1. state or quality of being vigilant; watchfulness: Vigilance is required in the event of treachery.
2. Pathology. insomnia.
Origin: 1560–70; alter. ( -ance for -ancy ) of obs. vigilancy L. vigilantia; see vigilant, -ancy Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
What it means to have a kid with food allergies:
It means that I worry any time I open a packet of instant 3 in 1 coffee, because the fine powder that floats up out of the mug might settle on something I can’t see, and the milk in it will get into her food.
It means that every time I make a breakfast that involves bread or anything that has wheat, I have to wash my hands in between handling our food and her food. And if while I’m eating she needs help, like with cutting her special toast, for example, I have to wash my hands again before I can touch her food.
It means that I’m super anxious about crumbs at the table. I always wipe her spot at the table first when the cloth is the cleanest, then move on to the rest of the table.
It means that anytime we’re serving food, I have to watch to make sure there isn’t any accidental cross contamination into the safe foods. No crumbs, no drips, no using serving utensils for multiple dishes. No touching bowls of plates when serving out the food.
It means that if I’ve been drinking milk or tea, and she needs a kiss, I have to wipe my mouth carefully before I kiss her.
It means that at Halloween, we come home and go through her candy, sorting out all the chocolate and other things she can’t have, and trade her for the bags of chips and the fruit gummies that she can have.
It means that we can only eat out at certain restaurants, and even then only certain menu items are safe. We have pored over many a restaurant’s ingredients list online, and have spoken to many a chef to find out what a certain dish is made with. It means that whenever we find a place that does offer something safe, we make sure we go back there, and often.
It means that I thought about getting a separate toaster for her so that we wouldn’t contaminate it with our bread crumbs. In the end we got a toaster oven that has two racks, and we keep her bread toasting on the top, and ours on the bottom, so the wheat crumbs won’t fall on her special bread.
It means that she wears a MedicAlert bracelet whenever she goes out and she’ll be under someone else’s supervision (at school, playdates, parties, etc.).
It means that for the first three years of her life we’ve had to avoid shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab) and fish, not because she was allergic to them, but because they are foods that people are commonly allergic to. Since I have a slight reaction to crab and lobster, combined with the fact that she has a lot of other food allergies, we were advised to keep her off fish and shellfish until she was older and could be tested for them.
It means that I go through the ingredients of everything we buy to make sure it’s safe, even those things which we’ve previously vetted, because the ingredients may have changed since we bought them last. It has happened.
It means that she always has two Epi-Pens and a bottle of Benadryl nearby at all times.
It means that at school she has to have her own snacks, her own special cookies and treats, and can’t use certain materials like Play-Doh or egg cartons. It means that I nearly cried when her kindergarten teacher got her whole allergy information from us, and then asked for recipes for wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free birthday cakes, so that she could make cakes for the monthly birthday celebration not only for our daughter, BUT FOR THE WHOLE CLASS. :*)