We ended up in the ER last Thursday night after I made my son try pistachios for the first time. Apparently he is violently allergic. We now join other parents as the owners of no less than three Epi Pens and are now enrolled in Label Reading 101 and Remedial Foods That May Be Made With Or Contain Traces of Tree Nuts.
Most everyone I know is surprised that my son has made it to the age of 10 1/2 without us finding out about this allergy. I'm not at all. He's always been a VERY picky eater and, as he is the second child and life must go on, I am frequently the Bad Mom who just lets him get away with not eating something rather than sitting at the dinner table for another four hours (though, usually, not without first threatening to feed him whatever he is ignoring for breakfast). Also, I have never forgotten an incident from my childhood when my brother (who was - and still is - allergic to a LOT of stuff including pistachios how did I not know this?) was forced to eat fish - which he always avoided because he "didn't like it." My father and grandfather had fished all day and my mom and grandma had gutted and cooked all evening and the men insisted that my brother try the fish, which he tearfully did, and then I remember being woken up from my bed on the couch when my parents had to rush my wheezing, puking brother to the hospital.
I realize that some kids (mine) need to be coerced into trying new foods but I've also kept that story in the back of my head and if one of my kids really really doesn't want something I usually don't force it. I believe that kids (like animals in the wild) avoid foods that are naturally dangerous to them.
Now, in my defense, my son eats Nutella (made from hazelnuts) nearly every day, eats peanut butter, and occasionally eats almonds. So when I offered him the pistachios last week I had no idea that he would end up being so allergic. I had no idea that you could be allergic to some tree nuts and not others. I had no idea that I am such a bad mom.