Why My Kid’s Allergies Don’t Mean Your Kid Can’t Have a Birthday Party

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I have so many reactions to this article I read today in Huffington Post called, “Why Do Your Kid’s Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have a Birthday?” By Carina Hoskisson.  I’m going to limit myself to 6 points.

1) I love to read a fully thought out explanation of the other side of this great debate. It can be hard to really get at the heart of why some people are against classroom food limitations when all they do is defend their “right to eat whatever they want” without showing any understanding of the real issue.  This mom seems to at least understand what the issue is and she addresses it.

2) I will never hold others responsible for providing my child with a safe alternative.  That’s my job and I’m equipped for it. You tell me when the treats are coming and I will make sure my child has a safe alternative.

3) The assertion that allergy free=unhealthy is ignorant.  Period.

4) The comparison of a child being left out of a celebration because they are allergic to the treat to her child choosing not to eat a treat because he doesn’t like it is a ridiculous one.  One is a life threatening condition that deprives children of treats they wish they could have which others are enjoying around them.  The other is a preference and a choice not to eat something that has been offered and you could safely accept.  Seriously????

5) The idea that you cannot have a celebration at school without cupcakes/cookies/brownies is part of why we’re facing a childhood obesity epidemic. Every celebration does not have to revolve around junk food or food at all. There are so many wonderful alternatives. One blogger, Cooking For Stella, suggests a book donation on her Facebook post where I originally saw this article posted. Yep, bring a guest reader from home to read a new book and donate it to your classroom library. Fantastic!

6) You are right about one thing.  You absolutely have a right not to show compassion and understanding.  Just because a child who is born with a life threatening illness that causes them to be excluded from life’s little celebrations daily does not mean you have to show any consideration for their feelings or well-being whatsoever.  Kindness cannot be demanded.  It is optional.  All I know is, we have been shown great kindness and understanding anyway from so many people around us.  It’s a choice and those who choose love and compassion are touching lives.  They are also teaching their children by example how to do the same.

By the way, if you choose to exercise your right to withhold compassion, you might be interested in the tutorial How To Crush A Food Allergy Mom.

I just want to add that my daughter came home from her Valentine’s Day celebration at school this week and we began the usual examination of her bag to remove all of the treats for label reading and inspection. The class had not been specifically told what to send, although they are all aware of her allergies. EVERY SINGLE VALENTINE was safe for her, with the exception of one sneaky cross contamination label. (Yes, I just teared up writing that sentence.) How many people think the other kids felt deprived or slighted because the candy was allergy safe? I’m guessing zero.  We are so lucky to be surrounded by a group of loving human beings who choose compassion.

14 thoughts on “Why My Kid’s Allergies Don’t Mean Your Kid Can’t Have a Birthday Party

    • Thank you! I sure am lucky that the people we have encountered in preschool have been so supportive. I know we will have plenty of exposure to the other side in the future, though. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  1. As a child I had grass and mold allergies but did not really develop food allergies until the last decade or so. I have often thought about starting a recipe blog for people with food sensitivities. I have over thirty years of food experience and a lot of experience with allergies. Since my focus is not on protecting my children from potentially life threatening reactions I believe I will stick to what I know best and that is really good food. I also enjoy eating so much that I have been forced to find substitutions for ingredients in my recipes. I have been substituting coconut milk for milk or cream in all (or most) of my recipes. I love this substitution because it performs like milk, has a healthy but high fat content and makes everything taste better, even my savory dishes. I didn’t dig really deep but I do hope no one is allergic to coconut. In particular, check out the Roasted red pepper sauce recipe. It has so much flavor you don’t need the parmesan and is delicious over brown rice. Goodluck to you and your family. http://www.mealsalone.com

  2. Well said. Everyone needs compassion. Especially innocent children who have not chosen to have a life threatening disease! I love to encourage others to do this as my focus is top allergen free treats and snack crafts (plus sesame since that is our nemesis) . It would be a DREAM if adults went this route with things if food crafts and treats are part of the plan. I love the book idea for food alternative!!

  3. I am in love with the fact that people cared enough to send safe treats for Valentine’s Day! So awesome!

    On another note the point that every event has to revolve around food, just shows how uncreative our society is. (Unfortunately me included-food is the first thing I think about when having an event.) We can change for the better…right?!?!

    • Thanks! It is definitely the first thing we all think of. The key is just not to stop thinking at the first idea. Just being aware, like you are, is a huge step. It spreads like wildfire among classmates too. 🙂

  4. It just makes me so sad to think that people do not understand that all you are trying to do is make it SAFE for your children to go to school! We talk about safety in schools as our number one priority, but people obviously do not understand food allergies!

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