There’s more to being the father of a kid with celiac disease than being annoying at restaurants and crying in grocery stores. There’s a lot of freaking out about the presence of gluten and cross-contamination as well. And sometimes, it involves washing dishes. Lots of dishes.
Last night, I went to the silverware drawer to get some forks and knives for dinner. I pulled out a knife and realized that it was covered with Nutella. “Who put a dirty knife back in the drawer?” I called out. “It’s covered with food!”
“I put mine in the dishwasher!” claimed my eldest, who’s partial to Nutella on toast for breakfast.
And then I knew what had happened.
The night before last, before going to bed, I had run the dishwasher. I didn’t actually go to sleep as my daughter spent the night moaning in pain and then throwing up repeatedly as the stomach bug that had tortured both boys earlier in the week took its turn with Sara. At some point during the night, however, I had made my way downstairs and put the clean dishes away. That is, only the dishes. I left the silverware, meaning to take care of later.
Later didn’t happen as cleaning out buckets of general nastiness and comforting Sara took precedence.
In the morning, Rachel got up earlier than I and put the silverware away. But even before that, Jared had gotten up, fixed himself breakfast, and put his dishes in the dishwasher. So I grabbed all the knives and put them in the dishwasher to be washed again. Then, when I grabbed a fork and realized that it too was dirty, I knew the whole drawer needed to be washed again.
You see, Jared had spread the Nutella on his toast, potentially — perhaps even probably — getting gluten on the knife. When he put it in the dishwasher, that gluten could have been transferred to any or all of the other pieces of flatware. That wasn’t a chance I was willing to take. So it all came out and went in the sink and I got to work.
Now, I understand that gluten probably doesn’t intentionally and murderously spread everywhere it can reach in a diabolical plot to sicken as many people as it can, but when it comes to my daughter, I’m not taking any chances. And so I wash dishes. Sometimes, lots of dishes.