Useful tips for parents from BugaBees creator & food allergy advocate Amy Recob

by amanda
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Amy Recob’s book “The BugaBees friends with food allergies” was named one of the top 10 best books on allergy by Healthline.com in 2017.

For my family, Amy’s book has been a constant source of comfort. To my 2 little boys, one of whom has severe allergies to eggs, dairy, and peanuts, the BugaBees are like family. A regular staple during bedtime reading, 3-year-old Corey’s face lights up when we read the pages about Cricket and Bumblebee who are, in his own words

“exactly like me, mummy!”

The most important message for Corey was knowing that he could have fun, despite being allergic to something.

Seeing how much my 2 boys enjoyed the BugaBees made me think why not spread this joy? My kids have found more compassion and empathy through being able to identify with the BugaBees, this message should be spread to every child, food allergic or not.

This inspired me to organize the following public story reading of this book and more.

Link to more details about event here!

Q & A with Author of BugaBees Friends With Food Allergies author Amy Recob

In the midst of planning this reading, I reached out to Amy to let her know about our public reading. I am an absolute fangirl at this point and wasn’t even sure she was going to reply. But she did!

I love the way we food allergy parents instantly connect. Whether we are authors, busy professionals or stay-at-home-mums/dads. We might be in totally different time zones, living in totally different environments, but speak the same language when it comes to parenting our food-allergic children. We face the same struggles and worries of letting our food allergic children out into the world.

Here are Amy’s candid responses, containing some invaluable nuggets of advice, not only for food allergy parents everywhere but also useful for anyone who knows a child or friend with food allergies.

Could you share a little about your background?

Sure! I’m a midwestern girl from the US and have been a resident of Wisconsin for most of my life. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in business communications and have always loved writing, both in my professional career and just for fun. I am a proud parent to two great kids, Max and Mollie, and I currently work as a fundraising professional for a local community hospital. As the author of the BugaBees books, I have been honored to combine my work in the healthcare field to further support and educate families living with food allergies.

What inspired you to write these books? 

Of course, my children were the inspiration for the books! My daughter, Mollie, inspired The BugaBees when she was 18 months old and first diagnosed with severe peanut and tree nut allergies. Three years later, her brother Max was born and inspired The BugyBops for non-allergic siblings, friends, and classmates.

The general public tends to trivialize the seriousness of food allergies in children. What would be the one thing our allergic community should do to emphasize that food allergies are real. 

Wow, great question! And one I had to really think about. It’s true that food allergies are often trivialized. I think the food allergy community has to remember that unless you live with the realities of that kind of diagnosis every day, it’s hard to grasp the severity. I know it can be hurtful sometimes when people just don’t “get” it. As parents, we definitely have to speak up on behalf of our children. I think the best thing we can do is to look for teachable moments in response to a joke or a condescending comment or any occasion where the seriousness of a food allergy diagnosis is minimized. I have had the best results when I can frame it in a way that is factual and non-confrontational. Have integrity in your comments and appeal to the empathy of others. I’ve often said, “I’m sure if you were in my situation, you would appreciate any extra efforts that could be made to keep your child safe.” Show appreciation and look for opportunities to inspire understanding (even when you might feel angry or offended.)

I think the best thing we can do is to look for teachable moments in response to a joke or a condescending comment or any occasion where the seriousness of a food allergy diagnosis is minimized. I have had the best results when I can frame it in a way that is factual and non-confrontational. Have integrity in your comments and appeal to the empathy of others.

Amy Recob – author and food allergy advocate

What would be one piece of advice you would give yourself if you could go back in time to when your child’s food allergy was first diagnosed? 

I think my best advice would be to always look for the silver lining. I obviously worried a lot about my daughter’s physical health and wellbeing when she was first diagnosed, but I worried just as much about her emotional health. It’s so hard to watch your child feel left out, disappointed, even bullied at times because of their food allergy. Looking back, she experienced a lot of heartbreak and exclusion, but today she is a much more compassionate, resilient kid. She has learned how to face adversity and handle herself with composure and grace. She speaks up for others and speaks out on topics that she cares about. We have discussed many times that there will always be people with fewer challenges than we face, and there will always be people with more. The key to success is making the best of your personal situation. My silver lining is that my daughter has found strength and courage she might not have otherwise, and that is helping her to make this world a better place!

Thank you, Amy, I’m sure the kids will enjoy the BugaBees as much as we do at our reading this Saturday!

A family photo of Amy and her 2 beautiful children Max and Mollie. Published with permission from Amy Recob.

Come join us this Saturday 12th October 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm for a public reading of the BugaBees and other books. You can also head on over to The BugaBees Friends with Food Allergies website for more information on the BugaBees and Amy.

Do like and share this post with family and friends!

Questions? Email me at amanda@projectsimplicity.sg

Want to join our parent support group https://www.facebook.com/groups/speakallergysquad/about/

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