While visions of mozzarella danced in her head

This is what the universe does to you when you make fun of tofu.
I’m a firm believer in eating REAL food. To me, there is no such thing as a substitute. If I want protein, it’s time for a big steak. Ice cream should be ice cream, not frozen this or that. Eggs should be made of real crack-the -shell eggs, and as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather not waste my time drinking skim milk when I could be enjoying the fatty goodness of the cream-top variety.
I’ve gone as far as standing in the grocery store, giving the evil eye to the tofu “ice cream” and saying aloud, “who buys this stuff? If you’re gonna have ice cream, have ice cream. Who are these people trying to kid?”
And now, I’m afraid it’s me. They’re trying to kid me.
Lately I have been totally consumed by my longing for dairy products, so much that I sat down to write this week’s column and instead of seeing a blank paper I saw a piece of Swiss cheese. I very nearly nibbled on the corner of my computer screen. And when I went to the bathroom to wash the drool off of my face, I came pretty close to tasting my milk and honey soap.
The reason for this dairy desire, this craving for cream, this yearning for yogurt is that my baby girl has broken out with a bad case of eczema. Her precious baby skin that was smooth and silky suddenly turned red and bumpy. So like any good parent, I panicked.
Multiple trips to the doctor and dermatologist only seemed to increase the mystery of the rash and it wasn’t until I snuck her a tiny bite of ice cream that things started adding up. Just the tiniest dab of vanilla soft serve and her face looked like she went hog wild with a tube of red lipstick.
After visiting the allergist it was confirmed. My baby is allergic to milk.
This doesn’t seem like anything too major, especially to someone with a baby who doesn’t really eat much food. Controlling her intake of cow’s milk is really not the problem. The problem is that I choose to nurse my baby instead of bottle feeding, and it follows that I can honestly look at her and say “you are what I eat.”
This choice of mine is something that I feel very strongly about, so when the allergist sat me down and told me that while I am breastfeeding I should cut dairy out of my diet, I considered it my only option. He asked me if I was willing to do it, to which I answered “of course.”
These are the things we do for our children. In fact, having kids often feels like one giant sacrifice after another. First it’s small-sized clothing, then sleep, then a tidy home, and the next thing you know you’re in the supermarket, staring at the sour cream and salivating.
But no matter what it is, you do it. You do it because you love your kids and you want the best for them. It is those same parental emotions and hormones that make moms lift cars off of their kids and dads coach years of little league.
And now those emotions have made me spend hours in the grocery store, reading labels on things that are supposed to taste like butter and buy slices of cheese that aren’t even cheese. I left the checkout lane with soy yogurt, non-dairy creamer, milk-free bread, soy milk, and yes, even a small tub of the ice cream made from tofu.
I might say the universe owes me one, but I know I’ve already been paid back and then some with a chubby little baby girl.


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