‘Would you like your child be in the gluten-free class, the lactose-free class, or the peanut-allergic class?’
I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I don’t mean to come off as a bitch, but honestly unless your kid is either directly related to me or is my child’s really good friend, your kid’s allergies aren’t really my responsibility. That probably sounds callous, and I truly don’t mean it in an “I don’t care” sense. I simply mean that it’s not my job to accommodate your child. Now before you get upset and offended, please hear me out.
I realize that food allergies are a real and often life threatening thing. I am by no means discounting that. My older brother has food allergies so I know all about them. He has a wicked lactose allergy. But also, my mother didn’t make it the other parents’ job to accommodate him. During grade school when each student was responsible for a snack day, my mother would send in snacks and juice boxes because that’s what he could have. She also sent in a case of juice boxes just for my brother for the rest of the month in case other parents or the school served milk for snack. She took it upon herself to make sure the teachers and school were aware of his condition, but she by no means made it their responsibility. In fact, I’m pretty sure none of the other parents were even aware of it. Because she didn’t pass the buck. She always made sure that she brought water or juice to family gatherings and birthday parties just in case.
Bean went to a private preschool, and the school provided daily snacks. Because nut allergies can be so life-threatening the school had a “Nut Free Facility” policy, which is fine with me. It was to make sure there were never any incidents with any children and parents had peace of mind. Even IF her current school had that policy, which it doesn’t, I would of course abide by it. I would never knowingly endanger any child, even ones I do not know personally. But her school does have a “No Food Sharing” policy. This struck me as odd because i remember in school trading things in my lunch for something else my friend had and vice versa. But now the kids can’t do that because one kid might eat something that could possibly send them to the hospital or worse, and in our litigious happy society that would mean lawsuits galore. But there comes a time when the parents, and even the kids, have to take responsibility. Bean is at an age that if she did have a food allergy she would be educated and aware of it. She would be able to communicate that there are certain things she can’t have. And when she wasn’t in our presence she would have to be responsible. They make these super cute little bracelets for kids to wear that tell you what allergy the child has. Also the kids have to learn to take care of themselves and be able to have the thought process of “hmmmm I shouldn’t have a bite of so and so’s PB&J sandwich because I’m allergic to peanuts.” When did this issue no longer become the child’s responsibility? One of my best friends hosted a birthday party for her son and 2 of the kids in attendance had egg and peanut allergies. She was considerate enough to make special goody-bags for them so they weren’t left out. But those kids are also neighbors and good friends with her son, so there’s a sense of comradery there. She knows those kids personally,she is friends with the parents. Had the bags been for a classroom party, I doubt the same care and diligence would have been taken. Why are we teaching our kids that their circumstances are everyone’s responsibility except theirs?
Just so you don’t think I’m being a huge bitch……
Bean does not have a food allergy. She does however have a skin issue. She has eczema, which is agitated by bleach. She has been aware of this since she was 3. She will very audibly tell you she can’t touch bleach if she so much as smells it in your home. All of our family members are aware of it, and they are mindful of their bleach use WHEN BEAN IS IN THEIR HOMES. I don’t expect them to not use it completely. I don’t expect my friends to not use bleach simply because we might go to their house. Bean is aware of it and will steer clear of it. Of course being in Florida she swims a lot. The chlorine has an adverse effect, but she also knows that she’s supposed to rinse off and put her lotion on after wards to keep it in check.
If we are friends, chances are I’m aware of your kids allergies, and will always keep them in mind when your child is at our house or in our care. I’m not going to cover your kid in peanut butter any more than you’re going to douse my kid in bleach. If I don’t personally know you, chances are I am not even aware of your child’s allergy and therefore cannot act accordingly, because it is after all, your child’s allergy, not mine. If your child is able to form coherent sentences I firmly believe that they should be able to communicate to me if there are any said allergies. If i don’t have anything suitable for them, as a fellow responsible parent I’m hoping you’re prepared for such an occasion as it is your child who requires the special consideration.
I feel for the parents whose children have serious food allergies. It must be so stressful, especially when the kids are somewhere out of your control. Which is why educating the kids is vital. You can tell everyone from here to Kingdom Come about your kids allergies, but your kid isn’t educated about them, how can you hope that they will be safe out in the big bad world?
I’m severely allergic to stupidity, so it’s my responsibility to avoid it at all costs.
For the record I can’t promise that my family is Nut-Free……have you ever met them??