How do I transition from, "I know your sensory disorder sometimes makes trying new things harder for you than for other people, but remember, new foods are not going to actually hurt you. If something tastes bad you can just spit it out. It won't kill you. Please try new foods. Try everything!" to "Always ask an adult before you take a bite out of anything you haven't had before. Read labels on food packages. Don't eat or even touch anything that says PEANUTS or PEANUT BUTTER or PEANUT FLAVOR or MAY CONTAIN NUTS or MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NUTS. Don't allow other kids to share food with you. Don't eat at a restaurant, ever, unless I am there with you and I've brought your Epi-Pen."?
How do I do this? How do I tell a child who once spent an entire year of his life starving himself nearly to the point of mandatory feeding tube insertion because he was afraid of eating food that certain foods he could eat without trouble a week ago can now, suddenly, KILL HIM, without sending four years' worth of constant effort to get him to eat well careening back to square one?
How do I convince a child for whom certain shirt tags feel like little knives constantly stabbing his back, a child who can feel a tiny crease in his sock as though it were a rock in his shoe, a child who is terrified of needles, that he must now carry an Epi-Pen with him at all times, and practice repeatedly with a dummy pen to learn how to inject himself with it, and that if he feels a severe reaction coming on and there is no one around to help, he must use it, he must stab himself with a needle, and he must hold it there on his leg, and he must hold still and let the medicine flow, no matter how much it hurts him, no matter how scared he is?
How do I protect a child who was already quirky, skinny, short, bookish, nerdy, dreamy, uncoordinated, red-haired, and dangerously smart from getting teased by children or excluded by adults even more than he already was before, because he now has an allergy that many people seem to find so inconvenient to deal with that they'd like to isolate the children who have it entirely from other kids at school?
How do I convince not-so-medically-savvy family friends and relatives who have seen my kid eat peanuts before without trouble that no, he can't have just a little, and yes, in fact, three bites of a peanut butter cookie could actually, now, kill my son?
How do I make myself really believe the words of our brand new allergist, that my child probably won't die from this, that he may even outgrow it, that there are treatments down the line that could help him overcome this entirely in five years, or ten, that this won't change his life to terribly, that really, truly, everything will be okay?