2 year old \"sibling\" had first peanut exposure...


Well, the inevitable has occurred: My two year old son, Matthew, (whose 7 year old sister is pa and tna) had contact with a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich today. It is unclear whether he got any in his mouth or whether he just touched it to his lips before it was taken away. He had no reaction, but this was definitely his first exposure. I was 100% careful during pregnancy and breastfeeding to avoid all peanuts and nuts. We've also been successful keeping them away from him until today. I was planning to wait until he was at least three before we attempted to learn his allergic status. (Either through testing or a challenge; I haven't been sure.)

This was the situation: this past year I participated in a "mommy and me" class at a pre-school. The entire pre-school is peanut and nut free, and the teacher is truly wonderful. The teacher decided to host a "messy day" activity morning at her house every Wednesday. This is a "drop off" situation, where we pay her to take care of our child for the morning. When she first announced it I asked her if she was willing to make it nut free. She said "yes" and that it shouldn't be a problem since we were all used to it any way. This discussion was in front of everyone. I had brought Matthew there three times before today and he had really enjoyed it and there had been no problems.

Today, I picked him up and the teacher told me that Matthew was fine, but that there had been a problem that she needed to tell me about. I immediately knew is was pb related, and I was right. What happened was that one of the moms had packed her daughter a pb and j sandwich, (she must have forgotten about the "ban"). Apparently she sat with her daughter while she was eating, and the teacher didn't even know she had it in her lunch. Apparently Matthew picked up the sandwhich and put it (at least) up to his mouth. The mother immediately realized the mistake and took it away. The teacher washed Matthew up and he seemed fine.

There's really nothing I can do about it now. I still really trust the teacher and think she is wonderful. I guess I am a little miffed at the mother for forgetting. I do understand that none of us are perfect, though. I guess I feel like she should call me and apologize, at least. The teacher said she will send out an e-mail to everyone reminding them not to send in any pb. She was so apologetic and kept checking to make sure I was O.K.

I am so glad Matthew didn't react, but I know that doesn't really mean much. I will just keep him away from it as much as humanly possible during the next year, at least, and hope for the best. I have been considering calling our allergist but I'm not sure that really makes any sense. There's probably nothing she can say or do that would make a difference.

Thanks for letting me share. If anyone has any insights to share please let me know. Miriam

[This message has been edited by California Mom (edited July 23, 2002).]

On Jul 17, 2002

Sorry to hear about your situation.

I just want to tell you that my PA son (now 7 yrs old) ate peanut butter regularly for over a year before his first reaction. You are smart to keep avoiding peanuts even after this incident.

On Jul 18, 2002

Thank you, Mitch's mom. My 7 year old pa daughter reacted on her 4th known exposure. It was mild: tiny hives around her mouth, but our allergist said to treat her as allergic to peanuts. Her next reaction, which was an accidental exposure, was extremely severe. I nursed my daughter for two years and ate peanuts and peanut butter the whole time. I know she was exposed this way so I have always been surprised (in hind sight) that she didn't react until her 4th direct exposure. It is even more unusual that it took your son a whole year of exposure before reacting.

After I posted my first message I realized that I felt really sad. I was trying to identify the sadness and I think it was that I have tried so hard to do it "perfectly" with Matthew and it didn't work out. I'm feeling better about it now. I still wish it hadn't happened, of course. But I also feel that in the "real world" these things do happen. Hopefully he will not be pa. If he is, I can't really believe that this one accident could have "caused" it.

I am still thinking, though, that this other mom should call me and apologize. Am I off base? I know there's no sense getting worked up about it. It won't help anything. Maybe she's embarrassed and doesn't want to admit to me what happened. Maybe she doesn't know that the teacher told me about it. It's just that we were in class together all year and we know each other. Still, my stewing about it is only hurting me.

[This message has been edited by California Mom (edited July 23, 2002).]

On Jul 18, 2002

California Mom,

I understand your sadness about this. Barely a day goes by that I don't get emotional about PA. As mothers, we work SO hard to protect our children from harm, and when someone compromises their safety (even unknowingly), it can strike a deep emotional chord.

Yes, I think the other mother owes you an apology, however, she may not realize the potential magnitude of the situation. Or, like you said, she could be embarased, the teacher may not have told her that you know what happened, she may not know what to say to you, or she may think it is no big deal. I tend to think that maybe she doesnt think it is a big deal because she brought the sandwich to class in the first place. She probably just doesnt "get it".

Anyway, you may never get an apology from her, so I will apologize for her. Here it goes: "I realize that you have worked VERY hard to keep your son away from peanut products, and I am SO sorry that he was exposed to peanut butter."

Im not sure if that helps or not, but I thought it was worth a try.

BTW, my 2nd born son (who is now 4 years old) is NOT PA. I will pray that your two-year-old is also not PA.


On Jul 18, 2002

Beth, thank you SO much! You really did help me, more than you can possibly believe. Yesterday I really wanted to talk with someone about this situation. I thought of different friends and relatives I could call, but I didn't call anyone. I didn't think anyone would "get it", even those people who are understanding and who really care about me. I felt that this board was the only place I would be likely to find anyone who could truly understand. It means so much to me that you do understand, and that you took the time to be so supportive. I am so glad that your second child is not pa. I really hope mine is not, too. Take care, Miriam

On Jul 23, 2002

yes..this site is invaluable for the support we get at the moments we are feeling really low..

just a thought... will the allergist be able to do a CAP-RAST on Matthew (I still wouldn't expose him to skin test) to determine if any sensitization has occured ?

On Jul 23, 2002

ktmom, thanks for the suggestion. Maybe when he is three I will ask to get the Cap Rast done first, then (depending on the results) a skin test. I don't want to do anything before he's (at least) three, because I have decided that it will not change anything I would do with him. Actually, maybe I would leave an epi-pen when I drop him off with other people, if I knew he was testing as allergic. Perhaps I should just start doing that anyway. Thanks for your suggestion: it is a good one. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

On Jul 23, 2002

I know how you feel about the apology form the other mom. I had an accidental exposure to tree nuts(honey nut cheerios) with my dd, who was TN and PN alleergic. I did not know as much then, but was so surprised at my friends reaction. I had dropped her off, and left her own food, and said she could have plain cheerios if she did not eat her dinner(very picky). I got back and my friend sort of *chuckled* sheepishly and said she ate cheerios, but they were Honey Nut! I really did not panick at the time as my dd seemed okay, but I also knew so little then.

However, it always eats away at me, because this is a close friend we socialize often and have traded sitting with over the years. I have only had her sit one or two times since in our home and gone over the whole epipen thing, showing her how, etc... in great detail each time. I think she really thinks I am crazy and does not get the seriousness of it all. I never even got an, "I am so sorry, I gave her Honey Nut cheerios! What was I thinking, but she seems fine!" That would be all I expect. Without the apology or serious statement, I think we have good reason to mistrust these other people to make the same mistake. That is the trouble. If they do not seem too concerned, then they likely are not.

I really want to have a heart to heart about this with our friend, but she is so sensetive, and I really think she will not take it well at all. I simply choose to generally not let her be alone with my child. With how close we are(mostly through our husbands, but we see each other alot and I like her) I think this would hurt her more, if she knew. Sorry to blab, but I understand your feelings and wanted to share. I had a really sad day once when our playgroup all went for ice cream at a farm we were at. Sometimes it just hits harder. becca