This was a week of food allergy milestones for our family. I wish I could say dear son grew out of one of his allergies! No, not that kind of milestone. We took steps forward to live with our son as a growing preteen who needs more independence.
Dear husband and I have been married 20 years and we went away overnight, leaving our kids with a wonderful young college student in charge. What a wonderful getaway! We had a super time in a nearby city. We had a delicious dinner at a place without a kids’ menu. We came back to happy kids who had played lots of video games and eaten lots of sweets for breakfast. Here’s what made the weekend work:
- College student is a family friend who stayed at our peanut free house
- She also works with disabled kids through the county and is trained to handle emergencies
- We provided the food, sweets and all
- We reinforced Epipen training before we left
- We were always reachable by cell phone
- Daughter and son are both very responsible kdis
Later that week, dear son went on a field trip without me. This was a nearby plantation ( we live in VA) and the staff and I talked over the possible allergens ahead of time. If son had dairy or wheat allergies, I would have needed to attend. Son’s teacher confirmed they were not eating snacks or lunch on the trip. Aside from a crazy thunderstorm, he had a super time. Here’s what made the field trip work:
- Teacher’s willingness to handle the Epipen if needed
- Plantation staff knowledge of their food activities
- Son’s maturity – he did not eat anything baked there
- Trip was close to home
The trickiest outing was to an MLB game without having peanut free seats. The key was getting seats at the top of a section through a wonderful lady at the box office. There was no danger of peanut shells coming into our area from above. We had friends sitting right in front of us. We were lucky and had a group of older gentlemen in our row who were not planning on peanut snacks. The game was fun and son got out with no hives or other reactions. Here’s what made this work:
- Seats that allowed him to be somewhat isolated
- Wipes to clean his armrests
- Friends sitting around him, eating non peanut snacks
- All of son’s food brought in with us, with no problems
I hadn’t realized the 4 seats later in our row could only exit by walking past our group. It worked out fine through the generosity of the older fans. Next time, I would try to bring a bigger group of people for a larger buffer zone.
Of the weekend away, the field trip and the baseball game, our son was most anxious at the game – we were way out of his comfort zone. He was always such a good listener at the “don’t go near that peanut” preschool age, I think it will take some time to show him how to navigate comfortably in this preteen world. Let us know what has worked for you and your preteens and teens –
I volunteered today for Jump Rope for Heart. I did some of the paperwork the teachers need done before they send everything in to American Heart Association.
The PE teacher had pulled out the peanut containing snacks that were sent in, and I had additional safe snacks for my son. So I was very comfortable.
But the volunteer mom dishing out the snacks has a young son ready to eat a peanut butter sandwich at the snack station table. I ask her to not let him eat it there, she gets angry, kid starts screaming. I try to tell the screaming kid that his mom is helping my son out, she doesn’t want me talking to her kid. That’s fine – her right.
A minute later she is dishing Rold Gold pretzels and goldfish into snack bags. Looks safe right? I ask her to please wash hands before she does that because of the sandwich. Another angry remark from her. Her kid is still screaming.
A dirty look and an eye-roll from another mom volunteer.
My son is one of at least 5 peanut allergic kids. I tell the PE teacher and pull my son out of the group to give him the safe snacks and tell him about the problem at the snack table. My son says he won’t eat anything there today anyway. Why is he always the one who has to give something up?
When I am calmer, I will ask the PE teacher to request peanut-free snacks next year. I will ask for a peanut free sign on the snack table.
Deep breath and think about all the folks who DO get it.
We continue on with the best of 2011.
August Cake Break in the beach town of Rehoboth, DE is a nut free bakery. Son could eat whatever he wanted there! It was wonderful seeing him get to pick. He sat at the window seats with his cousins and had the best time. This is my personal favorite allergy moment of 2011.
September School started back up – whether we were ready or now. Here’s a shout out to all the great 4th grade friends who choose to sit at the peanut free table. You guys rock!
October Our son has a super Sunday school teacher who contacted us ahead of time when she read his info sheet. He always feels safe and included in her class.
Halloween was a non-issue for us this year because son got pneumonia that weekend. He had the Harry Potter cape borrowed from his best friend and everything. Nasty timing.
November This past year brought some challenges and some frustrating days where I felt like banging my head against the wall. How many times do I need to say the same exact thing? And then say it again a different way? A big thanks to the nova food allergy support group – these folks have seen and heard it all.
December We are so thankful to our son’s teacher and parents for a year-end party where everything was safe for his classroom. He didn’t need to even open his safe cookie box from home.
Kudos to cooks on both sides of our family, who can manage to serve tasty and safe holiday meals to our son, an uncle who is vegetarian and wheat-allergic, and a cousin with celiac. You are amazing! This year we passed around gourmet chocolates from Simply Nut Free Chocolates that were safe for everyone at our celebrations. Rave reviews!
Happy New Year!
Thanks to all who made 2011 so great. We hope 2012 brings more wonderful allergy friendly products and even more people who “get it”!
February We made the trip to Baltimore to see Dr. Wood, though not much had changed. We found out dear son’s tummy aches after soup were because of soy protein isolate or soy protein concentrate. Very powerful form of soy protein, even if it is a last ingredient. Thank you Dr. Wood! You are always worth the trip!
March It was super NOT to have to make cupcakes for the end of the season. Joy of Cupcakes baked basketball cupcakes and delivered them fresh right before the last game. The team cupcakes had tiny basketballs made of icing – of course the boys ate them first! Not a single icing ball was thrown at a teammate.
April Our boy had some of his best moments of 2011 on a tour of Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, the home of the Phillies. He sat in the dugout and posed in the press room. Awesome! We hope some day he can see a game in person. Phillies fans, keep plugging for an allergy free seating area.
May The baseball practices got much longer this year as son moved into AAA Little League. We are so grateful to all his coaches. They were willing to learn the Epipen, to watch out for any reactions, to treat him like all the other boys who just get dropped off for practice. Special thanks to Coach Leo, Coach Tony, Coach Paul and Coach Darrell – you are helping our son grow into a responsible young man.
June Both kids did a great job cooking this summer. Our daughter made beautiful breakfasts, with eggs and fruit and a taste of chocolate too. Son’s specialty is his fresh fruit designs. We were very proud when he served this meal of hot dogs, corn and fruit salad.
July Nationals park on a summer afternoon, best friends, baseball, peanut free area – all added up to a fun day. It went into extra innings and I don’t remember who won. Who cares? A great day.