I wouldn’t say it’s easy to get complacent, exactly, but after a period of going out with no nut issues arising you sort of forget to look for the obvious. It’s as if you’re primed to seek out nuts in unexpected places (cake crumbs lodged in the corner of a highchair seat; smeary marks on the bar of a supermarket trolley) and forget that there are morons out there who might just wave them at your baby indiscriminately.
Last week we braved a music and singing class at a local community centre: dozens of Mums, Dads and Grandmas warbling The Grand Old Duke of York and shaking maracas at their perplexed tots. Or perhaps that was just Sidney. Mostly, he ignored the lady in plaits leading the sing-a-long and shuffled, deadpan, around the room staring at the other children.
Then, about 40 minutes in, I noticed a hive on his neck: just one, nothing too worrying, but a bit odd nonetheless as I knew he hadn’t rubbed or scratched himself. It had to be something he’d touched.
Then my friend saw the Dad with his snack pot of pistachios, doling them out not just to his own toddler but to other babies, too – including my pal’s 15-month-old son. Without asking her permission first.
What was he thinking, handing out nuts to a child far too young to eat them (who for all he knew may have been allergic) and without asking his mother, sat barely a metre away? Allergies notwithstanding, in my book it is never, ever acceptable to give food to someone else’s child without checking first.
If it hadn’t been the end of the class I would have made my point. As it was, it was turf-out time, so I whipped Sidney away to wipe his hands and face, while my friend took her little one to the toilet to wash his hands and mouth in case he took it upon himself to give Sidney a lick or a grapple later.
But it reminded me how stupid some people are. And, yet again, how vigilant I have to be.