we have the exception to the rule.
Does this mean she'll be allergic to sweet potatoes forever?
I don't know, I hope not.
But we're a sweet potato family! We love sweet potatoes! Do we have to give them up? What about regular potatoes? Do you think it is all tubers, or just ones in the family Convolvulaceae? etc etc.

Our hand-wringing over a possibly spudless future did a good job of blocking our more critical thinking skills and didn't allow us to consider the innocence of the poor potato. For indeed, it was innocent. I went to playgroup the next day with my little spotted girl and one of the parents immediately said 'Roseola.' I gently reminded her that my daughter's name was Olive, but generously threw in that Roseola was nice too, very earthy. 

It turns out roseola is a highly communicable virus that most infants contract at one time or another. It manifests itself with a fever and an outbreak of little red spots and runs its course in three to five days. Her son had it last week, and he probably had passed it onto Olive. Hmm, she was pretty warm. I had attributed that to the potato as well, somehow.

The lesson here? Don't rush to judgement. Cause and effect is all well and good, but coincidences happen. Though it is hard when your perfect little child is uncomfortable, feverish or covered in one million red spots, try to let a little rationality creep into your thought process, and reach out to other parents for their input. As I type this, Olive is napping peacefully, the spots gone, the fever cooled. We can all breathe easy and resume our life as a sweet potato family once again.

(creative commons image by holycalamity)

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