Why My Kid's Food Allergies Mean You Should Keep Your Homemade Cake at Home
I am a food allergy parent.
I've blogged about Olivia's allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame many times since she was first diagnosed in 2011.
Today I read an article at the Huffington Post by Carina Hoskisson where she essentially wonders why her kids should "suffer" and not be allowed to eat "lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake" if my kid has a food allergy.
Well, Carina Hoskisson because your lovely, homemade cake that your kid brings to class might contain peanuts or tree nuts and that would pose a danger to my kid.
And I'm not OK with that.
But apparently it's too difficult for Ms. Hoskisson to "accommodate what feels like every child in the universe" with allergy-safe foods. God forbid her child couldn't bring homemade cupcakes to the classroom holiday party because a classmate has a life-threatening food allergy.
Because, you know, not being able to eat "lovely" cakes IS the END OF THE WORLD.
I'm sure her children are going to be permanently scarred because their classmate has a food allergy. And apparently it's ALL ABOUT Ms. Hoskisson and her needs and wants.
To hell with what the kids who suffer from serious, life threatening food allergies. Who cares about their needs and wants.
[Oh and I think Ms. Hoskisson needs to understand that there IS a difference between a food intolerance and food allergies. They are not the same thing. But that's a whole other blog post].
What people like Ms. Hoskisson fail to understand is this: it really IS all about the kids. And I'm talking about the kids with the food allergies.
Last year there was a boy in Emma's kindergarten class who had a very serious life threatening allergy to dairy. As in, if someone spilled a drop of milk on the table and he touched it he would go into anaphylaxis and would need immediate medical help. This little boy sat an a "dairy free" table in the lunch room and the kids would actually ASK their parents to pack them "dairy free" lunches so they could sit with him.
We knew that for classroom parties and birthdays we needed to do our part to keep this little guy safe and healthy.
So, did all the moms bitch and moan about how we couldn't bring in "lovely, homemade" treats for birthdays and/or classroom parties? Hell no. We made sure that everything we brought for parties was safe for this little boy because we had compassion and we were worried about his safety. We didn't care about wowing the class with our latest Pinterest recipe. We cared about his health and well-being.
We were doing our part to keep a child safe.
Olivia's teachers have been amazing since her diagnosis. They send home letters before the school parties letting parents know that party treats need to be peanut and nut free. The room moms make it a point to ask me to bring baked goods to the parties so that I know it's safe for Olivia. And no one bitches about how hard it is to accommodate Olivia's allergies and what a pain in the ass it is that they can't bring in their own homemade goodies.
No one except for that one mom in second grade who didn't care about the peanut allergy warning because she was "too busy" to care and figured the "peanut allergy kid" could just avoid her pie topped with peanut butter.
Yeah, but that's not how it works.
See if YOUR kid eats a treat made with peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame and then they touch Olivia's desk with their peanuty hands and Olivia doesn't realize it and then she touches the same area and then eats something and there is residue on her hands...guess what? We have a potential allergy situation and it's all because YOU decided that you were too busy to care about the allergy kids.
And that is why it is so important for classmates and teachers and parents to understand the seriousness of food allergies. We aren't trying to make YOUR life more difficult be asking that you take our child's safety into consideration when bringing or sending treats to school. We are actually trying to keep our kids safe and out of the emergency room (or worse).
This isn't about YOU.
This is about the kids.
This is about MY KID.
See, my child already feel different and singled out thanks to her food allergies. She struggles with the fact that they can't have the cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts, and cookies that their friends are eating. So what she doesn't need are selfish, ignorant, stupid, small-minded people like Ms. Hoskisson to bitch and moan about how unfair it is to their kids that the "lovely homemade" cake can't come to school.
Because I'm going to bet that an allergic reaction to that lovely homemade cake that results in a ER trip (or something much more serious) is a lot more unfair.
It's quite simple really.
Those of us who are allergy parents ... we aren't asking you to cater to our kids by bringing in "safe" food to classroom parties. We're asking you to help us keep them safe. And if that means that you can't bring a homemade cake or cookies to the next classroom party because they're full of peanuts or hazelnuts..well that's just too damn bad.
This isn't about YOU.
This is about the allergy kids.