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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:24 pm
Posts: 62
Location: NB
My son who is five is very careful about food. He does not accept any food from anyone without asking me if it's ok. He even had me read labels on his Easter candy. This month at school there were many birthdays and it must have got to him, we keep special treats in the side of his book bag for these occasions and it seemed like it was working well.

I was volunteering at my son's school and ran into another mom as I was leaving. She told me that my son had stopped her when she was bringing in her daughters cupcakes and asked her if they were peanut free. He asked her to tell the teacher they were peanut free so she assured the teacher that they had been very careful and they were peanut free. We had made cupcakes the night before so I ran home and grabbed one to bring back to school - this was Monday and the party had been on Friday. That night I asked my son if he had one of the cupcakes and he said he did, and that it was peanut free. He said something about the sign on the door saying peanut free so others were not allowed to bring peanuts. He would not back down from this idea that it was OK. This is the first time the longing for a cupcake or to be included has ever interfered with our rules. I reminded him of the rules, we don't eat food from bakeries, we don't eat food without labels and we don't eat food from other peoples homes because if they eat peanuts the foods not safe. I used some advice I read in an Allergic Living facebook post about the magic wand and told him I wished I had a magic wand and could make all the cupcakes peanut free. This really seemed to be what he needed to hear.

I am glad in a strange way that he got to be included and that the parent was careful and nothing happened. I sent a note to the teacher noting that he was having a hard time with the birthday treats as well as a reminder of the food rules he needed to follow. I feel a little shaken that my son's longing for a cupcake could lead him to break our rules, and saddened that he was longing bad enough to convince a parent to convince a teacher. I feel that getting angry at this point would serve no purpose, I feel so blessed that he is OK and the parent was very careful in their cooking. I have a new sense of empathy for my child. Today my sister gave him a box of Smarties and he handed it to me to read the label. He is cautious, he follows the rules, and he understands the seriousness but he is five...

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Son - Anaphylaxis to peanuts, treenuts, allergic to cats, dogs, grass & trees


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 796
Location: Vancouver, BC
Wow, I'm glad your son was OK after the dubious cupcake. That's scary about him breaking the rules. My 5yr old DD did the same thing around Christmas when a classmate offered her a piece of candy cane. She told him she should have it because she was allergic to peanuts, and the kid said 'there aren't any peanuts in this' and just put a piece on her desk. I nearly died when I asked what happened next and she said 'I ate it, but it was yucky'. Needless to say, we had a chat about accepting food from others. It's hard to make kids understand that while they are supposed to nice and polite to other people and respect authority (teacher, principal, friend's parent, etc), that even those people might not know if something contains an allergen.

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
jomatt.....your post brought me to tears. The empathy for what our children do and will go through rips at my mommy heart strings. What a moment as an allergy parent, I think you were wonderfuyl in your understanding and dealing with the situation. You child's desire to be included, your desire to keep him safe, how thankful we all are that this parent really did have a safe food. I am thankful that our school does not allow food treats for special events...birthdays/bake sales etc.

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DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
I remember really well what it used to feel like when birthday treats were served at school. There were no peanut bans at the time and I was the only allergic kid in my class (and 1 of 3 in the entire elementary school!). I remember thinking (and this was starting at age 5 as well) how even though I knew that it could hurt me, I wanted to take the risk so I could be like everyone else. It's really hard because in a way, you really do have to grow up faster than your friends and watch your own back. Sometimes it hurt a lot to watch all my friends scarf down treats while I watched, feeling completely left out. He's a smart kid and from what you say, he knows what to do and what not to do. I'm glad you were understanding and remained calm. I know all you want is to keep him safe but I also know from personal experience, it's really hard for him too.

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Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
Jomatt-your son was not backing down because in his mind, he made the proper inquiries and recieved the confirmation that the cupcakes were free of allergens. What he needs to understand is that not everyone gets it and just because the parent states they are nut free doesn't mean they are. It usually means that she didn't add any nuts to the mixture.

When I bake, I might use the same measuring cup to measure sugar and flour. My sugar canister is now contaminated with wheat. Lots of people measure nuts and then flour etc. How often is the canister washed out as opposed to topped up? Did the parent read every single ingredient's label? These are just some of the questions that we have.

In the end, it is simply not worth it to take the risk. He is just to important to you and the potential outcome too disasterous. I know that it isn't fun to be singled out. At times, the allergic individual can feel like the only one who has something that makes them different but, they are. Everyone has something...everyone.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:24 pm
Posts: 62
Location: NB
Thanks all for the replies, your comments gave me some new insights on this incident.

Jomatt

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Son - Anaphylaxis to peanuts, treenuts, allergic to cats, dogs, grass & trees


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:22 pm
Posts: 173
_Susan_ wrote:
Jomatt-your son was not backing down because in his mind, he made the proper inquiries and received the confirmation that the cupcakes were free of allergens. What he needs to understand is that not everyone gets it and just because the parent states they are nut free doesn't mean they are. It usually means that she didn't add any nuts to the mixture.

When I bake, I might use the same measuring cup to measure sugar and flour. My sugar canister is now contaminated with wheat. Lots of people measure nuts and then flour etc. How often is the canister washed out as opposed to topped up? Did the parent read every single ingredient's label? These are just some of the questions that we have.

In the end, it is simply not worth it to take the risk. He is just to important to you and the potential outcome too disastrous. I know that it isn't fun to be singled out. At times, the allergic individual can feel like the only one who has something that makes them different but, they are. Everyone has something...everyone.

Also, not everyone will read the "may contain traces of..." that is written on the label or even completely read the labels, they think that the ingredient is what it is (for example "chocolate chips"). Maybe they emptied the product into a container and now they don't even have the label to read. Each ingredient that is used in the cupcakes has a label, but if you no longer have the label to read, you cannot ensure that they are completely safe. I had to explain this to my mum last Christmas because she was determined to bake something safe for my youngest son and husband to eat. She had no idea how complicated it was. After much searching and many tears she was finally able to bake some safe cookies for them. She couldn't believe how many "may contain traces of..." she read on the labels of the ingredients. She had to go out and buy different raisins to use because she couldn't use the ones she already had, they had a "may contain traces of..." written on the label.

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Married mom of 4 living children and a baby girl in Heaven.
Between myself, my husband, and our children we have way too many allergies to list.


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
Susan, good point about the child's thought process. It's not easy to understand as a young one that not all mommies "get" allergies.
They seem to get most of the other stuff the same as your own Mom.

Like Lisa, I can't help but put myself in your little guy's shoes. I'll confess - even as an adult, you sometimes get sick of being left out, the more time between reactions, the more likely you are to try to convince yourself - "I'm sure it will be ok" if you're staring at a great dessert that everyone else is about to "scarf down" (to borrow from Lisa).

I do resist, but occasionally it's not as easy. Pls. remember this about your allergic child when you think "how could he or she?" - they live this 24/7 and 365. There can be moments when he, like anybody, wants to just do what everybody else is doing. So I think the best is to keep re-raising when the opportunity presents itself, calmly reinforcing the rules.

Good on you Jomatt for how you handled this, and reminded the teacher. I do wish we could get past the non-stop cupcake parade at school, and find more non-food ways to have celebrate. We're just too food-centric as a society.

p.s. I'm glad Sam Yaffe's "magic wand" column proved helpful - we've heard that from others, in other situations. Her msg. is that kid's just want to know you understand it's not easy, then they can get on with it. I'm so impressed by the allergic kids I meet. Great little troopers.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
Wonder what other parents and kids would think if there was a party at school where ONLY the kids with allergies could eat and everyone else had to watch...

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
I had a similar incident with my son & popcorn at school. I did talk to him about it extensively, but in kindergarten, I feel that it is up to the adults to keep the children safe. Neither he nor the parent have authority to tell the teacher that the cupcakes were ok, unless they hear it from you, he just can't have it.

I know how hard it is! Food is such A BIG part of school, there's always a birthday or even lollypops being taped to bday invitations. Usually my ds is fine with it, but sometimes he's upset. I mark all bdays on the calendar to send a cupcake, but if a mom swtiches days I sometimes miss out.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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