Well, I had a major brain pop tonight. We were eating at Carrabba's Italian Grill* when Sera grabbed the pepper grinder. Brilliant as I am, I showed her how to turn the grinder. She had a great time picking it up with her hands but lost interest fairly quickly.
An hour later, while we were at the grocery store, she broke out into hives around her wrists and hands, with one on her eye. We went over any new food she had tried, finding nothing on the list (despite remembering being amazed that she ate a slice of lime with gusto), and then remembered the pepper. She had rubbed some on her eye while she was getting tired at the grocery store, too. A soothing bath later, she was fine. The hives are gone, the redness is gone, and she's fast asleep.
Then I started kicking myself. Gee, genius, they make a spray out of this stuff that is a skin and eye irritant. You think it's a good idea to put a 19-month old's hands in the stuff? We've washed all of her clothes, including her bath towel, so there's not much chance of it coming back.
Hives aside, I find myself strangely at peace tonight. We have our tree up and lit, it was a beautiful night to be out with family, and my oral surgery has cleared my sinuses. For the first time in a year, I have been able to breathe through both my nostrils for an entire week. I thought it was allergies that prevented me from breathing well, but as it turns out at least part of the problem had to do with my upper wisdom teeth. The learning continues.
*We have two ways of eating at Carrabba's. One is celebratory, where we order bruschetta or a wood-fired pizza and a full dinner of Chicken or Steak Marsala and drinks, usually about $70. Then there's the way we went tonight, which we call "Carrabba's on the Cheap." Spaghetti with meatballs and meat sauce with angel hair pasta for two, with salad, bread and soda, $33 with child's meal. We do this one far more often than the first. That's usually saved for birthdays and anniversaries.