Saturday, May 14, 2011

A request from a food allergy parent

The week before last I was cleaning thru dash1's bookbag, because, as any mother of a kid in school knows, when you want the skinny on what's going on you head straight to the bookbag. 

How that child can rat hole away so many things in there is beyond me.

In his bookbag I found a little construction paper card that said "sorry" on the front.  My first instinct was "oh crap what did my kid do?".  I opened up the card and read "I'm sorry I almost made you so sick". 

Ummm.... what went on at school?  Clearly I was not in the loop here.

I ask dash1 about the card and he told me, very matter of factly that 2 little girls in his class got up from their table at lunch and walked over to his peanut free table and waved a PB&J in his face. 

Dash1, who in case your just joining me has severe allergies to eggs and peanuts, handles his food allergies very matter of factly.  He doesn't really freak out or take them lightly, he called over his teacher who was in the lunch room and let her know what was happening.


When I asked what happened next he summed it up rather nicely, "oh mom, Mrs. --- was PISSED."  Apparently the girls got a talking to and the parents were informed.  I will admit, there is part of me that wonders if this was enough, but then again they are only kindergarteners.

One mother came up to me the next day at school and told me that her daughter was so upset over getting in trouble she started throwing up and she had to come get her at school and "just hold her for the rest of the day.". 

Forgive me, I'm not moved.  {Sidenote- quite frankly, this mom is weird anyways.  Really, she took her kid out of school at 2:00 to "get her pretty" for her 6:00 birthday party.}

Bullying is no joke in school anymore.  Dash1's school has had no less than five assemblies on it,and in my mind, waving a pb&j in the face of someone for whom peanut butter is lethal is on par with pushing them around on the playground. 

And speaking of food allergies... did you know last week was food allergy awareness week?  {I know I know I should have blogged then, when I had the mojo blogger was down.  Yeah, that's right, I'm passing the buck.}

Here's what schools AND parents, both the parents of the allergy kids and the non allergy kids need to do.  We can't just slap up a sign on the classroom door of a peanut with a line through it, that's not enough.  Sure a kindergartener gets that that means NO PEANUTS but do they really understand why?  Probably not.

We need to explain to them, on their level what it means. Some people can eat peanut butter all day long, when you eat peanut butter your tummy thinks its awesome, when other kids eat it it can make them very very sick.  There, that's the start of a talk.

Food restrictions due to allergies can be seen as bothersome or an overreaction by non-allergy parents.  I've know this first hand.  I saw the eye rolls and sighs when the teacher announced at orientation that there were peanut allergies in the room, trust me folks, its no walk in the park for us.

Not to mention a lot of time kids with severe food allergies also have other medical issues that go hand in hand.  Dash1 also has allergy asthma, which during a flare up is a nightmare.  The afternoon after the sandwich was waved in his face he had an asthma attack and his oxygen levels plummeted.


At our school, peanuts aren't outlawed all together, there are no peanut snacks allowed IN the class but the lunchroom is still fair game.  What is needed is a level of understanding on the part of all involved.

I can't speak for all allergy parents, but I know that I've tried to do my best to safe guard my son.  He knows what can happen if he ingest an allergen, he knows that he needs to be vigilant and take precautions. If your a non allergy parent, take the time to talk to your kids, somewhere an allergy parent is reading a really long list of ingredients and will thank you for it.

5 comments:

  1. Jeez! What are these parents teaching their kids? Clearly you've taught Dash 1 well, he totally did the right thing and advocated for himself...good for him. It's insane that people think that food allergies and restrictions are some choice or some self-righteous movement - though I don't have an anaphylactic response to wheat, it still messes me up, and yet I still get people looking at me kind of sideways sometimes. Insane.

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  2. Good for Dash1!!

    I can't say I know a lot about allergies, especially food allergies, but I learn more and more every time you post about it. I can't thank you enough for the information you are giving me. It's helping me be more aware and considerate of people with food allergies.

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  3. I agree whole-heartedly. We're gfcf (though we're very lucky not have any kind of life-threatening reaction) and we've had issues too. Keep up the good work!

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  4. Good for him! It sounds like he handled the situation very well. My son had a little girl in his class that was allergic to peanuts. She kept an epi-pen on her desk. She was absolutely terrified that she would ever have to use it, so there were no peanuts allowed ever in her class or in the kids' lunches. (This was a small private school) I learned how to be creative that year. I don't think it is too much to ask parents.

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  5. If I found out my son had acted that way, I would have given him a major talking to at home - no way would I have "held him all day" because he behaved hideously toward another child. No wonder bullying is such a problem.

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