Allergies/Birthdays/And Family Grrrrr. . . - Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much Blog at - 247775

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Allergies/Birthdays/And Family Grrrrr. . . 
Aug. 21, 2011 11:07 pm 
Updated: Aug. 24, 2011 11:46 am
In todays world so many our discovering that they are allergic to one or more foods.  If not allergic they may be intolerant to the point that they can't eat it.  As a parent of one child who has been blessed with allergies (dairy,egg, and nuts) being the big ones nearly two years ago I've had to adapt myself so many times from breakfast, lunch, dinner, eating out, etc.   Here in lies my dillema and the cause of my rant;  I have a close extended family who all lives within 25 miles of one another.  There are 11 cousins and my kids are invited to all of their parties as well as to my kids.   My sister, brothers, and parents are well aware of the fact that my son has allergies -- they've seen him react -- they've seen the panic on my face as I'm calling to find a doctor available to get my son breathing right on a Sunday afternoon.   Yet, just tonight I attended another family Birthday where not a single treat was provided for my son.  There was the regular, "Oh yeah I thought about him, but just forgot.  I'm sorry."   The rest of the kids all had big cupcakes, and drumstick ice cream bars.  And I was told that it was not the time to bring up my disappointment by my brother.   My brother did eventually take pity on my son and went and found him an otter pop at his home. (He was not the host of the party)  I can't tell you how many parties I have been to where I had to hunt through cupboards to give my son some cereal or saltine instead of a piece of cake. 
    I mean how many times can you tell a little guy that he's the only one not getting a treat like the other kids?   I've been patient but even my own mother is guilty.   I know I'm the one expected to do the providing -- It almost feels like the thought process is it's to difficult to change a recipe, leave milk out of frosting, not make a mayonaise based salad -- etc.   Well since I'm sure the parties aren't stopping I guess I'm going to have to be the one to make sure my son isn't left out.  I will make him his own batch of cupcakes and freeze them, pull them out on party days.  I did expect to have to do this with school or neighborhood friends, but with my own family I feel really let down.   It's really not that hard to find him his own special treat -- like a popscicle.
    Anyone else have obstacles when approaching their own food problems with friends and family?  Please share because I feel like I'm in this boat full of people and the only one rowing right now.
People keep denying me cupcakes. Meanies.
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Aug. 22, 2011 12:36 am
So sorry that you go through frustrating times every year. Most of use are aware of nut allergies being banned at school but with eggs & dairy inluded must be so hard for parents and especially a child. We have a nephew with specific vegetarian likes (some kind of adaptability development problems he has). He is in his teens now eating the same stuff. I remember my first time hosting a party at my house and all I worried about was my nephew. My MIL and his mom had told me not to worry about him. His mom had packed a lunch for him. Yes, it was very thoughtful of her and gave me a little relief but at the same time, I do feel bad that I couldn't provide an alternative food for him. Thank you for bringing this up, I would like to hear from others....
Aug. 22, 2011 12:41 am
yikes..sorry about my bad typing...late here & can't sleep!
Aug. 22, 2011 5:13 am
This is awful for both you and your son. While it would be nice if family would make the effort to remember, especially since you visit so often, that clearly isn't happening. And shame on them for not making any effort after 2 years. I'm sure you've done this many, many times, but I'll mention it just the same; maybe call a day or two before the party with a reminder and an offer to email them a link to recipes suitable for your son? Or ask them to set aside an un-frosted cupcake, leave a portion of the salad undressed, then bring the frosting or dressing yourself. It's positive and reminds them while relieving them of the extra effort, which they're not making anyway. Still, they'll be reminded. In time, it could become unnecessary as they get used to thinking of your son when planning a family gathering. In the meantime, I think your idea of bringing treats for your son is a good one, ensuring everyone can enjoy the party. I'm new to the allergy scene (gluten) and so far have been able to get by with just a tossed salad, but I'm an adult. Still, I know my time is coming with the approaching holidays. Others who have kids w/allergies will no doubt have way better advice. You sure do have my sympathy, though.
Aug. 22, 2011 8:59 am
I hope I can offer a little constructive criticism as the parent of a child who also had to avoid a certain ingredient in her foods and not come across as if I'm lecturing you. My daughter is fortunate enough not to have allergies to items that are so prevalent like your son's are; however, the ingredient she must avoid is present in many foods I would never have dreamed it would be in. My daughter has a severe intolerance to red food dye, especially red #40. She becomes aggitated and violently angry. In fact, my older daughter has faint scars on her arm from my younger daughter scratching her in a fit of rage after eating about a 2-inch long piece of a red Otter Pop. That was the incident that made me realize she couldn't handle even the smallest amounts of red food dye, so I read ingredient labels religiously now. Did you know even Cool Ranch Doritos have red #40 in them? They're not even red!! After we eliminated red food dye from my daughter's diet, it took only one time watching her sit there at a birthday party with tears in her eyes while the other kids enjoyed their red velvet cupcakes. I decided at that moment that this would never happen again, even if the host was a member of my family who was "well aware of the fact" that she has this red food dye intolerance. To ensure that my daughter doesn't get left out, whenever we are invited to a party (family or otherwise), I take something with me for her to enjoy in case the host-provided treats contain red food dye. I don't feel that it's appropriate for me to expect the host to provide for my child's ingredient intolerance when they already have so much else to do when getting ready for a party or gathering, even if it IS a family member hosting the party. It's my responsibility as her parent to make sure she has foods that are safe for her to eat and that I make those foods available whenever we are away from home. Don't get me wrong...I'm very sorry your son has had to experience this and I do understand your frustration with your family, but honestly the easy way to deal with it and to save yourself a lot of stress is to do exactly what you said you plan to do. Bake up a bunch of cupcakes that don't have the ingredients he's allergic to and bring one along whenever you're invited to a party. Bring along a serving of whatever ice cream type frozen dessert he can have (sorbet?) as well. That way, he has a treat to enjoy along with the rest of the kids instead of saltine crackers and, better yet, you don't have the heartache of watching him choke down those crackers while the other kids are eating cake and ice cream.
Aug. 22, 2011 9:19 am
Wise words, Keri... Something else I would make it my mission to do: when it is your son's turn to give a party, be sure that every single speck of food meets his diet criteria and is over the top, drop dead scrumptious. Be prepared for lots of compliments and questions about where you got it from. Sometimes you have to prove to people that healthy (or specialized) foods taste good. Once they realize that you may find that they are following your lead to the delicious (and yes, allergy free) party foods. Good luck!!!
Aug. 22, 2011 9:28 am
Keri I totally hear what you are saying. And I am going to become more proactive in making sure my son is fed as well as not hurt in the process of not getting what everyone else is. I just am surprised by the people who have been aware of my sons allergies and have been accomodating. For instance a neighbor who made a cake that would be good for my son as well as a gluten intolerant kid for her sons B-Day, the churches nursery leader had several conversations with me to ensure my sons happiness and safety when they had snack time. But, my own sister, my best friend,totally forgets. My Mother and Father forget as well -- they have actually handed him chocolate bars with nuts. His allergies are brought up every time we are out, because we have to end up looking for something for him to eat (like my Dad purchasing cheddar hot dogs for a BBQ instead of regular.) But usually with a "Oh I totally forgot, I guess I should have. . ." My son is young still,but now is starting to ask why he didn't get cheese or peanut butter. He identifies cupcakes as something fun that other kids get, but that he doesn't get. And it's only going to get harder from here on out. I dread the days of school, and telling teacher's he can't make pudding pictures or eat the hostess cupcakes like the other kids. Or when he comes home with a student of the month prize of a free ice cream cone or days of the whole class won a pizza party. I guess we are just really seriously entering the stage of his life where he is starting to realize he's being left out, and the Mama Bear in me wants everything to be so nice in his life.
Aug. 22, 2011 9:40 am
Goodfood4ursoul -- I thought I did prove that at his last party. I made a delicious crazy cake (no egg or milk) that everyone couldn't stop raving about. Let everyone know that canned frostings have no egg or milk in them. Or that soy milk was a good substitute. The recipe was requested. We served snow cones instead of ice cream, etc. I'm not saying take away from the Birthday kid if they want ice cream and a lusicious milk chocolate cake that's what they should get. But, just have a special little treat just for "E" like a popsicle or a bag of gummy worms. It would just mean a lot to me and him if he was considered on occasion. But, we have another two parties to attend this week, and I will be bringing "E" his own treats, start facing this head-on as his Mama.
Aug. 22, 2011 10:01 am
Believe me, I totally get what you're saying. My own family forgets about my daughter's red food dye intolerance, too. Thankfully, she's old enough that she can remind them if I'm not there to do it, but it would still be nice if they'd remember on their own. I have a couple suggestions for the school treats issue. A child at my church has allergies similar to your son's and his mom has shared with us how she handled the issue of school treats. At the beginning of each school year, she speaks with her son's teachers. She explains to them the severity of his allergies and asks if it would be possible to provide a stash of goodies that are okay for him to eat. The teacher can then pull out one of his treats whenever the class has something he can't eat. She has yet to find a teacher who's not willing to do this. In the instance of a pizza party, she asks the school to please order a personal sized pizza with no cheese on it for her son. I'm sure you already thought of this, but I figured I'd mention it just in case...when your son comes home with an award and it's accompanied by a free ice cream cone, save the free ice cream coupon for another member of the family, congratulate your son, and take him out for some kind of treat he's able to eat. With my daughter, I found myself saying "you can't eat that" way too often, so I changed it to "let's find something different that's okay for you to eat" instead. She still gets frustrated about the huge variety of foods that contain red food dye, but she's realizing it's a fact of life for her and she just has to learn how to work around it. I understand your desire to make everything perfect in your son's life. It's what all parents should want for their children. I'm not sure what your son's case is like, but the child at my church has outgrown many of his allergies (he was even allergic to potatoes when he was a toddler) and the others are becoming less severe as he heads into his teenage years. Hopefully your son will be as fortunate. In the meantime, hang in're doing great!
Aug. 24, 2011 11:46 am
Have you looked in to giving him allergy shots. My grandaughter takes a shot in each arm every week. She was allergic to all but 3 things she was tested for.Mind you it was mostly environmental not foods. She has taken them for over a year now and she is doing so much better now.
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Melissa Wilson Martin

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I am a former school librarian and history teacher. Now I stay at home with my daughter and son. After I quit working I started cooking and looking up recipes to fill the void. 20 pounds later I'm actually trying to cut back. But, now try and find healthier options.
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My favorite things to cook are main meals. I can't have the same thing in a month's time. Why should I if there are so many options out there? My new favorite thing to do is make spaghetti from scratch instead of a bottle. My world has definitely improved since this wonderful discovery.
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Cheez Whiz on celery at Thanksgiving. It's the small memories from childhood that mean a lot to me. I also remember making Christmas candy trays for friends and neighbors during the Christmas season. So I always try and make something homemade to give to neighbors during the holidays.
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I won the church Halloween dessert bake-off. A French Apple Pie. Actually won in the apple category and the best tasting desert. Finally making my first real meal of enchilada's taste good enough to eat.
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My best friend and I attempted to make a cake from scratch not from a box. It came out lop sided and really ugly especially after we tie dyed frosted it, and named it the ugly cake. Tasted awful to.
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