I’m a food allergy mom.
I walk on eggshells (no pun intended…) around food, so you can imagine my horror at the grocery store the other day.
Let me paint the picture:
It was a Saturday morning.
I was already tired, my kids were ready for lunch, and my cart was overflowing with the week’s groceries. One kid sat in the front of the cart, the other walked alongside it. There was just one more item on my shopping list: provolone cheese.
I rolled to a stop in front of the sliced cheeses … quickly scanned for the provolone … found it … leaned in to grab the package …
“Look mommy… an egg!”
“That’s great, honey.”
“But, LOOK mommy!”
That’s when I saw it.
My son—the one with the life-threatening egg allergy—was standing next to the cart. In his hands, an egg.
I looked closer and saw it wasn’t just any egg.
It was a cracked egg. And, yolk was actively sliding between his chubby fingers.
If you happened to be in the dairy aisle of that Target… I’m sorry.
There’s no doubt you heard me scream, yell, and slap the egg out of my son’s hand. You definitely heard panic, and you certainly saw me run for the bathroom—one hand pushing the cart, the other holding my confused toddler, football-style.
Once the panic had subsided and the eggs were thoroughly scrubbed away, I tried to understand how this happened. And after retelling the story to friends, I realized it’s a frighteningly common situation.
Someone had picked up a carton of eggs and done the universally acceptable peek inside to check for cracks or breaks. But when they discovered broken eggs, they didn’t close the carton and put it back.
They left it open, on the bottom shelf.
Presumably, it’s a notice to future buyers or store associates. A “don’t buy this” or “throw this one away” kind of gesture. Of course, it’s intended to be helpful.
But for my curious three-year-old who—despite constant reminders that he cannot eat or touch eggs—that well-meaning gesture could be life threatening.
It doesn’t matter how “present” the mother is, or how “well behaved” her child may be. Moms have a lot to handle. One quick glance away to grab some cheese, and this could happen to anyone.
It’s a story that could’ve had a tragic ending.
So please take note:
If you leave an open carton of cracked eggs on display, that’s cool. Just, please, place it on a shelf OUT OF REACH of children.
A Frazzled Allergy Mom Who’s Still Catching Her Breath