Recently, I was standing and chatting with a group of moms I didn’t know very well. One of them was complaining that her child got stuck in “one of the peanut free classrooms” again that year. Looks of shared annoyance and eye rolling ensued among the group. I smiled politely and then let them know that my child was one of those annoying “allergy kids” that couldn’t eat nuts. There was the obligatory back peddling and sheepish looks. I was caught off guard and didn’t say all of the things I was thinking that day….I’ve regretted it ever since. Here’s my way of fixing that…
Dear Eye Rolling Mom,
I know it sucks that your kid has to go without his favorite food while he is in school with my kid. And I know that your idea for that cute snack that looks like a caterpillar is ruined cause of us. I’m sorry about that.
I know you’re probably thinking that your child has the right to eat what he wants even though other kids can’t eat the same things. And, you’re right, he does.
But here’s the thing…my kid has the right to go to school and not be afraid that he’s going to accidentally ingest some of your kid’s breakfast and have to go through the terrifying experience of vomiting in front of everyone while his body covers itself with hives and his tongue swells and his throat starts to close up while he gasps for air.
I think maybe, just this once, my kid’s right to avoid that debacle trumps your kid’s right to bring peanut butter crackers to class…don’t you think?
The scenario described above is called Anaphylaxis and that’s what happened to my baby when he was 22 months old and ate a bite of a peanut butter sandwich for the first time. Every day while my child is at school with your child I am somewhere else and that scene goes through my head at least two or three times a day. Every. Day.
When I know it’s lunch time at school I keep my phone on and next to me for that entire hour just in case I get the call. Do you do that? Does your heart race from 11:30 am until 12:30 pm every single week day? Can you imagine what that’s like?
I am not asking for pity or attention from you, Eye Rolling Mom. I’m asking for your help. I need you, Other Mom Who Rolled Her Eyes. I need you to help me keep my baby safe. I’m totally dependent on you to follow the rules and teach your child to wash his hands and forgo foods with nuts and foods that may have been cross contaminated with nuts while in class with my child. I need your help because I can’t be there with my boy 24 hours a day. He’s not a baby anymore and I can’t keep him safe all by myself. He’s part of the world now and that’s the way it should be.
If I saw your kid run into the street in front of a car, I know I would do everything in my power to pull him away from danger. I know you would do the same for mine. That’s what moms do, don’t we? We are mothers to all kids. Look at it this way, becoming savvy on what “peanut free” really means and learning to read food labels is your way of pulling my kid away from a moving car. The bottom line is that ingesting the smallest microscopic fragment of a peanut could kill my son. I know you wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to do anything you could to prevent that.
Look, I know you’re a good mom and you’re doing your very best just like all of us. I know you want the same things for your kids as I want for mine. You want them to be happy and healthy and independent….and safe. That’s really not asking a whole lot, is it? So next time you’re chatting with your mom friends and one of them rolls their eyes cause of the kid with the allergy in their child’s class that year, could you maybe stick up for me and my little guy?
Before I go, I wanted you to see this…
This is Mr. Man last summer at Disney World. The chef made him his own tray of completely peanut safe desserts. It was one of the first times in his life he was able to order dessert from a restaurant. He was SO happy! I just want him to feel that safe and care free every day…he can,IF you help me.
Thanks, Eye Rolling Mom. I’m glad we had this talk. Now let’s put this awkwardness aside and plan the heck out of a play date! I’ll bring the soy nut butter sandwiches…
Linking up with Molly and Carly for #YOLO Monday!
And Mustache Mama, The Busy Bee, and Peacoats & Plaid for the first GFC Collective link up!
How to Live with a Nut Allergy: Everything You Need to Know If You Are (Google Affiliate Ad)