Why My Kid’s Food Allergies Are Ruining Your Party

zorroHi, my name’s Zorro, and I’m an allergy mom. My fellow allergy moms and I are feeling a little, oh . . . let’s say . . . riled up. That’s putting it mildly.

There’s been a piece on HuffPo shooting around the blogosphere and filling up my Facebook feed in which the writer asks, or rather demands, to know why her kid can’t have her yummy homemade cupcakes on her birthday at school because, geeeeesh, all these annoying kids and their food allergies just ruin it for everybody.

That’s right, honey, my kids have food allergies just to bum your high. My bad.

You can read it here, but if you have kids on a special diet or with food allergies, it might bring out the mama bear in you.

10254015_752591201438057_1789521757951597312_nGenerally, there’s some whining about it not being fair, she’s rapidly reaching the end of her rope, etc., etc. The writer kind of understands food allergies because a kid in her town once died from a Twix . . . Well, not to be snarky, but that just doesn’t pack quite enough authority, says the mom who carries EpiPens and has has poured Benadryl down the throat of her 18-month-old while her husband buckled the car seat before racing off to the ER because the baby was having difficulty breathing after gnawing on a piece of pizza crust.

So I have a few things to say to the writer, starting with . . . Really?!

1. What does “fair” mean to you? Do you mean fair as in why can’t I have my way?, or fair as in it has to be even for everyone (which is really kid-level justice)? Or, how about fair as in everyone gets what they need, or even so no one feels left out?

2. Are you trolling? Did this really warrant a blog on a high-profile portal? Or are you courting controversy to raise your profile?

3. I can take you through why this is galling step-by-step. In excruciating detail. You say you are rapidly reaching the end of your rope. We could compare ropes, but I bet my fellow allergy moms and I have been at the “tie a knot and hang on” phase for a long time. Would you even bother to listen?

4. Serve the cupcakes at home or save them for a PTA bake sale where they will get the oohs and aaahs you’re seeking.

And finally:

5. Have some compassion.

Mail-Attachment-copy-5You may be focused on the one time a year you get to indulge your inner Cake Boss and send in something fabulous, but my kid has to run the gauntlet of school parties, surprise treats, pizza day, birthdays, holidays, and Friday Fun about 50 times a year. Conservatively. This doesn’t include sports, playdates, or weekend birthday parties. For every one time you are inconvenienced, I have to pray 50 times that my kid with poor impulse control doesn’t give into the temptation to grab a bite of something he’s not supposed to have. I have to plan 50 times for an attractive alternative, because, as you say, it isn’t fair to deny your special snowflake one of your boss cupcakes. My kid understands every single freaking time that it’s not fair. That would be more than 50 times a year that he has to suck it up. He’s six.

Do you see why I just might be running out of patience?

I’m one of the moms who sends in back-up treats for my kid. The teacher has two choices at all time for my youngest son: gluten-free brownies and Rice Krispie treats, which aren’t gluten-free, but they are wheat- and artificial-color-free and he tolerates them. And you know what? Sometimes that’s just not enough. I bend over backwards to make it safe and make my kid feel included, but it’s Just. Not. Enough.

I have stood next to a mom who literally stamped her feet in frustration that she couldn’t send peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school for her babies, with a little pouty lip action thrown in for good measure. You know what that sounds like to me? It has the images-3SAME emotional impact as someone pouting that they can’t send a switchblade to school. I don’t say that to be dramatic, but because there is that kind of risk for my kids. Anaphylactic shock, seizures, trips to the ER. . . . Good times!


And here’s another little tidbit that might help you swallow the bitter, gluten-free, color-free, egg-free, soy-free pill: the rate of juvenile food allergies is increasing. More and more kids all the time are being diagnosed with food allergies, like 1 in 13 kids, so if there are 25-35 kids in a classroom, you’re looking at 2-3 kids per class. According to Allergy Kids Foundation, one kid with food allergies costs a family an extra $4,200 per year in special diets and medicine. On top of that, there has been a 265% increase in the rates of hospitalizations related to food allergies.

Please don’t blow off food sensitivities either, which really CAN be as bad as allergies, they just don’t show up on traditional IgE tests because it’s likely affecting another inflammatory or immune activation cascade. How do I know about this? Because I have three kids with food allergies and sensitivities. Three. (And two of them were adopted at birth, so it’s not about genetics and apples falling from allergic trees.)

My oldest tested allergic, full blown IgE allergic, to about 90% of the foods we tested. That number’s come down, but seriously, 90%! He had digestive issues, behavior issues, and nasty eczema as a result. My second boy gets seizures from gluten exposure, but has no testable allergy and doesn’t have celiac. He’s kind of sensitive to it, wouldn’t you say? My youngest has a raging allergy to nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, that make his mouth itch if someone nearby eats them, and wheat gives him asthma . . . for three days.

I also avoid artificial coloring as much as possible because they short out my kids’ brains and they become hyperactive and irritable. Don’t get me started on sugar in the classroom.


Do you see, maybe a little, why that blog post may have been a wee bit upsetting? You are in the majority. I am not. I am in league with the allergy moms, the hippie moms, the paleo moms, the Weston A. Price moms, the moms who don’t feed their kids crap, the autism moms, the ADHD moms, and the sensory processing disorder moms who have found that good food really is medicine for our kids. Have you thought about why there are so many kids with food allergies? What could have happened to our food so that these little bodies see it as foreign invaders? What has happened to their immune systems to put them into overdrive? This is unprecedented and should scare us all.

1506730_752591461438031_2887405398335047601_nI would LOVE for my kid to eat your cupcakes. LOVE. But it’s not in the cards. My fellow allergy moms and I are fighting for all our kids. We are not fighting against you. We are in this for all those kids who have food allergies and digestive problems, who can’t learn and can’t sit still, who have bloated tummies and white coated tongues and funny circles under their eyes and too many colds. Your kids. Our kids. Our future. We don’t deserve your ire. It would be so much more helpful if you could aim your cannons elsewhere.

So, what can we do instead? How about we chill out on food in the classroom? What about some fruit, stickers, a little toy? Maybe some temporary tattoos? If you want to disrupt learning, how about a movie, a dance party, or extra recess? And how about, instead of slagging off online about wanting to make cupcakes, you ASK one of those allergy moms what would help. Be an ally. Parenting is too hard to have to do battle over cupcakes.

In closing, I leave you with an informative and inspirational TEDx talk by Robyn O’Brien, a former food analyst, now a Real Food Evangelist and author. Peace out.

Zorro is a California mom with point to make about autism: It has biological underpinnings and it’s treatable. Kids can improve and some can recover when their medical issues and nutritional deficiencies are corrected. Mom to three boys with issues, including anxiety, autism (her son has recovered!!) ADHD, epilepsy, dyslexia, and mild attachment disorder, Zorro spends her days looking for solutions, geeking out over neurobiology, juggling schedules, trying to feed picky kids with a billion food allergies, and keeping up with celebrity gossip. She blogs at www.RecoveryRd.wordpress.com.

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122 Responses to Why My Kid’s Food Allergies Are Ruining Your Party

  1. Mark Fogelson says:


  2. Jen says:

    So I have a question… Before that though, I will say that I nor my kids have food allergies, so I can only empathize with your situation and the thought of accidentally ingesting something that could kill is terrifying. Our school doesn’t allow any birthday treats at all and snacks can only be fresh fruit or vegetables. My question though revolved around other school events. We have an annual outdoor school picnic/potluck. In this year’s invite I wrote out that we encourage nut-free dishes but will have a table set aside if something shows up with nuts. We also have food label sheets so people can designate gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. The mom of a highly-peanut allergy child has told me I need to change the picnic to not allow any peanuts or treenuts whatsoever due to the possibility of cross contamination even with dishes at separate tables (her child is 9 and well in tune with his allergies). I understand her concerns but at the same time am trying to find where the line is drawn. We have kids who need to be dairy-free, gluten-free, have rice or egg allergies, etc. (not all deathly, but reactive). If we disallow anyone from bringing anything any of the kids are allergic to, do we even offer up having an annual potluck that has happened for decades? From my point of view, our school is small (75 kids) and I feel encouraging nut-free dishes (it’s well known that there are nut allergies at school and it’s highly unlikely someone will purposely bring something but it happened last year) and offering to have everything labeled is an ok compromise. What are your thoughts on a workable solution?

  3. Kelly says:

    I’m sorry but the rest of the world does not need to arrange themselves around your child’s disability. Your child is in the minority and needs to learn to live in a world where people eat things that they might not be able to eat themselves. My children are not going to give up peanut butter, nuts, strawberries, etc. because your kid can’t eat them. That’s not how life works. If your child is so allergic that they can’t even be in the same school as a peanut, they need to be homeschooled. After all, please tell me what is stopping a child from bringing peanut butter or nuts to school even if their parents tell them not to? The allergic kid is never really safe. And I’m sick of entitled mommy bloggers thinking they can dictate what my child eats. No and NO.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      No one has asked asked your children to “give up” peanut butter, nuts, strawberries or anything else, simply to refrain from eating them in a communal space with children who could DIE from exposure. The fact is that absolutely zero harm will come to your children from refraining from any specific food in any specific environment. But hey, if you’re perfectly okay with sending your children’s classmates to the hospital from something easily avoided, that’s your prerogative.

      Given your rejected comments on other threads, I strongly suspect you would be the first to insist that people MUST vaccinate their children in order to protect the immunocompromised. I find it interesting (and highly hypocritical) that you would be okay with forcing other peoples’ children to take on the risk of death or permanent devastating disability (and, yes, there are thousands of documented cases of such) in order to protect “the minority” of children with such disabilities (or slightly reduce the possibility that your own children will encounter measles?), while at the same time flatly refusing to ask your children to refrain from a lousy peanut butter sandwich during school hours in order to spare other children grave physical harm. If a child is so immunocompromised that they can’t be in the same school as someone with the flu, don’t “they need to be homeschooled”? After all, please tell me what is stopping a child (or adult) from coming down with any contagious illness that doesn’t have a vaccine (not to mention the fact that all vaccines fail in a certain percentage of recipients)? The immunocompromised kid is never really safe. And I’m sick of entitled, selfish, and hypocritical mommys thinking they can dictate what is injected into my child. No and NO.

    • Amy says:

      To suggest that a child with a severe allergy needs to be banned from public schools and homeschooled is ILLEGAL, and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      I agree, it’s probably annoying. But put yourself in the shoes of a parent or child who is constantly worried their child come become severely ill or even die from exposure to allergens.

    • Wow! Somebody is full of themselves, aren’t they? Nobody said anything about banning foods entirely or making sure YOUR child can’t eat them. All the OP is asking for is a little compassion and understanding, both of which you clearly lack. I hope your children never end up with any kind of life-threatening condition until they’re old enough to take care of it themselves!!

  4. Jenny says:

    So the bottom line is your kid has food allergies and you want everyone else to accommodate to him. I am sorry that your kid has food allergies and I hope that his allergies get better in time but your allergies really shouldn’t be affecting others. Of course reasonable accommodations should be made as with anything in life but expecting the entire classroom to give up food is pretty demanding and not very realistic in real life.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I love the “your allergies shouldn’t be affecting others” crap, when the “effect” for others is that they have to forego having something for a few hours a day. Heaven forbid we should be inconvenienced in ANY way if it means a kid doesn’t die.

      Yet, over and over we’re told that we HAVE to repeatedly inject materials that have the potential to not only permanently damage our kids’ immune, neurological, and endocrine systems with no discernible benefit to THEM, but may also KILL them, all so that they will SLIGHTLY reduce the possibility of transmission of some infectious disease to the immunocompromised. And the fascinating thing is that it’s often the same people who say both things and don’t see the inherent hypocrisy.

      Me? I’m all FOR saving kids’ lives if it isn’t going to endanger my kids. Refrain from peanut butter? Hell, yes! Despite the fact that my kids are vegetarians who love peanut butter with all their being. But I will NOT inject them with something that provides little-to-no benefit to them while posing huge potential risks to the recipients (including anaphylactic allergies, ironically enough).

  5. Katie says:

    You call the woman of this article you are writing about selfish but really you are just as selfish if not more . Because from the other point of view why should 29 children in a classroom suffer because one child has allergies? Ever think of that? So yes you are actually the selfish one.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’m sorry, Katie, but to equate the “suffering” of NOT eating a peanut butter sandwich, with the suffering of throat closing, stabbing of an EpiPen, trip to the Emergency Room, and very real possibility of death is simply ridiculous. I ask you how would you feel if your child’s peanut butter sandwich caused a classmate’s death? Would you still think of the classmate’s parent as “selfish”? My kids are vegetarians and HUGE peanut butter addicts, but I would NEVER be selfish enough to risk causing a classmate’s death over a peanut butter sandwich.

      On the other hand, I think we should all be aware of the likely causes of anaphylactic food proteins (did you know that food proteins are frequently contained in vaccines and that injection of those proteins with an adjuvant causes sensitivities which can trigger analyphylaxis on the second exposure?) and demand better answers because children SHOULD be able to eat benign and even beneficial foods without the risk of death.

    • TT says:

      Totally agree! The hypocrisy!

  6. kerri S says:

    I know this is an old post but had to say something. The negative rude comments especially when it involves something that a person has no control over is very disheartening . My daughter is eleven and is already very aware that some adults think she is a pain and should be home schooled, so that their child can have a peanut butter sandwich. That she is a weak/less of a person because she has allergies. How can adults feel that it’s okay to make a kid feel that way over anything let alone food. There are so many types of sandwiches to choose from and healthier too. My child has severe food allergies. She has friends and classmates that won’t eat nuts or peanuts that their parents send into school because they don’t want to hurt their classmate. Its sad when the kids get it more than the adults . The kids don’t feel deprived they feel bad when their mom or dad sends in the school snack or pack lunch containing food that they know someone can die from. The allergic kids feel left out way more than a kid who can’t bring a peanut butter sandwich. Just to name one, some families don’t invite kids to parties or playdates as it stresses them out to have someone with food allergies there.
    My child knows not to just ask she checks her own labels. We have had several adults tell her something is fine when it is not “especially grandmas”.Things like break the cookie open and say look no nuts and oh i’m sure its fine honey. Elementary age kids need as much help as they can get as it can be very confusing, yes as they get older it is more on them but sometimes they need help and reliable help at that . Would be nice to know that people care enough to look out for them no one is asking you never to eat those foods just not around severely allergic kids. When did we forget kids are kids, kids make mistakes, just wanted to taste a tiny bit of chocolate,didn’t want to ask, forgot, had something like that before (not same brand), couldn’t get the adults attention to ask. Some kids are to shy to ask for help or even tell someone that they are having an allergic reaction because they don’t want to bring attention to themselves. Kids don’t always remember their last reaction as it was a long time ago and mom, dad etc have been able to avoid another reaction, so sometimes kids don’t even know till they try it again that they are going to have such a severe reaction. This happened to my daughter she was a baby when she had her first reaction the 2nd one was when she sneaked a bite of a friends Pb sandwich right before we left the park. The really scary part is she didn’t tell me she was having a reaction because she thought she would be in trouble. I happened to look in the car rear view mirror and saw her face swelling up! Stop making kids with allergies feel like they are an inconvenience it should be no big deal to work around allergies it’s not rocket science it’s mostly commonsense it’s not special treatment we should all be looking out for each other. If someones kid is about to run out in front of a car we’re not going to watch and say that kids parents should have taught him better about running into the street. Their kids, we as parents should get that and look out for each other not make it harder.

  7. My problem says:

    Well over a decade ago my 18-month-old had to be pumped full of adrenaline and enjoy and ambulance ride and prolonged hospitality of the intensive care unit, as a consequence of ingesting a nut. This led to the discovery of a number of other allergies, and we have been living with the resulting cloud over our heads ever since.

    During that time the key lesson we have been teaching to our pride and joy is “Your problems are yours and yours alone: learn to deal with them yourself as best you can, without expecting anyone else to look out for you”.

    Apart from not wanting to burden others with our problems, we think it is very important that the child learn that the buck stops with number one: you cannot (realistically!) expect your environment to adapt itself to your specific needs throughout your whole long and happy life, so learn to anticipate and deal with your problems ON YOUR OWN. The sooner and the more effectively this lesson is learned the better. As a parent of an allergic child you are doing your bundle of joy a disservice by expecting those around you to adapt to your child, rather than the other way around.

    In short, as a parent of a child with life-threatening allergies, I comepletely disagree with you.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      You’re certainly welcome to disagree, but as far as The Thinking Moms are concerned, we believe “we belong to each other” as Glennon Doyle Melton says, and we will do what we can to make others’ lives easier so that they DON’T believe that they have to do EVERYTHING “on their own.” This website is BUILT on the premise that burdens lessen when they are shared, and knowledge grows when it is.

      • My problem says:

        Dont get me wrong: I’m all for cooperation and sharing, and strongly promote it. I teach my kids to share, to cooperate and to help others spontaneously. But I also teach them not to RELY on or DEMAND others’ help and generosity, and to be able to cope in the absence of others’ help, to the maximum extent possible.

        That is why am in favour of societies (or communities) with strong social safety nets, while never intending to make use of them myself. I demand generosity of myself towards others, but not vice versa. (This is, perhaps, where our philosophies are most at odds.)

        As a partent of a child with a life-threatening nut allergy, I find it absurd that others should be prevented from enjoying nuts, bringing them to my child’s school, or serving them at a birthday party which my child attends. I certainly wouldn’t ask this of anyone, and it irks me when it is done on my behalf.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        If a child could die by inhaling a nut, it’s not “absurd” to prevent them being in the room.

        A parent cannot compel others to be compassionate, they can only ask. Fortunately, administrators, etc. often ARE.

        You sound a lot like the person I used to be, and one thing I’ve learned in recent years that a person who only gives and doesn’t give others a chance to give back is not really giving. “Interdependence” is only real if there is a balance between giving and receiving, and that has nothing to do with “demanding” anything from others.

  8. Val says:

    I empathize with mothers that have kids with food allergies. Although my kids don’t have them, it’s always a concern (some of those reactions are beyond scary and I would never want that to happen to anyone let alone a child). With that said, I found this blog because I was looking for some ideas for Halloween parties in terms of food. I don’t have an official class allergy list yet; but i would like to think moms w kids w food allergies have great ideas and are great sources of information on this topic. Any information you could give me in terms of food or snacks would be great.

  9. Suzanne Marcus says:

    While I do sympathize with you about your kid having to deal with potential life threatening allergies, you are being a bit obnoxious. It IS a priority to ensure safety for all children, AND it is freaking annoying that entire schools have to tip-toe around and omit highly nutritious snacks and lunches to accommodate a minuscule number of children. What if my child NEEDS a nut/dairy/whatever food because it provides optimum nutrition to combat a medical issue? SOL because we have to revolve our lunches around what you kid can and cannot tolerate. What is your “snowflake” -as you put it- going to do when he/she enters the work force?

    • Tl says:

      I agree with you sister! These food allergies moms are OBNOXIOUS!! Why were there no allergies in the 80’s and 90’s? Now it’s the popular thing to say”I’m allergic “. While I’m sure a few people are allergic the most it’s a status symbol. Why should a whole school bend to YOUR needs? Tell your kid to keep his little grubby ALLERGIC hands to himself.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Great question! Why WERE there no food allergies in the ’80s and ’90s? (By the way, there were some, they just weren’t off the charts the way they are now.) The reason ISN’T because it’s “popular” to “say I’m allergic” and will yourself into an anaphylactic reaction that comes close to killing you if you don’t carry an Epipen. The main reason is because, just like Nobel Prize winner Charles Richet described in the early 20th century, an injected substance can sensitize the body to that substance, causing the cascade of immune reactions we call anaphylaxis when the body next encounters that substance. We inject gazillions of substances these days in an amped up vaccine schedule that isn’t safe for any child, much less every child. Check the ingredients. You’ll find proteins from most of the common food allergies listed in the ingredients. The substance doesn’t even have to be IN the shot, as long as it’s in the bloodstream when molecules from aluminum adjuvants reach them. In addition, the vaccines tip the immune system into “atopy,” a tendency toward allergy. If someone has a few rounds of antibiotics, their gut bacteria, and therefore their gut lining, has been destroyed making it easy for large food proteins to enter the bloodstream looking like “intruders” that the immune system will then create antibodies too.

        Lucky for YOU and your child, your child’s immune response isn’t as strong as the response of children who become allergic. Others are not nearly as lucky, and an elementary school lunchroom can be their literal destruction. But don’t let that stop you from hating on the kids or their parents. What’s a dead child more or less? (Just in case anyone is reading and wants to jump on that, yes, that WAS sarcasm.)

      • Tl says:

        Well like I said in my original post, teach your “allergy kid” to keep his/her hands to themselves. And btw that is THE KOOKIEST far fetched answer on why more people report having allergies! You should be more concerned about the growing number of people who don’t get vaccinated, then they cry when their child gets whooping cough or measles. Get a new hobby, other than micromanaging your child’s school. I’m sure your a real ray of sunshine to sit next to at a field trip or PTA meeting 😆🙃

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        “Kooky” and “far-fetched” you may call it, but it is the exact mechanism that created anaphylaxis in the first place, as reported by its creator, Nobel Prize winner Charles Richet. I’ve read the science, and it’s damning. I am not in the least concerned with the growing number of people who don’t get vaccinated. I know no one who does not vaccinate their children who does not understand the risks of whooping cough or measles. But they understand the monumental risks of vaccines these days, and they choose the lower risk for THEIR children. They would MUCH prefer the measles or chicken pox over anaphylactic food allergies and autism, or even the short-term hacking of whooping cough over the long-term breathing difficulties of asthma. All of those things are strongly linked to vaccines, despite all you’ve heard to the contrary. Eventually, the truth will come out, and people will be grateful that we didn’t stop until it was exposed. Until then? We’ll just ignore the people who aren’t ready to hear the truth. You asked why there were “no food allergies” in the ’80s and ’90s, too bad you didn’t want to hear the answer.

        For your information, I do not have a child with a food allergy and do not “micromanage” my children’s schools. However, I do not complain when told, for the sake of the food-allergic children WHO COULD DIE, not to bring certain foods. I’m sure I AM a “real ray of sunshine” on field trips and PTA meetings, especially if being compared to someone like you.

    • Laura says:

      There were allergies in the 80s and 90s. I was born in 1980 and am living proof of that.

      The issue was that in the 80s and 90s most people didn’t believe food allergies were “real”. Kids used to torture me in school by smearing peanut butter on my skin to watch me react. Because school administrators didn’t take it seriously (despite the physical evidence of my hand swelling so badly it was nearly double its size), there were no repercussions.

      People are slowly becoming more aware of allergies today, but there is still a huge stigma attached to it.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        No one said they didn’t exist in the ’80s and ’90s. They just didn’t exist in the NUMBERS they do today. And that is fact, easily verifiable in a number of ways, including by the huge increase in emergency room visits for anaphylaxis. Whether or not your friends took your allergies seriously, if you had a severe reaction that endangered your life you would have been sent to the Emergency Room, as children are today, or you would have died and allergy-related deaths were rare in that era.

        The continuing stigma is apparent by the nastiness inherent in many of the comments. (We don’t approve most of them, but you can get a taste by reading this thread.)

    • TT says:

      Amen! I was given an “approved” list of foods for my kids and all the nut free, organic allergy approved items (all of which HAD to be a specific brand) for snack time were SO expensive and limiting, half the time my kids didn’t even want snack because they got tired of carrots and crackers every day.

  10. allergy momma says:

    My kids have allergies to artificial dyes. Heres’s the reality- their day, their way. Period. It should not be demanded that everyone be catered to because of whatever. It’s not possible. i have always kept cupcakes (which are popular party fare it seems) they CAN have in the freezer. parties are not issue as I just pack it up and go. I’ve never had one mom bend out of shape over it when I have to say “due to allergies I brought a cupcake for my child to use when you do cake so they can still celebrate your childs day”. I would NEVER be rude enough to demand they get a cake to cater to us. My kids also KNOW to ask if in doubt and if no label to check on some things to just politely say “no thank you” without making an issue out of it. Demanding someone else cater around you because your kids have issues or allergies isn’t right. We are in groups with the no nut kids and other things and honestly, I cannot and will not cater any further allergy wise beyond my own two as so much has been eliminated all ready as a result from their own issues. It’s not lack of sympathy but if I did we would be reduced to water and surely there would be some wacko screaming it wasn’t the right brand or what the bottle was made of or something even then. It’s just getting ridiculous in society. When learning my kids had allergies (one of them a double allergy) it wasn’t “ok world cater to us” it was “ok, we have this, let’s find out what we have to do or not do and learn to accomodate ourselves without being the in your face cater to my child regardless of how it messes you or someone else up” approach. Yes, some allergies are serious but even if not it’s about teaching the allergy and self care and not expecting care and accomodation. In adult world it won’t happen and kids need to learn how to navigate and deal now. Disappointed now and then? been there and done that but that too is part of life and tying it all up in some cute easy package and demanding it be done for your kid all the time is teaching them entitlement and not learning to cope with disappointment or the occassional miss out now and then.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I don’t think anyone has suggested demanding someone “get a cake” to cater to them. But what you’re saying is that if your kid is not allergic to peanuts you would continue to pack peanut butter sandwiches even if their best friend was anaphylactic to peanuts because you won’t “cater” allergy-wise beyond your own two. There’s a difference between “catering” and acknowledging the reality that we have made peanuts (and other foods) deadly to a large number of children.

      • allergy mom says:

        no, but this is how the peanut allergy crowd over reacts. “you need this and can’t do that because my kid can’t have it”. The bottom line is, most parents that go into this “hypochondriac” mode over an allergy are letting it rule their life instead of learning to manage it.
        Yeah, when I already have two kids with allergy issues that restrict their food choices considerably as a result I am damn sure NOT catering to someone else’s list because their kid has some allergy. I have enough of a time managing my own without someone else who I don’t even barely know or see that much to take that on temporary or not. It would literally remove everything from the list but water so how fair would that be “here’s your water honey but you can’t have food because your allergies and we have to cater to everyone else’s allergies too and it eliminates everything even though you aren’t the one with the other situaitons”. NO, sorry. NOT REASONABLE OR FAIR to those in situations like mine. It is especially gauling when I, like someone else here has said that peanut kids get all the bans, all the catering and all the fuss to ban their stuff on everyone else and the kids with dairy, artificial dye allergies (which for your information can be every bit as life threatening in some kids as a stupid peanut), wheat, soy etc… go “well you’ll have to accomodate yourself” route and nothing changes for them. Either treat ALL the same or NONE get special treatment. The bottom line is where lunches are concerned, smell doesn’t kill anyone. It’s a hysteria over it that blows it out of proportion in many cases. Unless the kid has parents who never taught them manners about eating or swaping with other peoples food and not to eat what they aren’t sure is safe (which IMHO is a parenting issue not an allergy issue per say) then you could have 50 kids with severe allergies and stick a jar of peanut butter in the room and not one of them (unless they eat it) is going to drop dead. The mortality rate in food situations is so low that you have a better shot at getting run over by a bus or being in a plane crash.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        The bottom line is you want to believe that your actions cannot have any effect on someone else’s life and that’s simply not true. I’m sorry you and your kids have a difficult time of it, but that doesn’t mean you know what the deal is for anyone else’s kids. I have friends whose kids have come very close to death multiple times. While *I* am many times more likely to be killed in a bus or plane crash, those children are not.

      • Stressedoutbyallergicmoms says:

        But I have met a mom with an allergic kid demanding that a private party catered to her child’s needs. This mom even ‘volunteered’ to be the gate keeper, like literally standing by the door, to the class on party day to check on the food kids bring to ensure there were proper labels. And when suggested that while the class could try to be mindful about the allergies, we still worry about cross contamination and perhaps it was best she prepared some food for her kid, she retorted that we should include her kid in the party and that she we should take pictures of food labels so she could go through them. Everyone was polite enough not to say anything out right, perhaps not wanting to aggravate the situation. It’s not a lack of compassion for the kid, it’s really about what did we do that this mom became so demanding even when we tried our best. I’m really curious about why allergic moms thing this is tolerable and understandable. And it is a good value to pass down to your allergic kid, demand to not bring your own food, but make everyone agree to let you check their food labels.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        “Allergy moms” don’t think that kind of behavior is acceptable, even the ones who have been to the ER several times in the past few months. THAT mother did it. There are jerks in absolutely every sector of society. “Allergy moms” is no exception. Though you might want to ASK that mom how many times her child has been in the ER fighting for breath before you leap to judgment.

      • Stressedoutbyallergicmom says:

        Is it acceptable to ask? I’m really stressed out by this mom. I don’t know what is right and what is not right to ask. and yes, thanks for pointing it out, ‘allergy mom’ not allergic mom. I don’t wish to judge…really but this mom did say that she didn’t want her kid to not partake food in a party. her kid is entitled to partake any party food without feeling any different to other children. I went out to make sure all food I made were approved by this mom. I want her kid to feel included but when she made us all give her a menu and made us all take pictures of the ingredients we use to make dairy-free and nut-free party food for the class…I have to admit I feel a little flabbergasted and yes, really stressed out. I propose no sharing of foods for the next party. But that suggestion wasn’t taken up by her. I don’t want her to feel discriminated. But at the same time, is it okay for me to feel a little taken advantage of?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Certainly it is. You were taken advantage of. It’s one thing to make sure that her child has party food and another thing to make sure that all party food is okay for her child. Yes, it’s great for others to be sensitive to the needs of a child with allergies, but it’s crazy for her to expect that her child will not feel different from the other children. Severe food allergies DO set children apart. That’s reality. There’s no getting away from that. Mothers of children with autism don’t go around demanding that child’s classmates only have gluten-free, casein-free food at their parties so they don’t feel different because that’s not a reasonable thing to expect of someone. If someone wants to offer it because they want the child to be able to relax once in awhile, that’s a whole other story.

      • Stressedoutbyallergicmom says:

        I’m sorry i think I was repetitive in my previous reply. It’s okay if you don’t want to post it. But I really want to know

        Is it really okay to ask such a mom about the number of times her child was in the ER for anaphylactic attacks? She sent us three of the same letters over a span of 20 weeks that her child was ‘medically diagnosed’ as allergic to nuts and dairy. I worry I might come across as being insensitive.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        If you are asking out of judgment, that would be insensitive. But if you are asking out of concern, because you want to understand what life can be like for a child who could stop breathing because of an encounter with a little peanut oil, then the mom will probably be grateful to be able to talk about it. It can be a tremendous burden to have to always be vigilant.

  11. Jenni says:

    I grew up fatally allergic to all nuts(definitely peanuts and hazelnuts. Too scared to test for the rest). This was before rippers were even invented. I carried a syringe I was taught, at 4 years old, to inject myself when having a reaction. I was the only child in my school who had an allergy. I ate in the nurses office every day because peanut butter was everywhere at lunch and I would have a reaction just from the smell. I ever had a slice of birthday cake. My mom didn’t even pack me my own cupcake. I never cared. I was taught to ask about ingredients and take care of myself. My parents never really had to worry because they had taught me properly.
    I am now a mother of 3 children. They are all pretty much allergy free. My middle child looked like he might have a nut allergy for a couple of years but turned out fine.
    so as someone who has had these fatal allergies and has kids I don’t feel bad about being really annoyed and actually in shock about how entitled I find parents with allergic kids to be. Teach your kids. Don’t let them go anywhere you think they may be in danger. But don’t put their safety on me.
    I knew, as an allergic child I couldn’t do whatever I wanted. I had to protect myself always. But my parents gave me the tools. Give your kids the tools and suck it up. Seriously. If your kids diabetic, which I also am, are u going to tell the party to have no sugar. You should grow up but more importantly you have a responsibility to teach you kid to grow up.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Just because you had a particular experience and you turned out fine doesn’t mean that your experience is applicable to everyone. How many others like you ended up in the emergency room — or dead — because they may have been too shy to ask or because someone they asked was clueless or lying (because they were thinking, seriously, how could someone DIE from a taste of peanut?)? I can understand being annoyed that children with the same issue you had get more consideration today than you did and may get to participate more. I have been known to find it “annoying” that I had to “suck it up” and sit in smoke-filled rooms throughout much of my childhood, even though they were making me sick, but NOW people have banned indoor smoking in lots of places and children like me aren’t made sick. I don’t, however, think such consideration is a bad thing.

      “Entitled” is one of those interesting, judgment-charged words that is absolutely associated with your viewpoint. Who is “entitled” in the above example, the smokers or the non-smokers? Should smokers be able to smoke wherever they like? Or should it matter that their choice to smoke has a direct effect on the health of others? Often, the same people who think that it’s “entitlement” to send your child to a classroom where things that could kill them have been banned also think that it’s “entitlement” to send an unvaccinated child to a public school and that it’s perfectly okay to compel others to sacrifice their children’s health to vaccines in order to “protect” their own children. Is it a pain in the butt to have to avoid peanut butter in a classroom? Yes. Is it going to harm anyone who does so? No. Never. Is it a pain in the butt to have to think about who might be susceptible to chickenpox when someone comes down with a case in the classroom (and someone always will, no matter how big the percentage of children vaccinated because the vaccine isn’t 100% and more people have shingles today than ever, and a person with shingles can give others chickenpox)? Yes, it is. But would it cause harm at least to some to insist that everyone be vaccinated? You bet your sweet bippy it would. So what’s really “entitlement”?

      • j says:

        you’re right. i was being very insensitive, used unnecesaary inflamatory and hurtful language and i apologize. I understand how scary it is and i am usually more sensitive. I of course want to help however/whenever i can. I’m not sure what i was thinking about speaking out like that. my apologies.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        For what it’s worth, I’m glad you survived the difficult circumstances of your childhood so well. 🙂

      • J says:

        Shame on you. Being sensitive before smell, to smell, to touch, to ingestion, are all different things and must be dealt with differently. I suggest banning all food items falling under the first two, even if that means sending all kids home for lunch. As someone who has dealt with all these forms of allergies personally, and has a cousin more sensitive, I find it silly and shameful the flame war here when it is so simple: If the child has a chance of avoiding, do not ban. If he/she does not, ban. You are nit picking a comment over it’s emotiobal language when the core of it is more rational than any of the either-or crap here.

        How about we just send all kids home for lunch? It’s been shown to be healthier anyway. 🙂

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I have no idea what your “shame on you” is about. I’M “nit picking a comment over its emotional language” when YOU’RE saying “shame on you”? You talk about “silly and shameful” “flame wars” when no one is disagreeing with your main point. Obviously, smelling, touching, and ingestion are different things to be handled differently. And schools don’t ban the vast majority of things that can cause nasty reactions if they are ingested, including sugar for type 1 diabetics. But when ingestion of something can be fatal and can easily be a hidden ingredient in many foods, that’s often accompanied by a smell sensitivity as well. Of course, if a child can RELIABLY avoid, then a ban is unnecessary (and doesn’t occur), but we have seen a number of incidents in schools in recent years that make it clear that RELIABLY avoiding peanuts is not an option for many children. No one is advocating the banning of all foods that children can be and are allergic to in a school setting. So the “either-or crap” is in your mind.

        And I don’t know about what it’s like where you are, but in rural areas where kids are bused many miles to school and in urban areas where kids often go to schools that are all the way across the district, AND most kids have both parents working, there is nothing the slightest bit practical about “sending a kids home for lunch.”

  12. Allergy mom of two says:

    I’m an allergy mom too and I find this rant pathetic. Teaching kids self advocacy on their allergies not forbidding everyone else from existing. I would no more tell kids they can’t or should give an alternative for my kid than I would in reverse. Are we going to ban perfume and cologne for asthma kids? Smoking which also triggers it and is just as deadly over time? Get off the high horse honey and teach kids to keep their hands out of others eats and how to check labels and ask if not sure. Forbidding the rest of the world from celebrating a birthday or whatever to cater your child is WRONG. I have dealt with allergies in two kids for a long while now and I would NEVER have this kind of most to go off that way. I’ve always sent in a cupcake they can have to parties and not one host has ever been snide about it when I tell them “we have food allergies so would you mind if I send in a cupcake my child will be able to eat when you serve the cake?” And they all understand. It’s seriously easier to teach advocacy and about the allergies to kids as young as possible than to be the biotch mom ruining things for everyone else.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Wow. You’re an “allergy mom”? Would your child die if he/she encountered a peanut? If not, then being an “allergy mom” is hardly an equivalent experience is it? “Teaching kids self advocacy” isn’t going to do any good if your four-year-old dies from a taste of a peanut butter cupcake. Your attitude is extremely harsh and judgmental. Most of the people I know who have children who have anaphylactic reactions to peanuts are traumatized in a a way that the average parent can’t even imagine. The closest equivalent is the autism parent whose child “bolts” whenever a sensory stimulus gets to be too much. They tend to be hypervigilant and suffer from PTSD.

      I’m an “allergy person.” I’ve had asthma for about 40 years, and I am extremely allergic to cats, and slightly less allergic to a host of other things. Not in anywhere near the same category as children who could die from a small exposure to peanut, but I would LOVE it if people were considerate about bringing their pets on public transportation. People were not particularly considerate when I was growing up. Many people still thought asthma was “all in your mind” rather than an allergic autoimmune reaction. They used to laugh and say horrid things when I was gasping for breath. No one seemed to think it important to refrain from smoking. People are far more understanding now because there are so many more people with asthma than there were, and smoking IS banned in public places in many parts of the country partly BECAUSE of the many people who are allergic to it. Public buildings in New York are MUCH more pleasant places to be now. Understanding and empathy go a long way toward making the country livable for everyone.

      And why does “celebration” of a birthday have to involve lots of sugary food? Especially as children will in all likelihood be “celebrating” that way at home with their families? My kids aren’t “allergy kids” but I sure wish their schools DIDN’T have so many birthday celebrations involving sugary cakes and bags of dye-filled candy.

      • allergy mom says:

        yeah. I’m an ALLERGY MOM. My kids aren’t nut allergies but they have food allergies. I don’t teach entitlement because they have an allergy, I teach them that life isn’t all about them. I don’t cater at my kids celebrations. I don’t expect it going to other peoples. We’ve done it for six years now and guess what? they are still alive and healthy and don’t feel deprived from it….

  13. chrissy says:

    Just have to say. I find it unfair to the rest of the kids that love love love peanuts and peanut butter and because of 1 kids can no longer eat it or even have it in the same building as the allergic kids. In my opinion all the kids with allergies should just get there own groups and thing so that 1 doesn’t ruin it for the rest. Yup I have been a daycare teacher for a long time seen thus happen over and over. Just rediculous.yup that’s what they call segregation.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      It may indeed be “unfair” to the children who love peanuts if they can’t have them (that includes my two children by the way) because of children who are allergic. But you won’t hear me complaining about having to go “nutless” in some places for that reason. Perhaps because of my own severe cat allergies, I’m well aware how very “unfair” it is that there are children could DIE simply from inhaling my child’s lunch, when my child does not share that risk. If you are going to look at “fairness,” you should really look at it from all sides.

      • allergy mom says:

        NO ONE IS GOING TO DIE FROM SMELL! It has to be INGESTED as in EATEN to trigger reaction. Proof? 30 kids in a group we are part of. 6 of them ate PB&J in the same space with a nut allergy kid who has a mom going off “don’t even say peanut they will die” type hysteria. Guess what? NO REACTION and the kids all ran and played and went home giggly and fine. It is parents who can sometimes over react and go into panic mode beyond what it may really be in severity. YES there are different reactions to stuff and I have no doubt anaphylaxis is a real thing for some kids due to seafood, nuts or other things, however, the hysteria created at times by some parents I honestly think is for drama effect to get their own way and blowing things out of proportion at times. It doesn’t mean every case is but being honest, the majority of them I have known are.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Oh, well, then. I guess we should all take YOUR word for it that no one is going to die from inhalation of allergens because one kid you know didn’t die one day. I guess actual scientific data on people who HAVE died or who COULD die from inhalation won’t mean anything to you because you’ve made up your mind, but as it’s extremely dangerous to some individuals if you get other people to believe it I’ll provide some anyway: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651849/

        “While much focus has been given to food hypersensitivity reactions following oral ingestion, reactions by skin contact and inhalation have slowly gained interest. Food allergy by the non-ingestant route is probably under-recognized and under-reported. This review provides a summary of the relevant studies and selected case reports on food allergy by inhalation and suggestions for management.”

  14. Skye says:

    Our preschool has solved this issue once & for all. Only cupcakes can be brought in for birthdays as the school isn’t allowed to cut a large cake up (due to the food service laws stating that because they don’t have a commercial kitchen they can’t do food prep, which includes cutting a cake).

    The kids with allergies (as well as the vegan kid) take a container of cupcakes to preschool at the start of each term & they are kept in the freezer. When someone brings cupcakes in for their birthday the allergy kids (one of which is my kid) can have one of their allergy-friendly cupcakes. That way birthdays can still be celebrated & no one feels left out!

  15. Eleanor says:

    I personally think banning peanuts in all but preschools is over the top. My views were solidified after reading this article on NPRs website. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2010/11/12/131279854/allergy-expert-says-peanut-bans-are-an-overreaction-to-food-allergies
    The truth is the number of people who die from a food allergies are incredibly incredibly low. The CDCs reports are as low as 14 cases a year.

    • Skye says:

      I am really angry about the nut ban at our preschool. There are NO CHILDREN with nut allergies in the school but there are 5 children with other allergies (mine included) however the school won’t even consider banning the foods that these kids are allergic to.

      My child is allergic to wheat but she won’t die from it so it really isn’t a huge problem, but one of the little girls is allergic to strawberries & could die if she eats them (throat & tongue swell, she goes blue, very scary)…the school won’t even discuss banning strawberries but if you dare send a peanut butter sandwich they will not only call you to bring a new sandwich, they will write your name on the whiteboard & shame you to the other parents!

      A little common sense needs to be exercised here. If you have a child with a nut allergy then sure, ban the nuts, but if you don’t then why ban them but not other foods that could very well kill a kid in your care if she eats them?????

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        *sigh* You are right. Common sense seems to be missing in many areas these days. Having an unnecessary nut ban while there are children who can die from reactions to other foods makes no sense whatsoever.

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  17. Gropula says:

    No, it’s not the allergy itself that annoys people. It’s the self-righteousness and victim complex that does. Also the attitude many yuppie moms have where they think literally everything they do is brave and revolutionary.

    Personally, I feel for the kid’s with allergies. Not only do they miss out on some foods, but their parents are often the most neurotic people you’ll ever meet.

    Willing to bet most people get off on the wrong foot immediately with how they approach other parents to discuss this issue.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      “Self-righteousness and victim complex”? “The attitude many yuppie moms have where they think literally everything they do is brave and revolutionary”? “Their parents are often the most neurotic people you’ll ever meet”? Wow, I have seldom seen such a judgmental comment, and that’s REALLY saying something.

      I’m wondering just who is “getting off on the wrong foot.”

      By the way, you might find yourself just a shade “neurotic,” too, if your child, like that of a friend of mine, had had five anaphylactic episodes, all of which sent him to the emergency room and any one of which could kill him, in the last two years.

    • allergy mom says:

      AMEN! Agree 100%

      • allergy mom says:

        Professor- you are the “cater to me and you have to deprive everything to you because I can’t” type whiner that the rest of us are sick of listening to. Until you actually have kids with allergies and deal with the ramifications day to day and see that having to cater to the rest of the world is not feasible in a situation that some people face as a result of already dealing with things then SHUT UP. I checked my information with an actual MD who has a kid of their own with a peanut allergy. No one dies from smell. The reality is people let the allergy control them instead of learning to deal with it and by deal with it that does NOT mean expecting the rest of the world to live as if they are allergic if they aren’t. Real world- colleges, employers and the rest of the world sure as heck isn’t going to and setting up that expectation as kids is setting them up for a huge issue later in more ways than an allergy.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Actually, no, allergy mom. My kids don’t have any issues that I ask ANYONE to “cater” to at all. So you’re barking up the wrong tree entirely. “Until you have kids with allergies and deal with the ramifications all day long then SHUT UP.” Seriously? That’s exactly what the so-called “whiners” you’re talking about ARE. Wow, an actual MD told you something. I’m guessing you didn’t read the post I did where someone asked what was the most ridiculous thing an MD ever told you. Suffice it to say there were hundreds of comments with stunningly inaccurate statement after stunningly inaccurate statement. Sorry, but your MD was flat wrong. You don’t want to believe it, so it isn’t true. Only that’s not the way it works. The truth doesn’t care whether you believe it or not.

  18. Ave says:

    Thank you Zorro Mom!! Thank God I came across with your article when I was looking for cupcakes decoration ideas for my toddler’s next birthday, which I’m planning to celebrate it at his daycare classroom. But now reading your experience with allergies and the life-threatening it is for several kids I will do something different and talk to the teacher and the person in charge of the kitchen to see other options. Thank God my son, as of today, have not got any food allergies, but I’m in alert.
    I support you and all the moms dealing with food allergies for their kids. Tk’s!

  19. B Gregory says:

    Pharmaceuticals are the most probably cause of these serious food allergies. Vaccinations can have a mixture of food oils in them that have a trace amount of food protein. The FDA allows pharmaceutical companies to self affirm Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) ingredients and nothing gets submitted to the government and these ingredients become trade secrets protected by international law. Even the FDA doesn’t know what is in the vaccines. Soy, casein (milk), beef serum are even listed on some of the package inserts. There is a trace amount of protein in the oil. When it is injected along with an aluminum adjuvant, the body is super sensitive to any protein in the shot. And it is not just vaccines. Any injected pharmaceutical product can have unlisted ingredients.

  20. Linda says:

    Bravo Zorro! (giving you a standing ovation here!) So tired of idiot parents who cant even for a second THINK about things from ‘the other point of view’. Thank you for this post, am sharing it.

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  22. A says:

    Consider reading the book GUT and Psychology syndrome by Natasha Campell Mcbride to cure your child from allergies. It works!! GAPS diet is wonderful and healing!

  23. DeAnn says:

    As a teacher I am happy that the birthday parties are gone. There are, however, families that can’t afford anything other that pb&j for lunch. Not everyone who has problems with a food ban is an entitled jack hole. Particularly in this economy there are a lot of families who didn’t ask for poverty. Those kids live that every day just like a kid with allergies. There are other solutions that are more flexible than outright bans on whole food groups. This article call for compassion. If would be nice if the writer could show some herself.

    • The author of the article more than clearly stated her problem was with people who treated her children’s food allergies as a “damper on their fun”. Who acted as though they were inconvenienced by them. I didn’t see her attack or marginalize anyone who couldn’t afford to feed their children anything but peanut butter & jelly. I think that’s a bit of a reach.

      If it’s either ban the food or risk a child dying from exposure, banning the food may be the only option. The only other solution may be to segregate food-allergic kids into a separate room or cafeteria, but that would only make them more of a target for bullies.

      There’s a much larger issue here. I think what we need to look at is why so many children are food-allergic now. Could it be excessive pesticide use and synthetic chemical exposure is destroying the digestion of little ones before they’re even born?

    • allergy mom says:


    • TT says:

      De Ann! Amen!

  24. I can’t tell you how much I love, love, LOVE this post! I’ve been gluten free for over 12 years now due to gluten sensitivity. I’m lucky. I don’t have such a severe allergic reaction it puts my life in immediate danger. Many people, including an incredible amount of children, do.

    If a grown woman actually stamps her foot because she can’t have her way, that’s a sign of emotional immaturity. It’s nothing to do with you.

    There NEEDS to be so much more education about this incredibly important topic. Food can nourish but it can also kill. The “food allergy hate” needs to go away yesterday.

    I can’t image what you go through everyday but bless you for doing it. Your children are so lucky to have you as their Mom.

  25. While my children do not have allergies, we respect our schools’ rules and do not send in peanut or nut products. My Kindergarten-aged child isn’t allowed to bring anything with nuts (there’s an allergic child) or bananas (another child is allergic). My toddler’s preschool is nut-free also. And we respect it. I’m teaching my kids that if someone is allergic to a food, you make sure you don’t bring it to school. I did a fun party for my daughter’s class and instead of baking, I brought in an approved snack that wasn’t full of sugar. We made it about the content, not the sweets. There is NO other choice. I’ve seen first hand how dangerous food allergies can be and I’d rather be compliant than cause anyone to have a reaction because of something I sent to school. I support you, Zorro.

  26. Annie says:

    I made the mistake of reading the article on Huffington, and yeah, Mama bear is roaring. Thank you for your response. My youngest two sons have severe life-threatening food allergies. Just 4 days ago we were in the ER with our almost 2 yr old because he got a tiny piece of Reese’ s. He spit it out immediately, but started swelling. We didn’t choose this for our children. Even before these two previous boys, I never would have scoffed at safety precautions. A stupid treat is not worth the stress and danger!

  27. ProfessorTMR says:

    Wow, Mr. Hawk. If you’re “sympathetic to the problem,” it’s hard to imagine what UNsympathetic would look like. I’m approving THIS comment because it’s the least nasty of the ones you’ve submitted. You made some key points. When you were growing up there were a FEW kids in your neighborhood with food allergies. That’s not the case today. Food allergies have increased astronomically in recent years to the point where there isn’t a school that doesn’t have a number of children with severe allergies. The other thing you don’t mention is what happened to those children when they were around your awesome peanut butter. The fact is that children (and adults) can DIE as a result of inhaling YOUR peanut butter sandwich. Believe me, the parent of a child with an anaphylactic allergy is already bearing a responsibility you can’t even imagine.

    YOUR “lifestyle” could involve heavy smoking in public places. Smoking has been shown to cause lung cancer among a number of other nasty medical conditions. Before municipalities began outlawing smoking in public places, it was already considerate to refrain from doing so around people who did NOT want to breathe in YOUR cancer risk. So while “we are all free in this country,” we are NOT free to inflict harm onto innocent bystanders. Your right to eat a cupcake in school doesn’t beat another child’s right to not DIE because of it. God forbid, a child should have to carry the weight of knowing that his/her mother’s insistence on serving cupcakes killed a classmate.

    • Cathy says:

      EXACTLY! Having been reprimanded for asking that peanuts are not handed out to my highly allergic daughter, then told that I was a bad mom fr trying to pass my responsibility on to others, I cannot tell you how galling it it to hear people whine about my child’s right to live as interfering with their child’s “right” to have cupcakes.

      Thank you for these responses.

  28. Lyz says:

    The temporary tattoos you suggest as an alternative… are made with food dyes. So are play-doh, chalk, non-toxic markers and fun slime toys.

    Its a myriad of issues.

    I send a bag of treats in monthly for alternatives for my son. But I won’t be able to control it forever.

  29. Karen says:

    Bravo Zorro! I raised 3 allergic daughters and your article says it all.

  30. Wyndie says:

    You are awesome! Thank you so much for writing this!!! You have put into words what so many of us are thinking and feeling and wishing we could so eloquently say!

  31. Nikki says:

    To Cathy#1,
    WTF does being an atheist have to do with that blog writer?! Guess what, there are friendly, loving, compassionate atheists, just as there are nasty, hateful, narcissistic religious people.

  32. Hilda Rendon says:

    Don’t forget the grandparents! We worry every day, and we have eliminated peanuts from our home. We now use Sun butter (fro sunflower seeds). Lucky kids that have so caring parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, and school principals that care and are showing others about sensitivity, acceptance, caring, empathy, love. I am sad for the children who’s mothers are showing them to be intolerant, insensitive, and not allowing them to love their friends as I am sure they would like to be LOVED. Great article, with you all 100%. Shame for the teacher who thought sending the child to the hallway was the answer.

  33. Allergic Student says:

    Thank you for being brave enough to say what many of us were thinking. Schools don’t need sugar-laden snacks at parties. We can do better!

  34. Jennifer says:

    Will be sharing on my FB a Page Healing ADHD & Aspergers without Hurting and my website http://www.healingwithouthurting.com
    Thank you for this great article.

  35. Meagan Schaeffer says:

    To start off I am one off I am (on the side) cake decorator. I do not have any children, but I do have an abundance of special needs kiddos in my life. Some are nieces and nephews that bro and sis adopted and others are autistic children from a old dear friend from high school. I was familiar with how food allergies can bum out these kiddos when all these other kiddos can enjoy these yummy treats and they can’t. So at the request of my friend from high school I attepted to make something allergy free that didn’t look it for her kids graduation party from therapy. I came up with an organic, gluten, nut, dairy, soy, and dye free cake pop with dye free sprinkles. And they were absolutely delicious, and everyone loved them. I haven’t attepted to make them egg free yet but I will give it a go sometime soon. I have often thought about wether they would be something that moms would be interested in buying online. They are incredibly durible and can handle the bumps and bruises of the postal system. My husband and I are thinking about trying a new adventure while we still have no extra mouths to feed but it would be nice to hear from the market I would be trying to reach to see if this is something you would like to purchase. I know my family and friends have been encouraging me to do it because they feel the product is great but they alone can’t pay the bills. 🙂 If you would be interested in a product like this drop me a note if you have time my email is [email protected].

  36. Kristin Shaw says:

    I agree with you 100%. Brava, brava!
    I wrote a counterpoint article for HuffPost called “When Are Cupcakes More Important Than Compassion?” and my answer is: NEVER.

  37. Zorro says:

    In response to the question about essential oils and scented items…I’m very sensitive to smells so my first impulse is to lean toward a no-scent policy if it affects someone in the classroom. That child likely has multiple chemical sensitivity and impaired detoxification and anything that gums up the works and increases the demand on the detox pathways will have negative affect on her ability to think and learn. Sadly, that includes scents in many cases, especially perfumes, but it really, truly can include essential oils.

    I already use unscented everything and get a headache when my next door neighbor loads up her dryer with a bajillion bounce dryer sheets and it vents just across from my kitchen window. So that’s me.

    That said, I am completely sympathetic to your need to use essential oils to calm your child. EOs are wonderful. Perhaps you could reach out to the other mom to see if she’d be willing to investigate the lavender oil you use. Please keep in mind that just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean everyone can tolerate it. You may have to find an alternative strategy for school time and just dose your child as soon as she gets home from school.

    A few things I’ve found helpful include Epsom salt baths, Calm Child, Valerian Super Calm, a weighted vest, heavy work or even just a good walk before school. With my oldest we’d hit the playground and get him on the swing set for 15 minutes before school.

    I really don’t think as parents we’re wimpier or more protective, I think something has happened to this generation of children and they simply can’t cope with the toxic soup we live in. There are more kids with allergies, more kids with vague “issues,” more kids with behavior challenged. I think that one mom is just trying her best for her child. She’s not trying to be a pain. There’s got to be a way for you to find common ground.

    • Kim says:

      Thank you Zorro for the response on my email regarding scented items. And although I do realize and understand that people can have issues with strong scents, this parent does not have any medical diagnosis or anything that really shows that there is a legitimate issue with her child. I actually have done more research and have more documentation from my daughter’s support team (pediatrician, BS, PCA, her other doctors and therapists) showing how the essential oil has dramatically helped her in the classroom environment with her behavioral issues. So now there is a parent who hasn’t actually done much other but read a bunch of blogs and articles that every average person in the world now writes about how bad everything is these days for our kids and how strong scents can be a trigger for behavioral issues and low attention span and now is demanding that no scents be in the classroom including the EO that I use. I know this is off the main topic you wrote about with the food allergies and sensitivities but I still think it is relevant because there are some very uneducated people out there now that again are just reading blogs and post about subjects and self-diagnosing their children with no real medical (whether mainstream or holistic) people involved. I don’t feel that I should have to stop using an EO that I have found very helpful for my daughter and in my opinion is not even that strong of a scent just because some other parent read an article about scents and behavioral issues. It was also suggested that some of the families change their laundry detergent or fabric softer or whatever is causing the scent. I am sorry but I think that is outrageous! And although I agree with you that that mom is trying her best for her child, you neglected to realize the same point holds true for me, I am doing what is best for my child as well! I don’t think in this case the school can pick one side over the other. Just because the other mom says she thinks it helps her child to be scent free I am saying that it helps my child to wear EO’s. The tables are now turned where I am be discriminated against because of something I use and I don’t appreciate it one bit. You say I might have to find an alternative, why me? Again I have done more research and have more documentation then the other mom in this case. She has admitted that she really doesn’t have anything legitimate to go off of so why do I have to change what I am doing? She is just reading and making her own diagnoses. I recommended the other parent buy her child a personal air purifier to wear during school and on the bus and at the after care center since these are all other places her child goes on a daily basis that also have scents that can clearly not be controlled but she has yet to do so and still pushes for the changes from everyone else. I think this is why people sometimes lash out, like the Huffington Post writer in the article in question. I am at my wits end with this other mom, not because I am insensitive about child issues but this mom is very uneducated and is trying to dictate change because of this lack of knowledge. I as an educated mom on my daughter’s special needs issues will not give in on this one and should not be shamed for it. There is not a common ground on this one. She wants nothing with scents in the room and I want my daughter to wear the oil. How is the school supposed to accommodate each request…it is not as easy as just move one child to another room…there is not another room to put one of them in. Just remember when writing so always rememeber there are more then one side to every story, blog, article, post, etc. If the other mom in my situation posts some random blog about me and how insensitive I was for not accommodating her special needs for her child you and the rest of the posters on here would be ripping me apart just like the writer of the original Huffington Post article which is completely unfair. How horrible am I for using a EO that effects another child but does wonders for my child. How dare me ask the other mom to buy an personal air purifier for her child who has issues. These are all the things that I could probably assume would be attacking comments back to me.

      • DeAnn says:

        Unfortunately people usually don’t think t hat there are actually two sides to an issue. I use EO’s all of the time for my whole family and have used them in my classroom during flu season and ISAT testing week. People think that their issue is the only issue. That is my problem with this article.

  38. Jennifer says:

    Your commentary says so many things that I have wanted to say! Very well-written and stated. My son has multiple life-threatening food allergies and thankfully his school does not celebrate birthdays with anything more than singing happy birthday to the child on their day. They also have limited events with food. But, as you know, we are faced with birthday party after party and other events outside of school where food is part of the deal. So, each time, I make a special treat for him and, if having pizza, I make him pizza he can have so he doesn’t feel left out. Birthday parties are supposed to be fun right? Do non-allergy parents understand how “fun” it is to make safe treats and food for EVERY event my child is invited to? Of course we could turn down invitations and sometimes we do but everyone wants their child to be able to have fun and enjoy the same things all their friends are enjoying. Anyway, thanks for your commentary and for being an advocate for kids with food allergies!

  39. Kim says:

    We have a parent who also now does not want little trinkets give out because she doesn’t want her child to touch the dyed plastic made in China or temporary tattoos because they both have ingredients that are know to cause cancer and she also has requested that nothing with scents be in the classroom because she said they are a problem for her child in the learning environment. My daughter herself has some issues and we use lavender oil which has seemed to help calm her throughout the day but the parent has requested that what she calls heavy scented items including detergent and lotions or oils not be allowed. So now something that I have found to help my child is being scrutinized because another mom is saying that her child has a scent sensitivity. It seems that child sensitivities are getting out of control and every mom and dad is requesting special treatment for their kid. Zorro, what would you say to the mom who requested you use a different detergent or lotion for your child/children because the one you are currently using is affecting their child when he/she is in the same classroom as your child? Do you have the same stance as you do for food sensitives or allergies? Would you change your detergent or lotion to accommodate the other child in the class who has a sensitivity?

    • Tonyi says:

      I work for the federal government, we are a fragrance free zone. There are no scents allowed at work, no perfume, candles, or sprays. This is due to the fact that some do not know when to stop, or it is life threatening to others. So, to answer your question, I would stop the lotion if it is really causing someone to have extreme allergies. I completely understand the tattoos and the plastic China toys. Have you heard of and seen the studies of lead in these items?

      • Kim says:

        Tonyi, please see my response to Zorro. There is no evidence of any extreme allergies in the child in question and it is not a lotion I use it is an EO and I do not douse her in it. I do understand no perfume, candles, sprays but what if you would told your detergent was too strong and you need to stop using it or your shampoo had a scent that was too strong…would you just up and change every time you were told to because someone had an issue with it and who really knows if it was legitimate or not. I doubt it! But again instead of anyone suggesting the child wear a personal air purifier it is being suggested that I just stop using the oil that has helped my child tremendously. Don’t you think what you are doing to my daughter and myself is exacting what you are saying the non food allergy families are doing to the food allergy families. Talk about fair, Zorro says that fair is about everyone getting what they need…in my case you are saying my daughter shouldn’t get what she needs because someone else has an issue with it…and just remember not a legitimate issue in my mind at this point. My comment on the tattoos and plastic toys was because Zorro recommended those in her post as alternatives for the food items as school. I was just saying that parents including one at my school are against those items so not likely a good alternative in this day and age either.

  40. Kali says:

    We have a nut free class. It is not hard to check with the mother as to brands and possible recipes that will be safe. Many allergy moms are happy to bring the treat so their child can just be one of the kids, not the allergy kid. My suggestion is that classrooms choose a baker(s) for the year who is willing to do a healthy , safe alternative for the class on celebration day. Or as suggested let’s find alternatives to sugar as a treat.
    Last, to the allergy moms, my 46 year old brother was allergic to 80% of foods as a child, along with severe asthma. We worked very hard to watch what he ate in a much less friendly environment. So, with the help of the rest of us, I hope, your children will, too, survive. He is now a healthy father of four. ( no known allergies in children as of yet). Good luck and people, be compassionate.

  41. What an insensitive article by that mother on Huffington. If she loves making things from scratch, think of this as a new challenge – how to make the “buttery fluffy goodness” you love without the gluten or dairy or eggs. I don’t have many of these allergies but I enjoy making an allergen-free cake for my child’s party because it gives me joy to know that all the kids can enjoy it. Selfish and silly whining if you ask me.

  42. Lisa Garver says:

    Well said. It is fair because it sucks for everybody, until you realize it is really just natures way of forcing us to eat healthier.p.s. She can still make or buy cupcakes that are awesome for most allergies. I dont bake but whole food stores has some of the yummiest vegan cupcakes and they make superb (really no lie) gluten free cupcakes. Learning to use new ingredients could improve her baking skills.But maybe she really isn’t quite the baker after all.

  43. Megan says:

    Love this, but I also love the comments that were on the Huff Post article that totally took Cupcake Mom to task! There are some good people out there! My kid’s school is a 100% no-food celebration school and I applaud our principal for implementing this policy from the start (the building is 6 years old). Her philosophy is kids don’t need food and junk to mark every occasion so there is no food at birthday celebrations or classroom Halloween and Valentine’s Day parties. Games and trinkets only. The kids NEVER complain about the lack of cupcakes or other crap, and it’s not necessarily because of allergies. It’s about being healthy and changing our preconceived notion that all must be celebrated with Betty Crocker.

  44. Kerry J Sellers says:

    YES!!! i want to print this and hang it in EVERY school, doctors office, my front door etc!!! Thank you!! 🙂 xxxx

  45. catrina rousch says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article.

    My poor daughter, who is 12 years old, has been fighting food allergies since she was born. By the grace of God we found out she was ANA to peanuts at the age of 3 years old. I could go on and on how many stupid doctors we went to before we found out she was ANA to penauts. Removing peanuts from her diet helped but always still had tummy issues. Continue to go to doctors since she still had issues but it was not until last year when she was 11 years old we found out she has EoE (Eosinophilic esophagitis disease) along with CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) . Not fun!!

    I can relate so much to people’s attitudes towards my daughter’s peanut allergy. So many times I would have to leave an event because the mother would say “Sorry! I forgot about her peanut allergy.” Seriously!! I told that mother several times and even reminded that mother again about her allergy before attending the event.

    Again thank you so much for this article. Like one responder wrote. Spoken like a true advocate for us all!! 🙂

  46. Amie says:

    Thank you. Very well said. My 5 years old son has a severe food allergy to dairy, egg, all kinds of nuts, legumes or any kinds of beans, soy and seafoods.

  47. Cathy says:

    Thanks. I am a bit riled up now, but I am thoroughly shocked at that post! This woman might as well be an athiest on top of it! That is all I can say.

  48. Monika says:

    Well said, Zorro! I have had a mom (who owned a day care, btw) tell me how, because of kids like mine, her kids couldn’t enjoy the foods they wanted in school. Needless to say, I haven’t spoken to her since. I have always offered to bake cupcakes or treats for the whole class. But there was another time that I was told by a parent that I could send in cupcakes for my own child, but she was going to buy regular cupcake for the whole class because a lot of kids don’t like the “allergy kind”. I know my kids would adjust to allergy kind food for a day if that meant accommodating their friend. I wish people didn’t look at allergies as inconveniencing people who have the luxury to eat whatever they like whenever they like. I also wish these same people would understand that not everyone is born with allergies, that it is possible for anyone to get allergic at any point in their lives. It could happen to them too.

    • Skye says:

      lol…”allergy kind”…I bake gluten free cupcakes for Miss Wheat Allergy to take to school & people are genuinely shocked when they discover that they’re gluten free. They taste no different to cupcakes with gluten. I don’t know where people get this idea that food that is allergy friendly must taste awful!

  49. Chels says:

    Wonderful article! I’m an ASD mum & it kills me that my DS3 also has to go without so many foods due to his sensitivities. It is no fun always having to watch everything that goes into his mouth & constantly saying no to treats at party’s & celebrations. Just yesterday my husband relented & allowed him to eat a very small handful of M & M’s at a birthday party. What happened? I whole night of screaming, curling into a ball & night terrors. So was it worth it just so he could enjoy that fleeting moment of happiness, absolutely not. And you know what? That is what sucks. Not your poor child having to go without on the very odd occasion…

    • Jaime says:

      as a mother who doesn’t have food allergies in the family it is important if you care for children to make sure if your throwing a party or bringing in snacks to ask about allergies and sensitivities their are other options that r fair for everyone ask what brands are safe for consumption and have special bowls and utensils for making the food in. Dollar stores carry them. because though something may be gluten free that doesn’t mean that its safe some brands work better then others and remember if it was your child you’d do it so why not for your child’s peer.

  50. nhokkanen says:

    My comment at Huffpo:

    Food allergies are not a choice. Birthday celebrations are.
    Breathing is essential to life. Sugar-based foods are not.

    This column trivializes life-threatening allergies.
    This column attempts to justify selfish disregard for others’ lives.

    Kids with summer birthdays make do without classroom parties.
    Kids with food allergies can live without classroom parties.

  51. Mary Gilbert says:

    I applaud you. While I don’t have kids with food allergies, I am trying to keep my kids healthy by not stuffing them with crap on a regular basis. I’m fed up with parents and schools glorifying junk as a way to celebrate while they cut out arts, music and physical ed programs at an alarming rate. The rate at which junk food is offered to my kids at school is out of control. How about a little imagination? Bring coloring books, a favorite dance tune and rock out, or do some finger painting. Forget the junk. Let’s teach our kids to live!

  52. Sue says:

    Well said! I have been an elementary school teacher for 23 years, and have ALWAYS paid attention to allergies. Most of my parents have been very understanding, and the kids are ALWAYS empathic toward their friend. We are a community, and we stand together. I wish more teachers, and particularly parents, would have the common sense and kindness to always include all kiddos!

  53. Heidi says:

    I love you. Thank you. I seriously couldn’t have said it better myself.

  54. Mara says:

    Thank you! My daughter is very lucky to be allergic to food she eats. We are lucky she can be in the same room with peanut butter…but you are right 100%. The parents of my daughters classmates are awesome. if they make cupcakes they will send in a piece of fruit or a toy for Isabele. They only send in nut free candy and will go out of their way to make things nut free for her. it is a matter of life and death and how would they feel if their kid died. Rock on!!!!!

  55. Breann says:

    I don’t really understand why everyone is so upset. I have several children with serious food allergies. I bake and decorate a GF/CF/SF/DF cupcake and pack it up and leave it in the teachers freezer of my child’s school. When their is a birthday I am always notified band they give my son the cupcake I made for him. I am not offended by other parents bringing in treats for the class. Ultimately my child could touch a doorknob or a playground equipment that has been contaminated by a young child’s sticky peanut butter hands and then that child rubs their eyes and is now exposed to peanut butter.

    • Skye says:

      I think the tone of the other article was a bit off. The author was pretty self righteous about how “HER KID” shouldn’t have to go without cake because it might kill someone (which is the fault of the school, not the parents of the kid with allergies as it is perfectly reasonable to ask the allergy parents to supply cupcakes for the freezer!). It just sounded like she was trying to start a fight to be honest.

  56. Kim says:

    Couldn’t have said it better! Bravo, Zorro!

  57. That other mom may be in the majority as far as her kids’ food tolerances, but she’s not in the majority as far as decency. I recall one commenter on that HuffPo article who said he was a teacher (real name and all!) saying he’d make the allergy kid go sit in the hallway while the others had their cupcakes. How cruel can one be? It costs nothing to teach a fortunate healthy child empathy– to say, “That’s okay, I’ll have my homemade cupcakes AT HOME instead of during school time, because I’m a good friend to all, and I want to make my friends feel comfortable and well.” Shouldn’t we be teaching our kids to be kind?

  58. Zorro says:

    Just so I wasn’t just spouting off, but rather contributing to a solution, I wrote this list of possible party alternatives after one of my kids’ school parties.


    Also, I made these cupcakes from a King Arthur Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix and they were devoured. Kids still ask if I’m bringing cupcakes when I show up to volunteer in math class.


    • Skye says:

      I’m not sure where you are but I’ve found that the Aldi brand of gluten free flour is a perfect sub for normal wheat flour. I’ve been using it for about two years now & I’ve never had a failure!

  59. Pingback: Why My Kid’s Food Allergies Are Ruining Your Party | Recovery Road

  60. Julie says:

    Great article, our two year old can’t have gluten and it’s tough because she’s not even old enough to realize it so we *have* to rely on all the adults around her to police food for her, some of which do better than others. Also, they make gluten free rice crispys cereal now, they’re in a dark tan box and made from brown rice, we use them for crispy treats.

  61. Cathy says:

    Loved reading your post. I’ve been working in schools, as a health tech, for twelve years now. The escalating rate of food allergies is extremely concerning. I’ve seen it first hand.
    Shame on this mom being upset about being inconvenienced. She should see those sad little faces when aren’t able to participate. Wish schools would take your advice and go for non-food birthday items to celebrate.

  62. Antoinette says:

    Zorro. I. Adore. You. Adore!!! Spoken like a true advocate for us all.

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