Classroom parties, peanut allergies, and homemade cookies

Having a child with an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts is not easy. Every trip to the store is full of label reading and "nope, she can't eat this either." Going out to eat involves informing the wait staff and restaurant manager that they need to insure there's no cross-contamination with products that are made with or contain peaunuts/tree nuts (and sesame...let's not forget sesame).

For the most part, people are very accommodating ... the last time we went to eat with my mother-in-law, our waitress went out of her way to be awesome and made sure everything was "risk free." But every now and then you run in to people who act like it's "no big deal" if there's a little bit of risk that Olivia might "accidentally" consume something made with (or near) peanut products.

Case in point: back in December I blogged about the brainless irresponsible parents who chose to ignore the "peanut allergy" warnings for classroom "holiday party" and sent in foods made with peanut butter, peanuts, and various other tree nuts. I was furious after that party - how hard is it to just NOT cook something that contains peanuts? How difficult is it to take the health and safety of all the kids into consideration?

Sometimes I really want to just smack people upside the head and scream "YES! This is a serious peanut allergy. NO she cannot eat anything that is made with peanuts or tree nuts, nor can she eat anything that is PROCESSED in a plant that processes food made with peanuts or tree nuts." There is no gray area here - I have instituted a ban on these products. Hell, I try to not eat peanut butter if Liv is home, just because I don't want her to come in contact with it. (Yeah. I'm a bit overprotective. The French would hate me).

I'm trying to protect my daughter and meanwhile these other parents are serving peanut butter cookies to the classroom without pausing to think about how potentially dangerous that could be. This is not OK with me.

Fast forward to today. The classroom mom for Liv's second grade class called me and asked me to bring in the treat for the classroom Valentine's Day party. She said that she cannot imagine what it's like to have to deal with this kind of allergy, and she wants to make sure Olivia can eat the very same treats as the rest of the class. She didn't want to single her out or make her feel "left out" of the fun.

I thanked her for the concern and told her how much I truly appreciated it. And, I agreed to bake homemade sugar cookies - from scratch - that are peanut free and soy free (there's a soy allergy in the class too). Beyond thanking her over and over and over again, I really wanted to give her a gold star for caring this much. It means so much to me that another parent would be so concerned about my daughter's health and well-being.

It's all about using your brain, kids.

While it can be challenging, dealing with a food allergy doesn't have to be scary - it's about being smart and understanding how serious it really is. And when it comes to peanuts and tree nuts for Olivia ... "no" really does mean "never."

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