Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Aw, nuts!

With the start of the new school year comes the obligatory grumbling of the parenting community about what foods they are not allowed to send in school lunches.

I'm not sure why there is such hatred for blanket bans of particularly dangerous allergens, but there really is, and it seems to me it's getting worse. Parents rant about it, they suggest ways to sneak in the contraband, gripe about the need for bubble wrapped kids, and wonder out loud what else they can send.

As mother of a child with a peanut allergy - I'm sorry. I really am. I understand that it makes things difficult.

Please know, however, that living in fear of accidental exposure in your allergic child is more difficult. So is taking them trick or treating and knowing they will have to surrender at least half of their haul. So is seeing them disappointed because they can't eat the yummy treat that all the other kids are enjoying because it doesn't have that little logo on it and you can't be sure it's safe. So is repeatedly catching people (even those who know about the allergy) offering things that are clearly unsafe to your child. But the most difficult thing...is watching your child's face swell up and dashing for the Benedryl or Epi-pen and praying it will work in time.

Even before we had children, I respected allergies. I always gave out Halloween candy without peanuts. If made aware of an allergy, I don't serve that food. My home is very low-chemical and nearly scent-free (but it does and probably will always contain non-hypoallergenic dogs!). I ask when we have people over if anyone has any allergies. I hoped this would buy me enough good Karma that my kids wouldn't have serious allergies - alas, not the case. We are lucky and grateful that B2's peanut allergy is mild, but it's still there. Still a worry, still a nuisance. And it doesn't look like he'll outgrow it by age 3 as the doctor hoped he might.

Yes, it sucks, but I can deal with it. We found alternate products. We taught him from the moment he could understand that he is "yergic" to peanuts. He will wear a bracelet when he starts school and will be trained not to eat anything he's not sure about. I'm not sure why other parents find it so difficult, when it isn't even their kids that are at risk. There are so many options - spend five minutes on Pinterest and you'll have more lunchbox ideas than you could ever use.

For those who help keep my boy safe - thank you.

For those who roll their eyes and grumble - count your blessings and don't be so sure you'll never need to rely on a village.

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