Shut Up, Judi

October 31, 2017

This morning another TMR friend shared this story about a lady who was upset over the Teal Pumpkin Project. For those who don’t know what that the Teal Pumpkin Project is, the basic idea is that families can paint or purchase a teal pumpkin to set out on Halloween during trick-or-treating or for trunk-or-treats to signify that their home or car has “safe” treats for those who suffer from food allergies. Each house can do whatever they want, as it’s a completely volunteer movement, but the ideas range from non-edible goodies such as glow sticks or stickers to crafts and toys. It’s a pretty genius idea in that it was born of people just wanting to include children that may not normally be able to participate.

If you haven’t seen the story about the upset lady, I encourage you to read it now so you can understand that my response was tame in comparison to my initial reaction.

After censoring a few choice words, the following was my response to Judi:

Dear Judi,

I don’t think you get it. It’s not about being tough, it’s about not killing a child over a Twix. (And for many, digging through the candy ahead of time doesn’t eliminate that risk . . . but, again, you clearly do not understand.)

If you don’t want to get a teal pumpkin, then don’t. Nobody is forcing you to be kind to children. You can pick and choose the kids you think deserve Halloween all you want. But please shut up.

You look stupid trying to tell parents to figure out how to deal with their children’s issues or “problems” while in the same breath slamming the fact that they created a way to do so. They didn’t whine about it; they thought of a way to solve the situation so that kids can still enjoy the holiday and also bring light to a serious growing problem.

I don’t have a child with severe food allergies, but I do have a child with special needs. These children adjust daily to our world, your world, and the idea that that you think we should just make them toughen up so we don’t have “snowflakes” shows how very ignorant you are about what these children do daily and the hell they endure from people like you.

We participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Not for my child, but because of people like you. We want all children to know that whatever their difference is, that they are valued and loved by people in this world. The fact that we can accommodate for a few dollars and know that some child gets a few moments of normalcy . . . well, that’s a pretty worthwhile expense.

As for toughening up, well, people like you who lack compassion teach these children every day that the world is not kind and they will face nonsense at every turn, even over stupid crap like grown-ups being upset about a teal pumpkin. I think they deserve at least a few hours where they can just be kids instead of having to deal with YOUR issues.

I am glad that you don’t want to participate, because as a parent, I wouldn’t want my kids around you anyway.

— Shan

This specific story is about our food allergy kids, but Judi took it beyond that, to all our kids with “problems.” Or, as we like to call them, amazing, beautiful, STRONG children. Because those of us in this world of special needs, know that the number of children facing unique challenges has skyrocketed to the point that we all know children with EpiPens, inhalers, special diets, etc. It’s our new normal. It’s every classroom, every playground, every family. And that doesn’t even touch on all the other medical issues our children are now dealing with. And yet there remain a few Judi-like folks who haven’t grasped that if their child really is lucky enough to not go down this path, they are still going to be tasked with dealing with it because it affects their peers, so teaching compassion is probably a good idea.

These folks, instead, are angry. They’re upset that they are having to adapt. They don’t like having nut-free classrooms or having to buy special treats for Halloween. They are upset that their world is having to shift due to the sheer number of children who are now suffering. Well guess what, Judi? So are we. We are pissed. Because, while the only job asked of the Judis of the world is to be kind, we have to watch our children suffer through what should be a carefree childhood while at the same time trying to find a way to stop what is happening to all these kids somehow and keep our own safe and healthy. We get it. We all agree, they shouldn’t all be sick or have problems, issues, challenges or whatever word you choose. It’s not the world we dreamed of for our children either.

But instead of asking why we have these problems or offering to help, we face people like selfish Judi. Judi, who doesn’t know what it’s like to rush a child to the hospital because they can’t breathe, or pay thousands to carry around an emergency device so your sweet child won’t die if some selfish parent sends in a peanut butter sandwich, or watch every day as your child is asked to adapt to the same activities as everyone else when they can’t yet form a sentence at age 12, but she can totally grasp how annoying it is to buy a teal pumpkin or non-candy treat. Yes, Judi is completely ignorant, but she isn’t alone in her selfish thoughts.

This isn’t the first time we have had to deal with a person like this, and it won’t be the last. My hope is that the more of us that speak out and share, the less of this nonsense we hear. With 1 in 13 children with a food allergy, something has to give. Let’s hope a few more pumpkins lead the conversation towards kindness and treating others with compassion.

~ CRUSH

For more by Crush, click here

In honor of those we have lost due to food allergies  and for further information on food allergies, special needs and Halloween or the Teal Pumpkin Project:

Kids with Food Allergies (A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America):
Kids with Food Allergies.org

TODAY.com:
Make it meaningful’: How food-allergy parents make Halloween fun for their kids

WTNH, News 8:
Teal pumpkins to make Halloween safe for kids with food allergies

Kids with Food Allergies:
2017 Allergy-Friendly Halloween Candy Guide

Thinking Moms’ Revolution:
Food Allergies: The New “Normal”?

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE):
Food Allergy Myths and Misconceptions

Today’s Parent:
7 ways to make Halloween more fun for kids with special needs

Epilepsy Foundation:
Celebrating the Spirit of Halloween Without Seizures

CDC:
Food Allergies in Schools

World Mercury Project:
Robyn Talks about Her Son’s Peanut Allergy

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9 Responses to Shut Up, Judi

  1. Jennifer Power says:

    The Judis of this world are beginning to feel threatened. They may be insensitive as well as ignorant, but everywhere they turn they see a child/teen/young adult suffering. It won’t be long before they realise that someone they know and perhaps love is affected.

    The Judis are scared.

  2. Julianne Boise says:

    As I tweeted … Normally I do not condone use of this phrase (Shut Up !) but this is just PERFECT !!!

  3. Amy Jacobellis says:

    Nobody required Judi to have a teal pumpkin but she is implying that it’s the new law. What an idiot.
    Maybe there is a reason that more kids have food allergies today than in 1950.
    My 1 year old son came “within minutes – maybe 1 minute” of dying from fire ant bites, according to the ER doctor.
    We rolled around in the grass as kids in the 1960’s – but fire ants didn’t enter Southeast Texas until the 1980’s.
    Maybe there are multiple reasons that more kids have food allergies today, and that more kids are on the spectrum today than in the 50’s and 60’s. In fact, I’m sure if it. And the reason is not because the parents are crazy and overprotective.
    One reason is because our kids have to deal with things like fire ants that they simply weren’t exposed to a few decades ago.

  4. Sandhya says:

    What she has failed to teach her kid is kindness and compassion. She will wait on it until the FEW and MOST swap places in this world. We are parents of kind children who have far more self control than even adults because of their life threatening allergies and special needs.

  5. Erin says:

    The irony? These are the same people who advocate vaccines and based on some of the articles I’ve read, studies are suggesting the increasing rise in food allergies may be due to the food proteins used as added agents in the vaccines. So not only do they support, force and condone the cause, but then refuse to adapt to the damage… My daughter has food allergies and I have to be that ‘food nazi’ mother all of the time. I don’t think parents are even asking for this change I think it’s just people feeling sorry for the children who have to be alienated as a result. It’s called being a human being. As I type this I’m sitting in a parking lot getting ready to spend a fortune on special candy that I will later switch out with the candy she retrieves after trick or treating, assuming there is trick or treating, after the state’s power outage. People are fairly ignorant when it comes to the dietary needs of our children. They’d do it for their dogs, their cats, their elderly, but not our children… :/ sad…

    • stacy says:

      Very true. They act like you are over exaggerating your children’s allergies. I just talked with a mom today about her son’s birthday party this weekend and she acted all annoyed that I asked what was being served so I knew to pack his own food or not. She said well at least he can come and play with the other kids. It seems no matter how you feel like you are just asking these questions nicely, to keep your child safe,people can become defensive and insulted. I shouldn’t generalize, last week’s birthday party the parents went to a nut free bakery and the food was provided by a nut free kitchen. We certainly would not expect this, but this mom was definitely not a Judi!

  6. Brilliant response! I remember speaking with my oldest daughter’s elementary school principal years ago about her being sequestered for lunch with just a few other children from other grades and classes that she didn’t know due to life-threatening peanut and nut allergies. They had to eat in a teacher’s classroom by themselves. The principal’s response was that her child would “eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches”, so she couldn’t imagine asking parents to restrict their children’s lunches to be more allergy friendly. When I told her children could actually have life-threatening reactions, regardless–elementary school cafeterias are frequently used for other purposes, she was unmoved. She told me, “It’s a big world out there”…a Judi-like response, and this from a woman whose entire career was built around children!

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