My DD is turning 3 in a couple weeks. Last summer, I remember specifically, a platter coming out that was cheese, salami, a couple kinds of crackers, and carrots. She went to take a carrot and looked at me to make sure. And I told her it was okay. So she was just over 2 then. But I remember her doing it before then. If you asked her yes/no questions about what she could have, she'd answer right. Can you have milk? No. Ice cream? No. Rice milk? yes. She knows she can't touch anyone else's drink. She knows not to even ask for a lollipop at the bank or anything. But she'll ask sometimes for "her" lollipop (I get Barley Sugar ones with no flavor/color in them, or the clear rock candy lollipops as a special treat once in a while). But I also keep a lock on the pantry, where everything non-perishable is kept, just in case. She knows that "her" yogurt is in little glass jars (as opposed to Daddy's yogurt in regular containers). She's in a 2 year old program for Preschool, and she always brings in her own snack. She doesn't even ask for what the other kids are having. She has so many intolerances that the teachers know the only things safe for her to "share" are carrots and bananas. If it's processed, they don't give it to her.
I'm trying to remember when she was 20 months... we went to FL for a week... and I'm trying to think if she had to "choose" foods. Can't remember, sorry. I make sure as soon as we go somewhere though to tell everyone not to give her food. Even now, people will ask me before they give it to her, even if she asks for it by name. I've taken stuff out of her mouth if I've had to. My kids only have intolerances, not anaphylactic allergies, so it's not AS imperitive (it's only me and her who have to deal with 3 screaming long nights). I probably would get one of those "Do not feed me" shirts if it was an allergy.
Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)