Before school started Max's teacher and I talked about food allergies and birthday celebrations and she decided it would be best to just encourage parents to bring in fresh fruit for a celebration snack. I think this is great on many levels. Besides cutting down on the food allergy worries it keeps kids from loading up on sugar before lunch which is when birthday celebrations are scheduled. Just personally, I also don't know why food must always be the center of any celebration. Montessori does a lovely ceremony, involving the child walking around a lit candle the number of years he has been on earth to symbolize the sun going around the earth while the teacher talks about each year of the child's life. The child gets to be the center of attention and made to feel very special. Why add food to this?
So when on Friday, Max's teacher said another mom wanted to bring in cupcakes for her son's celebration (he was having a party on Sunday) I felt a little worried. Max's teacher gave her a recipe and strict instructions on which products and cross contamination. I still felt worried and called her Sunday.
Her son wasn't feeling well on Monday so the celebration was pushed to Tuesday. I finally got in contact with the mom Monday night. She was exasperated with the recipe. Here are some of her exasperations:
"The recipe looks so hard!"
"I don't have all the right ingredients."
"I'm not much of a baker."
"I'm sure every pan and bowl we have has had egg in it at some point."
"I didn't know someone could be allergic to eggs!"
"What do you feed him?" (When I told her he was also allergic to milk, peanuts and tree nuts)
(And my favorite) "My son just doesn't like fruit. Really. He just doesn't like it."
So I listened patiently and then did what she was really asking for. I let her off the hook. I told her to make whatever her son wanted and I would send something safe for Max. At which point she offered to make my son a fruit kabob! Come on, my kid is pretty good about his allergies but if everyone around him is eating cupcakes he's not going to be happy with a fruit kabob.
She gave the obligatory "I just don't want him to feel left out." which in return I gave the obligatory "Don't worry, this is our life and he is used to it. He hasn't known anything different." Blah, blah, blah. Why do I have to make other people feel good about my son's allergies when they want to go against the class rules and bring cupcakes because their son doesn't like fruit?
And another thing: When buying the usual (and only kind which were safe for us) chocolate chip cookies at Whole Foods today, I noticed the labeling was different. It now says they contain milk (even though I couldn't find milk in the ingredient list) AND it said it CONTAINED (not even MAY contain) trace amounts of peanut, tree nut and egg. Followed by good manufacturing practices used, yadda, yadda, yadda. This is completely different from previous labeling and it pissed me off.
AND ANOTHER THING! The person hosting our usual weekly afternoon playgroup sent out directions and indicated that she would be serving goldfish crackers and brownies as a snack. I emailed back that we wouldn't be coming. Somedays even I get tired of dealing with our allergies. And do we really need goldfish and brownies right before dinner?
Okay, done ranting.