I was standing in the waiting area at my son's gymnastics class on Monday, uneventfully waiting for the hour to tick away. It's a comfortable waiting area with spacious, carpeted riser-like steps for you to wait and watch the classes through the wall of windows that looks into the gym. From there you can see your kids do their graceful cartwheels and handsprings or, alternatively, trip over their own feet and fly through the air in an impressive display of flailing limbs. Whichever.
Anyway, the first thirty minutes had gone by quite uneventfully. That was until I glanced over to the entrance of the hallway that leads to the front door and I saw it on the floor:
The Cheez-It Square of Death!!! (cue Psycho shower scene music)
My pulse raced and my breathing quickened. I broke out in a cold sweat. I kept looking over my shoulder at the bright orange, one inch square cracker. It sat there looking all innocent as it mocked me, just waiting for the right moment to strike! Aaaaagh!!
Okay, so that seems a little bit extreme, but it really is true that those things really wig me out. Cheddar cheese goldfish crackers? They're like the piranhas of the snack world to us and they and their inevitable shower of crumbs are simply everywhere where you find kids.
Still seem a bit extreme? The bottom line is that it's hard to have a child with a deadly milk allergy in a world that's littered in cheddar cheese cracker crumbs. They're everywhere from playgrounds and sports venues to regular retail stores where they're knocked off the stroller trays of snacking children and then are selectively ignored by the young child's parents so that someone can step on them and spread the crumbs all over the store from the bottom of their shoe. And if anybody's going to find that trace bit of crumb, it'll be my son. He finds them often enough that I lament that Benedryl doesn't come in a multi-vitamin supplemented formula, y'know, to kill to birds with one stone, so to speak.
Anyway, the place where my son goes for his gymnastics class is no exception to the ubiquitous goldfish cracker rule. The carpeting is a veritable smorgasbord of cheddar cheese cracker crumbs, cookies, sandwich crumbs, and spilled milk. We watch the kids scarf down all this milky goodness and then go running into the gym without so much as wiping their mouths or hands on a napkin, subsequently spreading all that milk-protein all over the equipment. This is why my younger son can't take a gymnastic class even though he'd be quite good at it, but has to sit out in the waiting area in a stroller the entire time.
Yes, he's turning five years old and he still sits in a stroller while we wait, but only because the last time that he was out of the stroller at the gymnastics place, he was gagging on his tongue by the time that we got home. There's nothing like giving shot of epinephrine into your kid's thigh, taking a scenic ambulance ride, and enjoying the hospitality of the hospital overnight to give you the reason to dread kid snacks when you see them.
So, as we got ready to go at the end of the class on Monday, I looked back and the cracker was gone. Gone?! I hustled off to the car just in case it had snuck off and was waiting to pounce.