Stop Being An A**hole And Have Some Sympathy For Kids With Food Allergies

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One of my best friends has a daughter with Celiac disease. The constant hell her whole family goes through makes me filled with gratitude everyday that I have been lucky enough to escape this fate. I really can’t understand it when people exhibit zero compassion for such a tough situation.

There are minor food intolerances, there are fad diets and there are actual life-altering conditions. It would be great if everyone could get on the same page about the differences:

Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the finger-like villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment.

This is serious. This isn’t some parent saying “my special snowflake can’t have bread because Gwyneth Paltrow says it’s bad.” When trying to diagnose what was wrong, my friend shuttled her daughter to countless doctor and specialist visits and put her through dozens of diet changes. She watched her daughter drop weight, writhe in pain and constantly wonder what was wrong with her and why she was different.

Last week I read a post titled, Why Do Your Kids Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have A Birthday? The title alone made me wince – because immediately I knew she was talking about school protocol. It’s not like someone is going to be coming into her home, invading her child’s birthday party and telling everyone what to eat. This woman is upset about the food she’s not allowed to send to school with her child for a class party:

We can’t bring in homemade cookies or snacks; we’re asked to buy commercially prepared goods. Even if you agree to bring in commercially prepared snacks, you’re asked to make sure they’re “gluten, nut, and egg-free” or some other combination of scary food exorcism.

Let’s just be clear, this woman is complaining because kids with food allergies shouldn’t be expected to have the iron will of adults and know what foods to avoid and ignore. She resents the school for understanding that may be torture to a child. It makes her more upset to think of her child skipping a cupcake, than to imagine a child totally left out – or made sick by something his body can’t digest.

“To a certain extent, I get it. When I was in high school, a girl in my town died from eating a few bites of a Twix bar that happened to contain traces of peanuts.”

 

Wait, someone died in your high school from this very thing – yet you still can’t grasp how serious and important this issue is for some parents? Umm… yeah, I got nothing. You’re terrible.

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    • Crusty Socks

      Narcissistic attitudes are nothing new. “If it don’t affect me, it ain’t a problem.”

    • TngldBlue

      My rule of life tends to lean toward, if it doesn’t impact me in some meaningful way don’t be an asshole.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Yeah. Plus, kids give no fucks. Serve carrots, everyone’s happy.

      • JLH1986

        I don’t know about carrots. lol But fruit, stickers, pencils, glow necklaces whatever.

      • whiteroses

        Yes. All of this. That way everyone gets a gift, nobody has to worry about allergies, and it’s all good.

      • Savannah Kelly

        Maybe not glow necklaces. When I was in middle school, we got a bunch as part of some “Get excited about selling shit!” fundraiser presentation. And this girl TOTALLY NOT ME bent hers so much it broke and she had to glow in the nurses office itching until her mom came to the school. Wasn’t me… But glow is dangerous… >.> <.<

      • JLH1986

        What? I didn’t even know that was possible. Note to self: if we have kids NO GLOWNECKLACES. Are the short fat glowsticks ok? The ones you shake?

      • Savannah Kelly

        The girl in question (not me) only ever did it with the crappy skinny ones. But her little brother managed to chew through a thick one just yesterday. He has pica that may or may not be part of his Celiac. (coincidence that this glow stick destroyer TOTALLY NOT ME also has a brother with Celiac. Small world) So maybe with kids not hell bent on watching the world burn, it’d be ok. Those are the only two incidences I’ve ever heard of glow sticks gone bad. :) But hey, my family is damned crazy.

      • JLH1986

        Ha ha. I have a crazy family so I understand that. I have noted. Glow anything is no bueno.

    • Roberta

      “I’m supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy?”

      Yes, your child will risk running into preservatives that won’t kill him, and in return the celiac child won’t die. I think that is a very good trade.

      Until you have a child or relative with any life-threatening allergy or food condition, OR you have had to put an epi-pen into a child with a the life-threatening condition, you don’t fully grasp the seriousness of seeing a kid nearly die in front of you from eating a wheat sandwich. It was scary as hell.

      Also, why doesn’t she have her home-made cake at home, like the rest of us?

      • Guest

        Our schools haven’t allowed home-made since I was a child in the 90′s. It is because people are disgusting and they have no idea what standards you held yourself to when you made it or what was put in it. So its either buy store bought cupcakes, buy special store bought cupcakes (gluten/dairy/whatever free), or don’t buy any damn cupcakes. Simple.

      • Kelly

        YES! YES! YES! I used to think the whole no homebaked treats rules were silly and then I visited the house of an acquaintance who loved to bake.

        She belonged on Hoarders. Cat shit on the stove, all over the floor, food wrappers strewn about the countertops. The place stank horribly. It was disgusting.

        And she bakes treats for her coworkers on a nearly daily basis. Yum! If they only knew those delicious cookies and cakes were sitting right next to a pile of animal shit right before she brought them in.

      • ChickenKira

        I had a friend at school whose house was like this, and yes, she did bring in home baked cupcakes for her birthday.

      • SA

        If they must, they could find a good bakery that wouldn’t use processed foods. If it is that important then shell out the extra $$. Our health-food stores all sell cupcakes…you can buy the mini-ones if you want to save money & a tiny cupcake is all a kid really needs. Seems like a silly argument.

      • pixie

        Plus the ones at health stores, they’re really not THAT much more expensive than regular, processed ones. Well, some can be, but there are reasonably-priced ones, too.

      • rrlo

        I find it absolutely appalling that someone will compare feeding their kids “processed food” and “preservatives” to serious food allergies. WTF is this fear of processed food anyway? Most things we eat are “processed” anyway. It is so overused in our society – that the words have lost all meaning.

      • Kelly

        She’s an idiot. Food allergies do not require people to follow shitty, heavily processed diets. What a twit.

    • whiteroses

      One of the best teachers I ever had outlawed birthday snacks from her class. If someone wanted to celebrate a birthday, we did their favorite craft in art class and played their favorite game at recess. We all had a great time, we got to take some of our art home, and nobody had an issue because all the parents knew in advance. Everyone got to feel special (the kids with summer birthdays got their own days on the last weeks of school- asteroids and origami swans for the win!) and nobody got left out.

      I’m sorry, but if a freaking cupcake is more important to you than one of your child’s classmates dying, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Other people in this world matter.

      • Angela

        Yes! Plus allergies aside, if your kid’s in a class with 30 kids that’s 30 class parties a year which seems a bit excessive. One year there was a kid with diabetes in my class so the teacher instituted a no treats policy. The class sang Happy Birthday to us and the teacher would pass around a card for everyone to sign. Then the birthday kid could pick a small prize from a bucket she kept in her desk. She even made sure that kids who had summer or weekend birthdays still had a special day. Guess what? It was still totally special.

      • whiteroses

        I’m confused why birthday parties absolutely have to be celebrated with food or treats. I don’t see the point. Just because it exists doesn’t mean we have to feed our kids that crap. Pencils, stickers or cool erasers work just as well.

      • http://salemthegoddess.com/ salemthegoddess

        Celebrating with food is the American way…

      • AE Vorro

        Crafts and games to celebrate a birthday? That’s the awesomest idea I’ve ever heard.

      • whiteroses

        She completely ruled. It was only after I became a teacher that I realized how young she was when she had us- all of 24, and it was her first teaching job. We all loved her.

        I hope she’s still teaching because she had a rare gift.

    • Guest

      Several members of my family have SEVERE food allergies and Celiac’s. When my aunt started becoming more vocal about it and educating us a bunch more it was easy to make her feel included (and the other family members with issues). We all just got delicious gluten free recipes off Pinterest and made those- my aunt will ask details of what is in them (because she has issues w/more than just gluten) but nobody takes offense because it isn’t our body that will react negatively to something in there. She literally hugged me the first time I made something for her. Now her family also brings lots of sides and snacks that are ok for them and as a plus our family has tried eating new things…some of which are effin delicious.

      • whiteroses

        It’s all about expanding your mind. When my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes, we all ended up trying a ton of new foods. It didn’t kill us, she could eat safely, and we could eat whatever we wanted to later on.

      • Guest

        Exactly, and if her family felt bad that they were limited I’m sure just thinking about the fact that she is allergic to almost everything (apples!) would be enough to make you just thankful it isn’t you.

    • Alex

      “There are minor food intolerances, there are fad diets and there are actual life-altering conditions.”

      To be fair, it can be difficult to tell the difference if a parent insists that the fad diet their children MUST have should be treated like an actual life-altering condition. I don’t condone the tone of her article, but my guess is that this mother has run across that type of parent more than once and just grown tired of it.

      And if she’s that perplexed about what to send for her child’s birthday celebration at school, I assume she’s never heard of fresh fruit salad?

      • JLH1986

        A good friend who works at a children’s hospital on the gastro floor, told me parents/teens will ask for a tube so they can only get liquid nourishment to stay at a “good weight”. The parents will travel to the roughly 6 children’s hospitals within driving distance insisting that their kid has celiac or some other allergy to food to accomplish this. (and will of course refuse the testing to determine what allergy) Of course now medical records are shared and the hospitals know what’s up. But unfortunately, there are people who purposefully muddy the waters on what is “real” and what isn’t. And while getting liquid nourishment isn’t my thing I don’t think it’s worth risking a kid because we may or may not believe the parent.

      • Alex

        Well, yes that’s true. Even if I strongly suspect (or know) that a child doesn’t actually have a life-threatening medical condition rather than on a fad diet or minor food intolerance, I would do my best to comply with the parent’s requests. Can’t promise not to roll my eyes while doing so, however.

        The effort required in creating (allergy)-free food is significantly less than the effort required to confront and interrogate a psychotically overbearing parent. However, it might be easier for me to say that because I (usually) have the time and resources and skills to make those accommodations as long as they are not outrageously unreasonable, and I am pretty conflict-avoidance in general.

      • JLH1986

        I agree. But no one is asking me to put a tube in their kid. If mom says gluten free, I’ll make it gluten free…or buy stickers.

      • Nica

        This is the crux of the problem. There is a HUGE difference between a gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. In my own experience, when I’ve been faced with people who say “oh, everything must be gluten free for me,” I ask further questions — who diagnosed you, how were you diagnosed, how long did it take to get an accurate diagnosis, what were your symptoms. Most of the time I come to find out they were diagnosed by Dr. Google and the “symptom” of their “disease” is an upset stomach after eating a wheat product. That’s hardly “celiac disease” True celiac disease only affects 1% of Americans and it’s often misdiagonsed for years before being correctly diagnosed. I find it hard to believe that many children are accurately and truly diagnosed with this.
        End result of all this is makes a lot of people incredulous (myself included) about so-called food allergies and diseases. I think a lot of people mix up an allergy (life threatening reaction) and a sensitivity (upset stomach, rash, etc).
        So, I guess I’m that a**-hole parent. I honestly and truly believe there are children with life-threatening allergies and diseases out there, but they are rare.

      • whiteroses

        Maybe. But do you really want to take the chance that the kid who sits next to yours ISN’T one of the 1 percent? And even if a kid has a wheat sensitivity- how hard is it to make everyone feel included?

      • Rosa

        Life threatening peanut allergies are no longer rare. I’ve watched a child have a severe reaction to a cookie someone gave him after church. He needed an Epi pen and a trip to an emergency room. I’ve never forgotten it. Allergies are not nearly as rare as they used to be. Better safe than sorry.

      • Karen Milton

        Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is diagnosed by bloodwork and biopsy. It’s a definitive diagnosis. I can’t imagine people would randomly decide top diagnose themselves with Type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis, so why they do it for celiac I have no idea. Also, someone who decides their gastrointestinal issues must be celiac disease but haven’t seen a doctor are ridiculous. Gluten intolerance is most definitely a thing, but it is not the same. It seems like they almost want (or want their kids to have) a serious medical condition.

      • Suzie

        As a parent of one of those kids that seems to bother other parents, I would like to say that symptoms are not always obvious to outsiders. My 3 year old will not die if she eats gluten, egg, milk, or soy. But would YOU want other parents to not care how your kid feels. As a parent with the same problem as my child, I would never choose to take away the foods. I SUCKS to be different than others and not eat anything we want.

      • Vikky

        I’m so sorry that my projectile vomiting and hives aren’t “life threatening” and therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously. I guess those teachers who punished me for being “picky” for not eating the PBJ sandwich I was given were right (yes, I grew up in the 80s with a peanut allergy. Yes, it was diagnosed by a doctor.)

        Allergies are histamine reactions. They’re not ALL life-threatening, BUT they can build up to be life-threatening eventually. (Think bee-allergy, only with food–the first time usually doen’t kill you, it’s the third or fourth time.) A child with an upset stomach and rash reaction COULD end up dying the next time they have the foods.

        also:
        Intolences =/= Allergies =/= Celiac

        They’re all differet, but they all mean that some people can’t eat certain foods. If that person is a child, try to have some f-ing compassion!

      • G.S.

        Starting when I was in something like, Grade 6. my mom would always send us in to class parties (not birthday, but holiday and end of the year ones) with an assorted vegetable tray from the supermarket. At the time, I thought it was kinda dorky, but the rest of the kids managed to pick it clean by the end of it. So I guess kids don’t really care what’s brought in as long as it’s edible. :)

      • Kelly

        You have to err on the side of caution though because you never know. I’m allergic to chamomile. It stuns me how many people don’t believe me. I’ve gone to makeup counters and bath product stores and flat out told them I have this allergy right up front, only for them to rub a product on my hand that has chamomile in it.

        Then they act surprised when I start swelling and getting sick because, “OMG, you’re seriously allergic to chamomile! I didn’t think that was possible!”

        Now I demand to read the ingredient list before anything touches me and sometimes they act like I’m being bitchy about it but I have to do it or I will have a reaction and they aren’t fun.

      • redheaded4trouble

        I so feel your pain. I am allergic to lavender. While I have a lot of sensitivities, that’s the only true allergy I have that I’m aware of. If it touches my skin I get hives and I once accidentally drank some tea that contained lavender and my mom had to give me an EPI pen. The smell is enough to make me queasy but that’s probably a mental association thing.
        I have had the same thing happen to me at makeup counters too. If I hear “But you can’t be allergic to lavender, it’s so soothing” one more time.LUSH is the worst. I had an associate try to put on of their lotions on my hands. When I refused since it reeked of lavender and told her about my allergy, she replied “no this will relieve any irritation because it contains x,y,z.” Yeah not really the point. I changed the subject and asked about their skin care and she tried to sell me a face wash that had whole lavender flowers in it. Really?!

    • Valerie

      It must suck for food allergy kids how much of our society’s celebrating centers around food. I see nothing wrong with re-writing some long-held traditions in the name of making kids with food allergies feel less left out. My daughter’s school does not allow birthday food of any kind but lets a parent come in to read a story to the class (she’s only in 1st grade…I doubt this will happen when she’s 11) and the parent can stay to have lunch with their birthday kid. I think that’s great and completely alleviates concerns about food allergies and also, families who cannot afford to send in birthday treats. Sadly, there are families where money is an issue more than a peanut allergy.

      • Megan Zander

        Plus, that sounds more fun for the kids and more memorable for the birthday child than eating something. I like it.

      • Natasha B

        Our school did that also-we got to go in and read for kindergarten, first and second grade-way better than cookies.

    • Tina

      Great piece Maria! This is exactly the sort of attitude everyone should have. I don’t understand that woman who feels the need to complain about not being able to send her child to school with whatever she feels like making.

      When is comes to allergies and food issues, something my own mom said to reason with my allergyless eight-year-old self stuck with me to this day: “You may think it’s unfair that you can’t bring a peanut butter sandwich to school, but this of how unfair it feels to those who actually can’t eat it at all. They have to watch and limit themselves every second of every day of their lives while you get to come home or go out and eat every type of food without worrying.”

      For that simple reason going the extra mile for those with allergies shouldn’t be a problem. I am happy to go out of my way so that everyone can feel safe, enjoy themselves and feel included. And if finding an appropriate food is difficult for an entire class, a friend of mine recently gave me this idea: instead of something edible, you can purchase cheap and cute small toys from the somewhere like the dollar store for every child in the class and then food concerns become a non-issue!

    • elle

      Ugh, that’s so stupid. School is a place where ALL children deserve to feel safe and protected and that includes kids with allergies. I’ve never understood why everything has to be celebrated with food anyway. I think if you must send in a treat why not make it fun erasers, pencils, glow sticks, whatever age appropriate that’s still fun and not food? I get her complaints, I’m super into healthy eating and am raising my son that way too so those types of prepackaged foods scare me too but at the end of the day you just kind of have to shrug and realize it’s just one treat and its not going to ruin them for life. But a kid with allergies could die.

      • Emily A.

        Seriously! Both of my kids have classmates with some pretty serious allergies. The teacher has asked parents of those kids to send in a stock supply of special treats that are OK for them to eat, so if someone else brings in cupcakes or something, they get something special, too. From talking to those kids’ moms, I hear that the kids are OK with this situation. I can’t even fathom getting upset about not being allowed to bring in cupcakes, though!

        I also see it as a chance for my kids to learn about allergies. And caring for others.

    • tk88

      I think people seem to believe that food allergies/intolerances are just those picky, irritating parents that refuse to let their kids have anything “damaging” like un-organic food. People also seem to have a mental block against the fact that while they don’t want their kid to have “bad” things, it’s not as awful as anaphylactic shock or celiac reaction to gluten. That being said, I can understand how it CAN get annoying that you always have to alter plans because of one or two kids. But you need to consider how trivial your annoyance is in comparison to the pain of feelings of the afflicted children and their families.

    • RevBex

      When my daughter turned 6, the rule was that if you threw a party and invited anyone from school, you had to invite the whole class. I bit the bullet and had 24 first graders at my very tiny home. Two of those kids had life threatening allergies – one to nuts and one to eggs. So I coordinated with their parents – sanitized the heck out of my kitchen, bought box mix and packaged everything so I could be sure of what I was serving; picked up an egg free cupcake for 1 so that my daughter could have the giant dinosaur birthday cake of her dreams. I used brand new pans for the chicken nuggets( no cross contamination) and made lots of cute things from fruit. I worked really hard to make that party great for both my little girl and her guests. And one of the moms of the kids with allergies called me in tears – this was the first birthday party her son had ever been able to attend, and he loved it; it was the time of his life!
      I looked at it as a nice gift for my daughter – she got a great party AND the chance to make someone else feel accepted. Her birthday wasn’t a time to make sure she felt like the most important person in the room, it was a time to share how happy she is to be here on earth with her friends. (And to share her love of dinosaurs, really it was mostly about the dinosaurs) We like the idea of a party being “share my joy”, not “celebrate ME!”.
      All that being said, I’m sure ok with in-class parties being allergy free. I brought in some cool dino coloring sheets to school the previous year and they were happily received!

      • brebay

        That rule only holds if you pass out invitations at school, they can’t make rules about who you have to your house lol you could have gotten off so much easier!

    • Jessica

      I do remember one birthday treat my mom brought for my class in third grade, I think. They were sugar cookies decorated as pigs with pink icing & a marshmallow snout. Other than that I don’t remember any other class birthday party.

      But to that mom from the article:

      • AE Vorro

        Your mom clearly rocks. I want piggy cookies!

      • Jessica

        She really does :) Looking back at pictures, she made so many cool snacks & cakes for birthdays & other parties. But those pig cookies were fantastic & all my classmates thought they were sooo cool. & if there had been an allergy issue in my class, I know she would have bent over backwards to accommodate it. All in all, she’s a pretty amazing woman.

      • AE Vorro

        Three cheers for her!

      • ChickenKira

        I don’t even remember any of my own. I think there was honey joys once?

      • Allyson_et_al

        My birthday is in February, and we always seemed to have a snow day, so I mostly remember distributing cupcakes to all the kids in my neighborhood every year. My neighbors loved me.

    • disqus_UjNiJUlkmd

      When I was in the fifth grade (in the 80s) my class won a party for 100% PTA participation. So the PTA brought us baked treats, soda, and even pizza. One of the kids in my class had a peanut allergy. I don’t know if they knew about it, or if his parents even knew, it was different back then. But he died in front of us. Spent 5 minutes gasping for air, turning purple, and crying and then he died. IN FRONT OF US. The adults were trying so hard to do CPR and figure out what was wrong and trying to call an ambulance. We were all huddled in a corner, terrified and confused. But we saw it. We saw him stop moving, saw the frantic adults, and eventually saw them fall apart in fear and grief. I still dream about it sometimes and as a parent it haunts me.

      So yeah entitled parents, it’s so sad Harley and Ryder can’t have their homemade cupcakes. But think about how awful it’s going to be for their little special snowflakes when one of their friends dies on their birthday because their birthday treat killed someone. So even if you can’t think about someone else’s kid. Think about yours. Therapy is expensive.

      This makes me so furious.

      • Maria Guido

        That is so awful.

      • disqus_UjNiJUlkmd

        It was! It is hands down the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced. I think it’s great that schools today have plans for that sort of thing and my school certainly did the best it could (they brought in professionals to talk to us and our parents, we had play therapy every week….. though we didn’t know what it was at the time) but it still sticks with you. I don’t want my kids to have to see something like that and I don’t want to have to worry that one day I’ll have to save a kid’s life and fail. So I send stickers… lots of stickers.

      • AE Vorro

        I like the stickers replacing food idea. There’s so many ways to celebrate beyond food.

      • EX

        That must have been so traumatic. I’m sorry you had to experience that. Most of all I am really sad for the family of that child. How absolutely awful.

      • AE Vorro

        That’s horrifying on so many levels.

      • rrlo

        So awful! That made me really sad.

      • Alexandra Quinlan

        That is so terribly sad. I am so sorry. I have a family member with peanut allergies, and school in the 80s was a really hard place. No one seemed to grasp the seriousness.
        Amazing post, but so tragic.

      • Kelly

        You know, that’s an excellent point. Do the parents who claim they don’t give a shit about other kids being allergic because their special snowflake likes peanut butter even think about that?

        What’s worse? Your five year old not getting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or your five year old watching one of her classmates die in agony in front of them?

        I’m so sorry that happened to that little boy and that you had to see it when you were so young. That’s awful and I’m sure everybody in that classroom that day will remember that for the rest of their lives.

    • rrlo

      The author of the original article is a selfish, terrible dummy. Feed your kid “gooey, wonderful cupcakes” at home. I don’t bake, and I do wish there were more bakeries offered more allergen free products. It’s sad to send my son to daycare with a Walmart cake every year – because they don’t look that tasty.
      What I will say though – I don’t support banning food with common allergens in a classroom unless it has a child with a known food allergy. That seems to be bit of a trend now in some classrooms – and I don’t support that.

      • Alexandra Quinlan

        I take your point, but some allergens can be easily spread to communal places For instance, oil from peanut butter can get on bathroom doors, faucets, drinking fountains…Makes it very difficult.

      • rrlo

        I get that (whiteroses and I discussed this one extensively already). Honestly I am just not convinced blanket banning a particular allergen, for example, will truly prevent anything in a school situation.

        In many schools, for example, peanuts are banned. However, the top two allergens among children are dairy and eggs. Potentially, a child can be allergic to any protein.

        If a child has known and specific food allergy – I totally agree that steps need to be taken.

        However, banning a substance completely (like peanut) without substantial reasons, ignores all the other kids with potential allergies, doesn’t reduce the chances that some kid can come to school with peanut butter on their clothes or something that has been cross-contaminated already. It can be unnecessarily restrictive for parents as well.

    • JLH1986

      I’m betting this mom would be way pissed if in response to her post the school said “know what? eff it NO PARTIES, NO SNACKS ON SPECIAL OCCASSIONS!” I have some reservations about making entire schools peanut, gluten, egg, dairy free. I do not however, have reservations about a teacher/school saying “this classroom has students who have a known food allergy, if you plan on sending food please avoid: xyz”. You don’t have to send food. You can send rulers/stickers/mini puzzles/crap from oriental trading. Which I’m sure teachers appreciate anyway. This mom sounds like an entitled witch.

      • whiteroses

        Oriental Trading rules :)

    • pixie

      I adore this piece, Maria. While children with allergies DO need to be taught to ask what is in things before eating something or just say no, I know how hard it can be to remember that when surrounded by yummy goodness. My nut allergy wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was 13, and even then I would occasionally forget. I’ve learned now, but it’s kind of depressing that I have pretty much accepted not eating what used to be my favourite ice cream, hardly every eating chocolate, not eating donuts or timbits (donut holes), not eating cake except on the rare occasions I make it, etc. I LOVE sugary goodness, but so much of it can kill me if I’m not careful. And yes, I hate the fad diets and people saying they’re allergic to something when they really just don’t like something (my best friend admitted to doing that with onions before she met me, then realized allergies can be serious business).

      When it comes down to it, if a parent insists on sending a treat in for their kid’s class, it’s not the worst thing in the world to send in a pre-packaged thing. It’s much better than having a kid feel left out or have a serious reaction (even minor reactions feel shitty). They can get expensive, sure, but making and decorating 20 or 30 something cupcakes can be time consuming. Plus, not all allergen-free (I’m including gluten in this) have long preservative-laden ingredient lists, the cheaper ones do, but I’ve seen allergen-free boxes of baked goods maybe a couple dollars more than a normal box of baked goods that doesn’t have all the preservatives. And most allergen-free snacks I’ve had taste just as good as their non-allergen-free equivalents. Feed your kid homemade stuff at a home birthday party if you must, but either adhere to the school rules on treats or don’t send in food.

      Oh, and there’s a bakery in my hometown that is completely 100% peanut and nut free (not gluten, unfortunately) that pretty much just does cupcakes and cake pops. It is my favourite place ever because I can actually eat the things there and can safely share with others who I know have peanut/nut allergies.

      • Smalls

        Exactly this. If you must send in treats, just pick up something that’s allergen-free for those particular kids. It honestly isn’t that hard. I’ve been gluten-free for awhile (no official diagnosis, just feel better without eating it), and I’ve learned to get really creative. There are plenty of options if you’re willing to find them, pre-packaged or not.

      • moonie27

        “And most allergen-free snacks I’ve had taste just as good as their non-allergen-free equivalents.”

        Not true, especially if you can’t eat wheat. Leaving out the nuts – not a big deal. Leaving out the wheat and/or dairy and sometimes eggs – not the same at all.

      • pixie

        I’ve had allergen-free snacks that are nut, egg, dairy, sesame, and a bunch of other things free and they taste pretty well just as good. I’ll give you wheat, though. And actually, it’s really hard to find wheat/gluten free things that are also nut free, so I haven’t had too many of those.

      • moonie27

        I have eaten a lot of allergen free food (thanks stupid allergies) [though I've never seen something with a sesame replacement? I just avoid sesame things] and, unless it’s simply leaving out the nuts – I notice.

      • pixie

        Ah, it might just be a difference in taste between us, then. There are things that I will notice, but a lot of things I don’t, and I’m a fairly picky eater, too. Or maybe I’ve just gotten so used to the alternatives that the difference doesn’t bother me.

    • DP

      “If a child in the same homeroom as my son could go into anaphylactic
      shock and die due to allergies, I think we have a communal
      responsibility to keep him or her safe. I would never endanger the life
      of a child over a peanut butter cookie; that would be ridiculous.”

      This quote (in addition to similar ones) was in the original article too, but I guess presenting both sides of the author’s argument didn’t fit in with your tirade.

      • Roberta

        Apparently her generosity only covers things that won’t inconvenience her and her vanilla gooey cupcakes. She is contradictory in how one allergy (peanuts) is considered something she will accommodate, but wheat allergies are no dice.

      • moonie27

        People don’t have anaphylatic reactions with Celiac’s, though. Celiac’s is IgA-mediated; anaphylatic reactions are IgE-mediated.

        Sending in a baked cake and a gluten-free cupcake for the Celiac’s kid wouldn’t endanger the Celiac’s kid’s life, and as long as the kid didn’t ingest any of the gluten, wouldn’t physically harm them.

        (You can have an IgE-mediated wheat allergy – I do! – but they’re much rarer and highly unlikely to be deadly anyway.)

      • rrlo

        Oh please, two paragraphs later she says ” I agree that a teacher should let all parents know about any life-threatening allergies in a classroom. However, my kid shouldn’t have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can’t eat it.”
        Like “Sure we have a responsibility to not let a child die…. unless it interferes with my child’s freedom to eat cake at school”.
        As if the only place her kid can eat a birthday cake is at school. The whole article was ridiculous and selfish. Maria is completely on point.

      • JLH1986

        She also complains about the price and then later says she would be extra allergy free snacks for those with allergies. Her article is all over the place and the bottom line is her tone is very clear that she really doesn’t care as long as her kid gets the damn gluten filled cake.

      • whiteroses

        The fact that the original author acknowledges peanut allergies and ignores celiac disease doesn’t make her fair or balanced. I read the entire article, and nowhere in that ode to selfishness did I see one ounce of compassion if it meant her precious snowflake didn’t get to eat one cupcake, at precisely the appointed time.

        She gets no sympathy whatsoever from me.

      • Maria Guido

        Well that just makes her whole article even more pointless, in my opinion.

      • cabinfever

        The author claims to be sensitive towards serious, life-threatening allergies.. her beef seems to be with those who fabricate or exaggerate their conditions.

        She then claims to have an allergy to egg whites, which sounds a lot like a food intolerance. If so, she is the problem she’s complaining about.

      • pixie

        I also wonder if she’s allergic to egg whites (or even intolerant), does she take special precautions when she’s cooking or baking or when she eats at restaurants or buying things at the grocery store. Common sense would dictate, yes, she would if she was really allergic or had an intolerance (my grandmother had an intolerance to poultry which basically gave her horrible food poisoning, so she was really careful when she ate at a restaurant or bought a pre-made dinner). My thought is probably not, and if she has an allergy or intolerance, it can’t be that bad, otherwise she would be more understanding of the policy.

        I don’t expect the world to revolve around me because of my allergy, but I expect people not to be asshats and throw fits if they can’t send cupcakes to school because a child has a serious allergy. They can eat their food with nuts when I’m around for all I care, but I hate when people try to make my allergy out to be not as bad as it is, or exaggerate or fabricate an allergy of their own. I’ve only known a couple of people to do this, but it’s annoying nonetheless and doesn’t help towards awareness.

      • cabinfever

        Yes, people sometimes try to “empathize” with my nut-allergic daughter by telling her that they, too, have some food aversion. This is not helpful; I try to explain to a 3 year old the difference between grandma’s lactose intolerance and her own serious allergy.

        Also, a friend of mine has tried more than once to persuade me that yes, she gets that some kids have allergies, but don’t I agree that having to read ingredients when packing her kids’ lunches is just SO annoying?

      • pixie

        Ha, I’d tell her to talk to me about annoying when she has to read ingredient lists of nearly everything from food to cosmetics to hygiene products. I’m very meticulous about reading ingredient lists because I don’t want to accidentally have something I shouldn’t, even if it’s from washing my hands with soap that has nut oil and then eating a sandwich. Checking ingredients on a couple packaged snacks isn’t that hard.

        I really do empathize with what your daughter will have to go through as she grows up, and with you being her parent, because I have a nut allergy as well, but I wouldn’t try talking to a 3 year old about it. That seems…futile, almost.

    • K.

      Here’s an idea: instead of making birthdays and holidays at school about consumption, why not make them about doing something, making a contribution?

      Such as:
      -doing some community service for the holidays
      -writing ‘love/admiration letters’ on Valentine’s Day to kids’ real-life heroes
      -planting vegetables that can be harvested around Thanksgiving (fine, no peanuts, not wheat, just squash) and donating to a food bank or soup kitchen?

      Everyone gets something out of it; no one has to asphyxiate.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      I always loved the teachers who sent home the “no cup-cake” letters. I was like “Yeah!” I don’t have to send in 30+ cup-cakes this year! I made sure to get those teachers something extra nice on teacher appreciation day.

      • LiteBrite

        My son’s class has a “no homemade treats” rule too, and frankly I love it. Less work for me. Plus, I hate baking so it wouldn’t happen anyways.

        Every month my son has to bring a treat in for his class. They did specify “no nut-based products” and gave a list of what was acceptable. Thank goodness there are no gluten or dairy allergies in the class or I would imagine it would be a little harder.

      • Shelly Lloyd

        I always hated those classes where we had to to bring in a snack every month. Growing up we never had snacks in our elementary schools. LOL I sound like grandpa now. And we walked to school in the snow, up hills both ways….

    • Angela

      I fully support protecting kids and helping them feel included. This mom’s an asshole. But I do take issue when policies are implemented without a shred of common sense. At my son’s school we are not allowed to send anything with nuts in his lunch. Obviously this isn’t the end of the world but it is a major pain seeing as peanut butter sandwiches are one of the few foods my child with sensory issues will eat that can be easily packed and doesn’t require refrigeration or reheating.

      Now, I would be understanding if there were a child with a nut allergy in his class but there isn’t. There are kids with dairy allergies and a kid with a strawberry allergy which ironically I am allowed to send. How is this protecting anyone?

      • JLH1986

        That’s where I start to get uneasy. There are multiple children with issues. How do you balance that. In an effort to make more sense of things and to not label kids overtly, a local elementary school has parents put if their kids have an allergy. Then the kids with allergies are all placed in the same classroom. the class eats lunch together in their classroom so there aren’t any major allergy issues and less worry of cross contamination. At first parents were upset, but since they don’t always make it the same teacher/classroom each year the kids really don’t know, the parents do. But it’s eased a lot of the issues.

      • pixie

        I think that’s a good start, though I can see some issues with this. It would be easier if all the kids had all the same allergies, but if Timmy is allergic to peanuts, sally is allergic to strawberries, and Suzy is allergic to bananas, it begins to limit what can be sent in for lunch, especially for kids who already have multiple allergies.
        It’s definitely on the right track, though (and I’m not sure how it could be made any better, really).

      • JLH1986

        I don’t know. I just saw the video on the news. but my guess is that the whole class has a similar “no nut, no dairy, no egg, no gluten” rule? or maybe the kids are seated at tables with similar allergies? The whole allergy thing is tough. Especially with how common it is now.

      • Angela

        I don’t know. At our school they divide the classes based on skill levels. I really like this system because the more advanced kids aren’t held back and the less advanced ones are able to learn at their own pace with less pressure. Plus the school does not divulge to students or parents which class is which. I also agree with pixie that more allergies could just complicate matters more. Personally I wish my son’s school would handle this by classroom in a case by case basis rather than having a blanket school-wide policy.

      • JLH1986

        I think that’s what the local school is getting at. I have no idea how they break up classes (though I like what you were saying, I’ll ask that if we have kids). But I think they were trying something different since they can’t please everyone.

      • whiteroses

        Are there kids with nut allergies in his school? Does he eat lunch at his desk or in a lunchroom?

        A dairy allergy doesn’t really affect you (as far as I know) unless you ingest it. I could be wrong about that, I don’t know. But some people can smell a peanut and go into anaphylactic shock. Not worth it to me.

      • rrlo

        I did some fairly in-depth reading into food allergies. And trace amounts of ingested nut particles can cause a severe reaction in highly sensitive people. However, there is no good evidence that just smelling it cause a reaction – you generally have to ingest it. Same goes for egg and milk allergies (and other, less common allergens). Peanut but is a bit tricky because it can stick to things etc. but no more or less serious than spilling a bit of milk accidentally on some allergic kid.
        Any protein can potentially cause life-threatening allergic reaction. That’s why it is better to take a common sense approach rather than blanket banning of one allergen over other. It is a different story if a child has a known allergy though.
        It is more important, in my opinion, to train teachers how to recognize and react to an allergic reaction, administer epi-pens, and have a well-stocked first aid.

      • whiteroses

        True. But if the school in question has a policy that teachers aren’t allowed to administer first aid/give out medications, what then?

      • rrlo

        I believe there is a law now that allows teachers to administer epi-pens. Sabrina’s Law.

      • Sara

        Also, doesn’t the Good Samaritan law cover them if they help the kid and it still gets hurt?

      • whiteroses

        Not in all jurisdictions. The Good Samaritan law provides protection to health care workers, not teachers.

      • Sara

        Ok, I just knew at my mom’s school that if anything medically went down there are certain teachers that have experience and can help out without too much trouble.

      • whiteroses

        Of course. But not every school has teachers who are medically trained or who have a background in such things. It’s easier and less time consuming to eliminate the allergen, and I’m all for that.

      • rrlo

        That’s the problem though. It is extremely difficult to truly eliminate the allergen. Instead of training the handful of teachers, you potentially have to train the entirety of the parents of the student population. As much as parents don’t want a poor child to die – not every parent will be vigilant about avoiding allergens unless their child is the affected one.
        It’s very possible for a parent to accidentally use almond flour for something and forget about it. Or use provide raisins that were mixed with nuts at some point to their kid for lunch.
        I don’t mean to keep arguing with you – just wanted to point out a few things.

      • whiteroses

        I agree. My whole issue with operating on a case by case basis is the potential for loss of privacy.

      • rrlo

        There are no easy answers :( Let’s just hope for the cure.

      • pixie

        I’ve been wishing for a cure for my allergy for years. Seasonal, animal, and environmental allergies are easy, they have shots for those (which I’m considering), but I was told by my allergist last week that they can’t do the shots for food allergies because it’s just too risky. :(

      • rrlo

        I was reading about two separate clinical trials with skin patches and really small amount of peanut particles in a capsule.
        Apparently, they have received some promising results with them – although some have such severe allergies that they are not good candidates for even the treatment.

        If those work out – then it can help the allergy sufferer build up a good tolerance level to peanuts (like two teaspoon of peanut butter) – so they are no longer at risk from cross contamination.

        Here is skin patch clinical trial: http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en/products/allergy-treatments/viaskin-peanut/

        Here is the other one: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62301-6/abstract

      • pixie

        Hmm, that’s interesting. I don’t know if I’d be a good candidate or not. I’m not sensitive to touch or smell, but my reactions are bad when I ingest my allergen. I’m not allergic to peanuts – and never have tested positive – , but most other nuts (like hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, and even though I tested negative to almonds and a couple others last week, I still plan on avoiding them because I have tested positive previously).

        I really hope they get past the trials and successfully develop something that like 99.9% of people can be treated with.

      • rrlo

        Allergy testing is the worst! It’s so confusing and unreliable. The scientists are using peanut for the clinical trials – if that’s successful – they will move on to other nuts.

      • pixie

        It is. It also doesn’t help that I’m apparently at an age where allergies can change and develop more-so than at other times (according to my allergist). I know I’m definitely not allergic to peanuts though, because I used to eat it by the bucketful (just too lazy to buy it now).

      • moonie27

        May clinical studies are looking at exposure de-sensitizing and having some success. We’re getting there.

      • Sara

        I mistyped that comment. I meant like, my mom has pretty extensive knowledge about asthma and sensory disorders, but without medical training. Another teacher has personal knowledge about seizures. The school doesn’t and has never had a full time nurse which is stupid, but the teachers do what they can with their personal knowledge.

      • Alex

        In the U.S., you are protected from liability under Good Samaritan laws as long as you provide care according to your knowledge and skills. It covers bystanders who have had some basic first aid and training (that was the point, after all), not exclusively those employed in health care.

      • whiteroses

        Which leads the door open for a parent suing them- because how can they know what a teacher knew?

      • Alex

        There are certifications that can be obtained to demonstrate knowledge of first aid protocols (which I would hope teachers would have anyway, but I know that’s not always the case). Some jurisdictions require these certifications to demonstrate competency, some don’t.

        None of which means that the teacher (or bystander, or health care worker) can’t still be sued. They just can’t be held liable or responsible as long as they don’t try to exceed the scope of their knowledge.

      • whiteroses

        As far as I know, Sabrina’s Law is not widespread in the US. It is in Canada, but not in America.

      • rrlo

        I don’t know about the US. My knowledge is purely based on Canada.
        Regardless though, while allergic reactions can be life-threatening, not very many people die from it simply because the medication to counter is readily available. So appropriate, life-saving first aid is so much more important than trying to ban all allergens. To me banning all potential allergens (unless there is a child with a known food allergy) is a losing battle – it may provide a false sense of security without preventing any actual incidents.
        Like what if a child has a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast before going to school and don’t wash their hands… or a thousand other seemingly innocuous incidents like that.
        The good news is there are some very promising treatments on the horizon for nut allergies – let’s hope they come through. :)

      • whiteroses

        I agree with that! I hate the idea of any kid feeling excluded. Banning the allergens may be a losing battle, but it’s the only one we can win until the allergens don’t exist anymore. I was a teacher for years. It’s considerably easier having a blanket policy than it is to worry year to year about what each kid in my class ingested.

      • Angela

        The school does not have to disclose which students have allergies. At our school they just send home fliers and reminders to parents so they know which foods are safe to bring to class parties. Honestly I can’t see a way around this unless you ban any kind of class parties at all as it simply isn’t possible to implement an all-inclusive blanket ban on allergens.

        Plus the AAP does not support the use of blanket food bans as there is no evidence to support that it prevents exposure and may even increase it due to a false sense of security. Even well-intentioned parents often send something accidentally and not every parent will follow the rules. Creating a nut-free zone is simply not possible unless students are not allowed to bring their lunches or they can only bring prepackaged and labeled food so a monitor can inspect each item.

        What is recommended is for caregivers to work with parents on a case by case basis to set policies tailored to their child’s needs and of course to instruct the child. It’s not I care more about sending my kid a PBJ than I do about safety. It’s just that I feel we should be following the guidelines of pediatricians in this matter rather than creating extra hassles which have been shown to benefit no one.

      • Angela

        They eat their lunch in the classroom. Also, yes it’s true that a few people do experience allergies so severe that they will go into anaphylaxis simply from inhaling micro-particles of peanut butter from the sandwich or breath from a person next to them. However this is extremely rare (as in only a few recorded cases ever). It’s highly unlikely that anyone at my child’s school (or even in my entire state) would have such a severe reaction but if they did I certainly feel that the school should accommodate this. However I don’t think that such a rare condition warrants implementing blanket policies everywhere to prevent it.

      • Jessica

        There was a student with severe milk allergy where I used to live, if someone had milk on their hand and touched her she could go into anaphylactic shock. They didn’t ban milk, yogurt or cheese (what would kids eat?), but made sure everyone knew and understood, and she was old enough to be aware for herself.

      • rrlo

        I 100% agree with the common sense approach. Egg and dairy allergies are much more common in child-hood and potentially as severe as a nut allergy. For me, blanket banning of one type of allergen in a school setting is the wrong approach.
        It is unnecessary fear-mongering. Gives a false sense of security to the teachers and students. Completely ignores other types of food allergies (like egg and dairy) and over-burdens the parents.

    • val97

      Am I the only parent who hated bringing in treats for my kids’ birthdays? It disrupts the classroom, the kids eat a bunch of junk (“fresh butter, sugar and yes, real flour” is still junk) in the middle of the day, and I would be up on a random Tuesday night making 30 cupcakes when I really wanted to be watching TV.

      When my youngest son’s school put an end to the birthday and valentines treats last year due to all of the allergies, I was happy about it.

    • Guest

      This lady seems to think there are no good foods that are dairy free, or gluten free, or peanut free. Look around woman! You can find treats that most people would like that are safe for others. It isn’t always an either or thing. You can make something safe that tastes great and both parties should be happy.

    • Katie L.

      Teacher with here. We have a “no treat” policy in my (first grade) classroom. In the past, I have had kids with gluten, dairy, and egg issues. I have even had a vegan. My teaching partner has a “nut free” classroom because one of her students is severely allergic and she has been trained to administer his epi-pen. We don’t say no treats because hate fun. We say no treats because we have been charged with the care and safe keeping of 29 kids. We acknowledge birthdays (even summer ones) with a crown, pencil, and they get to choose the read aloud book that day. They can get jacked up on cake at home.

      As someone with celiac disease, it SUCKS ASS to not get to eat what everyone else gets to. I deal with it because I am a grown ass woman who can get over it*, but to expect a child to deal with it every time it’s a birthday (upwards of 25+ times a year) is cruel.

      Great post, Maria. Thank you!

      *and by get over it I mean going home and baking something delicious for myself

      • Abbe

        I wish there was an exponential upvote option

      • Katie L.

        Aw, thanks!

    • LJ

      When our son’s mother chose to move him from one school to another (I cant even get into the ridiculousness of why she chose to do that) I was really sad because the new school he moved into doesn’t allow any “made at home” foods. For the past 4 years I have made his birthday cupcakes, for his classmates. I would email the teacher to let me know if there were any students with allergies so I could make appropriate cupcakes/snacks for them. However, our son’s new school doesn’t allow any from home foods to come into the school unless it is pre-approved (signed off from the principal) and means pre-packaged. My son cried when we found out and I did a little too. As his step-mom it was the one thing I got to look forward to every year. I know it might be a pride thing but I get a ton of flack for JUST being his step-mom and not his “natural/bio” parent. I go unrecognized a lot or brushed under the rug even though he IS my son to me and to him and to my husband/his father. It isnt any fault to the school or the children. I know they are just doing the best they can to make sure nothing bad happens to any students with allergies. Im just sad about it from our situation :( .

      • whiteroses

        That’s awful. But it’s an excellent time to teach him about it :) And that just means you can make a super special cupcake for him when he gets home.

      • LJ

        I still do! I try and think of it as: Now, I just need to make 1 cake instead of 30 little cupcakes. The principal was kind enough to let him know that it wasn’t because I didn’t want to do it anymore (his mother told him that -.-) but that for the safety of his friends, the school just couldn’t do it. He still doesn’t really understand it but it was easier on all of us that the school was so helpful.

      • Mikster

        I say no food at all. I don’t want mine eating processed crap with canola oils, high fructose corn syrup and many food dyes.

    • Alberta Cresnea

      the teacher would pass around a card for everyone to sign. Then the birthday kid could pick a small prize from http://www.sikisizlesikisvideolari.com/2014/01/sarsn-genc-kz-porno-izle.html

    • Jenn Cohen

      I am so grateful for my daughter’s school enforcing a nut-free policy. She’s allergic to just about every nut, chickpeas and sesame. She’s only 19 months, so she can’t possibly be expected to make good choices on her own, and it eases my mind considerably to know her teachers are on watch when she’s in their care. I hate the packaged foods policy, too, and I’d love to prepare snacks that I know are safe for her (parents have a rotating schedule of providing snacks for the week). But, I go with the flow because I know they do it because they want her to be safe. She was diagnosed six months ago, and I’m pleased to say we have had not a single reaction since then!

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Um, at 19 months, no child should be eating nuts. They’re choking hazards.

      • Jenn Cohen

        Umm….peanut butter?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Sure, there’s peanut butter. There’s also hummus, tahini, Nutella, almond butter- but how do you know at her age that she is allergic to “just about every nut” unless she’s either eaten nuts or you tried all these other things?

    • Gretchen

      Yes, yes! Thank you for this article. I feel like there is so much tension between parents with allergic children wanting to keep their kids safe at school, etc and parents who can’t bare to have their non-allergic children make accommodations for them! I have a son with a newly-diagnosed gluten allergy and am shocked by the insensitivity that some people show. Disappointment over cupcakes? Really? It blows my mind. I was attacked by some people with my comments to an article on Mommyish a few months ago regarding the “cookie lady” who was handing out cookies on a bus full of children without parental consent or any knowledge of allergies, etc. I was SHOCKED by how many people suggested that the children with allergies simply choose not to partake in the cookie-eating. “Don’t ruin it for everybody” was a popular theme in the comments. Many suggested that these young children should have the awareness/maturity/self-control to manage their allergies (if they had them) – even as young as kindergarten. Some people were downright mean and insulting! Over cookies!? Boggles my mind. I hope that as food allergies gain more attention and awareness, people’s views will soften as this is upsetting to me as a mom and I am sure it will be upsetting to my son once he is old enough to fully understand (he’s only 4). Thank you for writing in support of food allergy awareness and compassion!

      • K.

        So…I agree with you.

        But I would like to point out something interesting that I see as perhaps a generational difference, which is that you mention some kids lack the awareness/maturity/self-control to manage their allergies. Part of me thinks that’s sort of a generational thing–ie, because parents are creating all of these new policies to protect their children (which I’m not arguing they shouldn’t do–they should), they are also not realizing that their children aren’t HAVING to manage their allergies. This can be a problem (as I have witnessed as a MS/HS teacher) for kids when they get older because they more or less expect that the world will accommodate them just like their elementary school or church or Girl Scout troop did. I had a 16-year-old have to go to the hospital because he took a bite of another kid’s brownie and then said, “Oh wait? These have nuts?? Uh oh.” I’m not saying he deserved to have an allergic reaction, but I was disturbed that a 16yo wasn’t accustomed to screening for nuts in food because someone else did it for him.

        My brother developed juvenile diabetes and had to switch, at the age of 8, from eating everything to eating no sugar. And he did it. Because he had to. And this was the era in which there were birthdays every week and PB&J in the cafeteria. I mean, I was a camp counselor once where the campus was already peanut-free, and a parent, who’s son was deathly allergic to peanuts, tried to get the director to guarantee that the staff (who lived off-campus) wouldn’t eat peanuts or peanut butter AT ALL (ie, on their OWN time, like weekends) because she reasoned the oils could still be on their fingers or residue would be on their breath. In other words, the generational thing that I’m noticing is that more parents are intent on trying to manage their child’s environment for them and in the process neglecting to teach their kids how to manage their allergies more independently.

        Like I said, though I am in complete agreement with you that treats in no way a necessity and it makes absolutely no sense to complain about a child’s “right” to have cupcakes as a reason to put another child’s life at stake. Absolutely.

      • Mikster

        The hell anyone is telling me what I can eat in my own home. OR feed my kids.

      • K.

        Well, THAT mother was a bit nuts.

        Pun intended. Thank you, thank you.

      • AP

        I have to agree. While the spirit of these policies are laudable, they’re essentially outsourcing the child’s safety to others who are less knowledgeable and caring about the topic.

        I worked at a small YMCA that ensured parents the facility was peanut free for childcare purposes, but had easily 500-1000 people per day passing through the shared spaces. It’s just not practical to assume that all of those hundreds of people are on board with the policy.

        If I had a child with a food allergy, I would not allow the kid to participate in these policies: they’d have to only eat food that passed my/their inspection. There would be no trusting others, because others make mistakes.

      • Gretchen

        I definitely understand what you mean regarding older children. However, in my other “argument” about the cookie lady (which I realize you are not privy to), we were speaking exclusively about YOUNG YOUNG kids like kindergarteners. Also, I mentioned that my son has some budding ADHD and sensory issues so it makes it particularly hard (esp at this young age) to expect him to adhere to dietary restrictions and manage them himself. I know that parents of many kids who have sensory and ADHD issues end up trying out gluten free diets to manage symptoms so it is not all that uncommon for dietary restrictions to coincide with kids who don’t have the best self-regulation/impulse control. That being said, I do think there is an age at which children need to begin to be accountable for their dietary needs. I guess I am endlessly shocked at the backlash even within the preschool crowd (which is where I am right now w/ my son). I mean, even with a kid WITHOUT attention/sensory issues, how many 4 year olds out there have the self-regulation/willpower/impulse control/coping skills to resist yummy cupcakes or cookies when all of their classmates are indulging? It simply isn’t developmentally appropriate to have such expectations (and is kind of mean to boot!). Hoping that people begin to understand this issue of food allergies from all angles – developmental, social, cognitive, etc.

    • Kel

      Okay, so I may sound like an asshole for saying this, but:

      At school, I don’t care. Peanut-free, gluten-free, vegan, whatever–fine, we can and should accommodate all that.

      But if it’s my shindig at my house?

      I don’t mind parents who politely ask about what we’re serving; I do mind those who try and control what we’re serving. I try to have least one thing a given person can have (nut-free, gluten-free etc.), but if your kid is going to be put in peril by the fact that our refrigerator has peanut butter in it or someone else’s kid might want to enjoy a strawberry, then…sorry.

      • LiteBrite

        I don’t think you’re an asshole. I feel the same way. I’m happy to be accommodating for school functions and even at home to a degree, but I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure everything in our house is nut/gluten/seed/wheat/dairy/whatever-free.

      • whiteroses

        I think as long as you’re open about it and try to be accommodating, then it’s fine. Having a treat or two for a person with a known allergy at a private party is all that another parent can reasonably expect. Everyone eats, but not everyone needs to eat everything. If you knew someone had allergies and didn’t try to make them something they could eat, that would be another thing.

        But school should be all inclusive. The treats should be available to all, and no child should be left out.

      • Abbe

        One of my kids has a peanut allergy, and I would never expect someone else to plan their bday party menu around us (although if they know about the allergy I would hope that they don’t serve pb&j or Reeses ice cream). I would probably attend the party for peace of mind.
        School, though, needs to be peanut free since I cant ge there. Other kids can shove their faces with pb when they get home. Their life won’t be ruined because they couldn’t have home made treats at school.

      • arrow2010

        “shove their faces with pb”. oh man, you have issues…

      • Abbe

        I’m just saying that kids can wait until they get home to eat peanut butter, not sure how that makes me have issues

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        You don’t, what you said was totally reasonable

      • Abbe

        I know I’m being trolled and should just ignore the loser, but sometimes I just can’t help it

    • Mikster

      Maybe they should just keep food out of schools altogether. Let parents take care of kids’ lunches at home or wherever they choose to feed them off of school grounds.

    • Abbe

      I love you for writing this article

    • arrow2010

      Wow, you people are really judgmental. Just the type of d-bags you are decrying.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        So like is your job just commenting on the occasional post about how you hate every article here and how everyone’s opinion sucks? Do you like anything ? Maybe a Star Wars message board or SOMETHING?!

      • LiteBrite

        Maybe he needs a cupcake (made with REAL butter, sugar and flour) to make him feel better.

      • Abbe

        You’re free to go elsewhere then, bye!

      • rrlo

        I love the irony of your judgment about our judgment about some other ladies judgment about food allergies. The judgment cycle is complete!

      • Bethany Ramos

        Judgy circle jerk!!

    • Elisa Probert

      When I went to public school there were no birthday parties in class. I think the teacher would announce birthdays and we’d all sing “happy Birthday,” but that was it. If I ever have any kids, they get a cake at home and will be told not to expect anything at school. Most of the kids in the class won’t actually care that it’s someone besides themselves’ birthday anyway.

      Allergies are a pain. I have a late-developing seafood allergy, and it’s a pain to deal with as an adult. I can’t imagine how rough it would be for a kid who doesn’t know what to watch out for or that it’s totally cool to say no if you don’t know about a certain item.

      Allergens can sneak into things you wouldn’t even expect. I can’t have Caesar dressing on a salad or Worcestershire sauce on a pot roast. (anchovies) If the fish at the grocery store is more than one day old I react just to the smell. (also, if you can smell the fish when you walk into a store, DO NOT BUY!!! It’s not fresh.) My throat swells shut, I can’t breathe, and very often will start vomiting. (my body’s reaction to stress is “get it out get it out!”)

      Making it more complicated, I’m allergic to the protein in fish, and not the iodine, while most seafood allergies are to the iodine found IN the seafood. So when I went in for surgery last September I had to fill out a million forms stating that, since iodine is commonly used in hospitals.

    • http://naturegirlscrittercorner.blogspot.com/ Iggy Pig

      Eh. Who needs cake? Fresh lettuce and parsley is the best thing in the world! Unfortunately those human kids don’t think so.

    • Kelly

      I seriously hope that people who are nasty and ignorant about allergies develop an allergy of their own someday.

      It can happen too. My most serious allergy developed in my late twenties, jut out of nowhere.

    • MammaSweetpea

      Allergies are bizarre. I never had allergies as a child. In fact, I only knew one person in elementary school with an allergy, and she had asthma. Killer combo. But as an adult I developed allergies (to what I’m not sure) when I got pregnant with my first child. At random times throughout the year, I will get stuffy nosed and walk around with a box of tissues. On top of that I developed a latex allergy. Funny, I know, but it’s not condom related. I worked in a dental office for 10 years, wore latex gloves. I had to read up on it to find out that long term use of latex can lead to allergies. Nice. So now I have to use latex free gloves (like for dishwashing, housecleaning), otherwise I break out in a wicked rash all over my hands and face.
      The point behind all this is I’m an adult, and I know what to avoid, because I’m not completely sure of what my body’s reaction will be to a trigger. I’m not gonna stand in the way of the health of a child who doesn’t know and understand their allergies. Food free parties are the way to go in school, and I think daycare centres should do the same.

    • C.J.

      Children do not need to have birthday parties at school. Birthday parties should be held at home. I have no problem not being able to send in treats because of allergies. I do however think blanket bans are doing more harm than good. People don’t take them seriously, get lazy and often ignore them. My kids school has bans on peanuts/tree nuts and fish. My older daughter has told me that there are kids that bring Nutella to school every day. People paid more attention when we used to make accommodations by class. There is one kid that has an ingestible allergy to fish so now the whole school can’t eat tuna sandwiches. That child will only be eating in their own classroom, there is no need to ban it in the whole school. I think education about allergies would be better. I do think children should be taught to manage their own allergies, but with support from their school while they are learning. My friend has a daughter that has classic PKU, her diet is super restricted. She has her own special food and has to drink formula. They literally have to count everything she eats. She has known how to manage her own diet since she was 4. Her condition is rare enough and severe enough that they can’t leave it to the teachers to manage alone. They do go have a meeting with her teacher at the beginning of each school year but it has happened that she was given something she shouldn’t have. She just says no thank you or takes the amount she knows she is allowed to have if it is something she can have a limited amount of. Since this child is my daughter’s best friend I have learned a lot about her diet. Her mother will take the time to educate anyone that asks. Her mom sends in treats for her if they are having a party at school and sends her food with her if she goes to a birthday party. We are one of the few people that will babysit her because people are afraid to be responsible for feeding her. She will never be able to feel included when it comes to food, you can’t go to the grocery store and buy a cupcake she can eat. She is allowed plain white icing and kool aid. When she comes to parties at my house I make her a special cupcake out of kool aid flavoured icing with a couple candies that she is allowed on top. Sometimes you can’t make everyone feel included. Instead I do my best to try to make sure she has something, even if it is different than what everyone else has.

    • Savannah Kelly

      My little brother has Celiac Disease. He’s 9 now, but he was diagnosed on his 3rd birthday. It’s hard. Really hard. It breaks my mom’s heart any time she has to tell him he can’t have something because it’ll make him sick. We got extremely lucky in the fact that he understands why he can’t have it and that we’ve been surrounded by so many amazing people (both teachers and other parents) who try and make every thing as great for him as they can.
      He has a 504 plan (spelled out very specifically and expanded on after any incident my mom didn’t think of) at school, so every teacher and nurse he has is aware that he cannot eat, drink, touch, or breathe anything that might have more than 5 ppm (parts per MILLION) of gluten. If he does, he shows signs of autism spectrum disorder and extreme digestive issues and has to be out of school for a minimum of three days. It’s serious. But because we are blessed to (mostly) be surrounded by people that care and understand, this hasn’t happened any where near as often as it could have.

      Sure, his class can’t play with play-doh or make “apple pies” (biscuits and apple jam is a stupid class activity anyways). But the other kids in his class like the GF cupcakes I make and send with him on holidays. Half the time they can’t tell the difference. One little girl has the most amazing mother who’s found GF deserts for him TWICE. I think her daughter might have a crush, but it’s besides the point.
      But basically, the point is this. Unless your kid is a jerk, they won’t miss a cupcake/pizza party all that bad. All they care about is a break in school routine and their friends. And it wouldn’t kill some one to make fruit a high lighted snack at parties instead of child hood obesity.

    • SarahJesness

      Why not compromise? If a parent wants to bring in snacks but there’s a kid who is allergic to one of the ingredients, the parent has to bring in something different for that kid. (except maybe if it’s one of those REALLY extreme cases where a kid swells up if he touches peanut residue or whatever; then maybe ban peanuts altogether or something)

    • Kaili

      This is one of those times that I’m glad I don’t have kids and I’m not fond of people as a general rule. It seems damned if you do or damned if you don’t. Everyone seems marginalised, as their rights have been infringed because they are allowed to enjoy that gooey cupcake but can’t, or literally can’t and don’t want to be left out. Parents I mean, I doubt most kids would notice no cupcakes in class.

      The adult world appears to be smoother. At my old work, I would do staff trainings on a Saturday morning. I would supply breakfast. One guy had a gluten allergy, so after I could see he hated just having a weird egg and sausage only from Maccas, I started to bring make the breakfasts. The rest of the staff got savory muffins and he would get potato pancakes or something. He was happy, and included and we went on with our day. Much easier.

    • Liz

      My best friend (also my best friend growing up, since we were about 4 or 5) has a pretty serious latex allergy that was a huge problem because of attitudes like this woman’s. Our whole school had to have a no latex policy. If she was in a room after a pink eraser had been used, she’d have been sent home sick. If she touched the hands of kids who used a pink eraser, she’d often end up needing a trip to the doctor. This isn’t even taking into consideration what many consider a party must have–the balloons. She couldn’t attend any parties with balloons. I am STILL mad about the parties that didn’t make accommodations for that. Is it really that difficult to use streamers as decorations instead of making a kid physically ill? This friend has spina bifida and she already had an awful time with how she was treated because of it (or rather, because of the physical issues that it caused). The fact that kids and parents both made all of her health issues worse over things that only take a minor consideration drives me insane to this day.

      The idea that one kid’s wants trumps another kid’s needs is just baffling to me.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      I actually wish my teacher would institute a no treat policy. I feel pressured to bring something in on her birthday because I don’t want her to be the only kid that doesn’t.

      Our school policy is, if one of the kids has a serious allergy in the class, then no birthday treats for that class. I wonder if allergy kid would get slack about it though.

      Sure it is limiting that can’t send nuts to the school because they are a healthy snack, but man it is not that much of a hardship. I think most people would save the life of a child if they saw them dying and were able to do something to stop it. I guess some people just don’t really believe that a nut could cause death. It seems so insignificant.

      Or maybe there really are a few selfish people in the world who really don’t care about other kids lives. I have trouble believing that.

    • Lindsey

      I love how in the original post, the author is like I can’t possibly think of a food that is egg, dairy, and nut free. Because, you know, fruit and vegetables can’t possibly help celebrate a birthday party. Obviously, it is her child’s right to have cake and not these kids’ right to live…
      Also, if the cake is so important to you, then make it and give it to your child at her/his birthday party. Why do they need two cakes?

    • Sarah Penny

      1) I am so hungry now
      2) Do kids need sugar? Do they need “real” (and I assume when this lady says real she means genetically modified white flour that your body will convert into sugar almost immediately)

      Her cupcakes are probably just as evil as these store bought cupcakes without eggs, nuts, or wheat. Not that I have anything against cupcakes, but calling almost any kind healthy is a stretch.

      Also, if your darling child must feed the others sugar at school

      http://www.vermontnutfree.com/Boxed-Chocolates/products/8/

      No eggs, wheat, or nuts, and probably a lot easier than baking anything

    • Jaclyn

      My babysitter’s son is allergic to gluten. And dairy. And eggs. And soy. And nuts.

      At first I didn’t know what kind of snacks I could send with my daughter each week- I didn’t want to be excluding her toddler when my toddler was having a snack! But the great thing about a mom with a kid with food allergies is that they will tell you exactly what works. Ice pops became our go-to snack. I’m also lucky to live fairly close to a vegan bakery that makes cupcakes that manage to exclude all the ingredients he can’t have. Any time I have a party, we always invite him and I’m always sure to pick up a special cupcake for him. I really don’t understand how people can’t just suck it up and not punish someone else’s child just so their special little snowflake gets to eat a cupcake in school!

    • scooby23

      You know, I feel bad for the kids of parents who have zero tolerance for allergies. They could be getting a good lesson on compassion and how to care about others besides themselves, but nooooo, MiQuinlei and Treedyn have to have their pweshus cupcakes! Screw kids with life threatening allergies! My kids’ right to eat sugary sweets on demand is more important than your kids right to live!11!!!!11!!

    • Valerie Finnigan

      As someone with an airborne food allergy, I feel it’s worthwhile to point out that many of us with food allergies generally do not wish to impose our restrictions on others. I can only handle very limited exposure to strawberries, and that’s if I’m keeping all my other allergies well under control. I would not wish my allergy to burden anyone else if I can avoid it. The problem is that dairy/nut/gluten free diets are “trendy,” and without specifying that there is a student with an allergy, banning those can look like somebody’s trying to push a trendy diet (that is actually not good for people without those allergies or sensitivities) for no reason. Also, being allergic to a food that’s not blacklisted, I have never seen anyone ban strawberries for my benefit, so it does appear that people with some allergies get preferential treatment over people with others.

      There also comes a point when banning allergens causes problems for other people with different health concerns. Banning all outside food because somebody has allergies could hurt somebody else who has diabetes, for example. Banning nuts and legumes could hurt vegetarians. And I’ve had to deal with some people who acted like their allergy to dog dander gave them a right to try to impose on disabled people with service dogs.