Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Food Allergy Frenzy

Food allergies are such a hot button issue right now.  There have been a lot of articles written lately from frustrated parents on both ends of the spectrum.  All three of my girls have had or currently have food allergies and food intolerances.  I try to keep my blog light and non-confrontational, but today I'd like to share my perspective on food allergies.

For a long time Ava, my oldest daughter, couldn't eat nuts because she had a reaction to peanut butter when she was a year old.  When I sent her to preschool, I was relieved to find that it was a 100% nut-free facility.  All snacks and birthday treats served to the kids had to be free of nuts and produced in a nut-free facility. And if your child had an allergy (to nuts or anything else), you had to provide the snacks for your child to eat every day.  If there was a birthday in the classroom, I sent a special snack for Ava to eat.  I was thankful that the school took these matters seriously and understood the concerns that I had as a parent.  I was HAPPY to go out of my way and be inconvenienced to keep Ava safe.

Now Ava is in kindergarten and she doesn't have any allergies to foods!  If you have a kindergartner, you know that birthdays are an EVEN BIGGER deal now.  Our weekends are typically jammed packed celebrating 6th birthdays.  The kids get together and bounce around on inflatables and eat pizza AND cake (or whatever the parents choose to serve) and then come home and pass out.  But they also get to celebrate their birthday at school.  The school has a strict rule that everything has to be nut-free and made in a nut-free facility. Even though Ava no longer had food restrictions, I'm thankful that they have these rules in place.  One of Ava's best friend in her class has a dairy, egg and nut allergy - the same allergies as my Sidney who will start kindergarten in two years.

I am the room mom for Ava's kindergarten class.  All of the holiday parties I've planned include nut-free treats.  I can assure you that those kids love treats and couldn't care less what kind of treat it is. There is a TON of junk food that is nut-free.  Click here for a list of ideas.  My kids would be thrilled to eat any of it.  On days when there is a birthday, the class gets to eat whatever nut-free treat is provided instead of the snack that their mom's and dad's packed. Ava's snack on a typical day is apple slices so when the birthday kid passes out a package of Oreos, Ava is stoked! It's usually the first thing she tells me about when I pick her up from school.

I honestly don't understand why it's so hard for PARENTS to accept that their kid can't bring a big homemade cake to school for their birthday.  The kids seem to be fine with it.  Have you bothered to ask them?  Here's how I'd expect it would go:

Parent: Sweetheart, I was thinking that you could bring in {insert acceptable treat here} for your friends for your birthday treat and then when you get home from school we'll have a big celebration for you and I'll bake a special cake.

Kid: Awesome!  Two treats in one day!  I'm the luckiest kid alive!

Problem solved.  You're welcome.  Now, can we all just get along?

Sidney - 1 year old
A little while after her first reaction to cow's milk
Vomiting and rash around her mouth and neck

 Sidney - 2 1/2 years old
Failed her first egg challenge on the first minuscule bite of egg powder
Redness/rash around the mouth and itching inside her mouth

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm really sensitive to this... My 6 yr old doesn't have an "allergy" but tolerance to dairy & gluten. I've been doing it for 3 years for both myself and him. I'M fine w/it - we bring things everywhere w/us in prep for him to have something of his own.. it's really no big deal. But we also have friends w/kids that have nut allergies.. that one we don't have or he'd starve b/c he eats about a jar of pb a week as his protein source :) I don't know WHY it has to be some homemade cupcake/cookies/ etc & parents can't understand that if that was THEIR child they'd do their best to keep him/her safe yes?? count your blessings i say to other parents that have kids that don't have any allergies & can eat whatever they choose on a given day.

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