Today my 7 year old son broke down. He is so good about his PA and puts on a brave face. Today the class had McDonald's food brought in. My son had his lunch from home. When he told me about how it felt to be left out he just started to cry - for all the times!My heart is breaking with his. This is so hard on him. I need ideas for coping. I do substitute when told about a food event and I have prepped food for the whole class before too. Those are things I can do. Some events cannot/will not be changed to accomodate him. How can I help him cope with this? Any ideas will be appreciated. Laura
On May 30, 2000
Laura; My heart goes out to you. It is so frustrating to see your child cry over something that you just can't fix! And it must be so frustrating for him to live with this allergy and not know from day to day when it will interfere with his *normal* day. Maybe you could ask his teacher if they could bring something in that he could eat too. My daughter eats pizza. I don't know any kid that doesn't. I wish I could suggest something better. I just want to tell you that I sympathize with you. My daughter won't be starting school until 2001. But having 3 others in school, I know how cruel classmates and even friends could be. I hope that they weren't too tough to your son. Too bad there's no support group for kids with food alleriges. I know they have them for parents but does that include kids too? I think if they had a support group that kids could go to and meet others to see that they are not alone with their allergies it would be a comfort to them.
On May 30, 2000
Our daughter is 9 1/2 now and in 3rd grade. She never ceases to amaze us with her strength and resiliency. We do all we can to compensate and avoid these kinds of situations but, like you said sometimes it is unavoidable and she gets left out of some event or gathering because of her PA. Almost always after a flash of irritation she carries on like nothing happened showing maturity way beyond her age. Every once in a while though it gets to her. Usually something trivial, something that shouldn't bother her that much. She'll just wait to get us in private and she breaks down. It absolutely just kills us when it happens. But we find what she needs most is for us just to listen. She doesn't need promises, doesn't need reassurances, and doesn't need us to tell her we'll make everything alright. She needs to vent, to let out her frustrations,anger, and sadness. We give her all our attention,lend her a sympathetic ear,if you will, along with an occasional hug. When she cries that it's unfair, we nod and tell her "yes it is". She knows there are children worse off than her,been told that a hundred times. But we feel that's not what she needs during these moments. Afterwards she's back to her old happy self, strong as ever and ready to face whatever challenge this PA hands her. As she has gotten older these moments seem to have gotten fewer and farther between. She still has them from time to time but I think just knowing we're ready to listen helps her a lot.
On May 30, 2000
I just found out about my one year old peanut allergy. I am sorry to hear your son had a bad experience at school. Why is mcdonalds food no good. I have let my son have the chicken nuggets and fries and have not seen any reaction. I have read from the peanut allergy network that peanut oil is usually safe unless it is homogenized like crisco then it would still contain protein. Do you know something about mcdonalds food that I do not?.
On May 30, 2000
jrizos: From what I understand many are not letting their PA children eat at McDonalds because of the McFlurry with the peanuts in it. They feel that their could be a risk of cross contamination. Personally, my almost 5 year old PA son eats at McDonald's all the time with never a problem. He always gets the hamburger happy meal & loves it. He could live on that (never gets tired of it). Whenever we go some place to eat that he can't eat (usually that would be Chinese) we always stop and get his happy meal and bring it in with him. I guess it's just what each parent feels is best. I am very careful in protecting him from peanuts but I just personally feel that there isn't a problem with it (for *our* son) and would hate to take that away from him too. Laura J: I feel so badly for your son. He is the same age as my daughter (not allergic though). I know how much things like that can hurt them. I sure wish that I had some expert advice for you. I hope your son is feeling better. Tracy
On May 30, 2000
My son loves McDonalds. He usually gets the hamburger Happy Meal and has never had a problem. I do know what you are going through. My son plays baseball and although I have told all the parents that he is PA and the snacks have to be safe, sometimes they forget and my son cries because he doesn't get the snack after the game. I do try to bring something for him, but it isn't the same. He wants to be like the other kids. Keep your chin up, I do, and hopefully things get a little easier.
On May 30, 2000
Laura J My daughter was the same way over Easter, a sub teacher at her daycare gave all the kids Easter bags. The chocolate eggs did not come in original package, so she couldn't have them. Normally this would result in a sad face,with a promise to replace with something safe. On this day however, she cried for 30min, a sound I couldn't describe or want to.That day she had her "final straw". It makes me sad to think how much faster and stronger children with allergies grow up.(Although this will help when they're older)
Jrizos there is a thread about McDonalds, under Restaurants-May 22 ( I think)!
On May 30, 2000
My daughter is 5 with PA (severe). They have hot lunch program every Wed., all nut free. The school is nut free as well.
On one Wed., every month she gets two McDonald burgers, totally nut free.
Im in Ontario, Canada, so im not sure if McDonalds is different in your area.
I do know how your child feels; my daughter feels the same at birthday parties, etc. Its hard, I know its hard.
Jeff, in the Limestone City
On May 30, 2000
Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I like the one about just hearing out all his feelings. jrizos - We take our son to McDonalds too. In fact we are treating the kids this Friday. It is not a problem. The school has a policy that he only ever eats food from home. This goes for all the Anaphylactic children. For hot lunches they have no control over how it was prepared or how it was handled from the restaurant to the school. I helped to make that Hot lunch program "peanut free" for the school so that PA classes could participate and Pa kids could be around the food. But policy states that the school cannot be responsible for what an Anaphylactic child ingests. This time I could have ordered and delivered it to him myself, but my son said since he never participates they stopped telling him what was being ordered. Perhaps I can clarify that I want to know if it is McDs again! Thanks for all your caring. Laura
On May 31, 2000
Thanks for the info. I was not aware that McD's was creating such a scare with the mcflurries ice cream. Wendy's or BK is just as good or my husbands restaurants. I also didn't know about the schools restrictions on the children's meals. I hope for your son his teachers will be a little more sensitive about including the child in.
On Jun 1, 2000
I agree with the previous posters comment that the school should be more sensitive. My goodness, I can't imagine a whole class getting McDonald's when they know one little boy will have to sit there (seeing it and smelling it) while having his home packed lunch (which I am sure was delicious but in comparison to hamburger and fries with a toy.....). It really *is* insensitive! It seems to make the situation worse when he actually *can* eat McDonald's but they wouldn't let him. I understand them wanting to stick with the rule or policy but what a shame! You'd think that they could have at least called you to ask your permission before they ordered. Yes, I think you should tell them that the next time they should include him or call you. Poor guy!! Tracy
On Jun 1, 2000
Tracy - Thanks for responding. It is hard. Tommorrow night we are going to McDonalds! He already knows what he wants to order! My son is very excited. He has come a long way since he cried the other day. Although I know those feelings will still be in there. Today he talked to me about how careful and protective the other kids are..they have been great all year. He proposed making up some "Thank you loot bags" for the class for the last week of classes. He commented that they joined him in doing without sometimes, just like him, even though they don't have his allergy. I am glad he is able to refocus on all the people who do help and support him/us! I'm glad he wants to openly show how much he is thankful for their caring and efforts. And I note he is choosing a way which includes all in the fun! Laura
On Jun 1, 2000
Can you tell me why your son can't eat at McDonalds? I know you live in Canada, as do I, and all of the McFlurrie flavours made here in Calgary are made either from Nestle chocolates from the peanut free plant (coffee crisp, smarties) or from Wonka candy which is also quite safe. Peanuts for sundaes here are also handed out in plastic bags and I rarely see anyone take them.
We eat at McDonald's weekly, and my daughter who has reacted to both touch and ingestion has never had a reaction. Do you just have a policy that your son does not eat anything brought into school?
On Jun 2, 2000
Laura J: I am so glad that your son is feeling a little better. I sure hope he has a great time tomorrow night. That is so nice of him to think of making those goodie bags for all the kids. He sounds like a sweet boy! Tracy
On Jun 6, 2000
LauraJ, I was so saddened when I read your posting. First of all, I don't think the class should have had McDonald's if that meant the exclusion of your son. In my son's school they had a pizza and hot dog day. I checked out the source of the pizza (Pizza Hut) and it was okay, so he was fortunate, he was able to have the "special" food just like the other kids. He is in a "peanut free" classroom, and, if anything, it is the parents of a child that sends a peanut product into the school that is made to feel differently. I feel sorry for the child because of the parent's stupidity though. They are sent home a note and you would not believe the ridiculous responses my son's teacher has had "That means peanut butter too?". At any rate, if your son could check out (edited by the office; old url removed as that web site address is no longer used or owned by the book company that published the no nuts for me book. The book company's web site on 01/08/2007 [url="http://www.tumblebooks.com"]http://www.tumblebooks.com[/url] ) and see the animated story about Noah, he might feel better. I'm not clear because my son is 4 and yours is 7 but Jesse was so thrilled to see another child (albeit a cartoon one) wearing a MedicAlert bracelet and carrying an epipen. That might be helpful. Are you able to approach the teacher/principal/school board about the decision to bring the McDonald's into the class at the exclusion of your son? I'm sorry, but I seem to be getting more and more angry with people's pure ignorance regarding PA (check out I Could Scream from me to-day, if you want to see what I mean). This site is great for us and children I guess at a little bit older age could use it too. Take care. Actually, Quaker Oats brought "may contain" food into my son's school and I approached them directly, then found out it was up to the principal to make the decision whether or not to allow the product in (I am not very pleased with her). You could also take this up with McDonald's. For example, do you not check to see if there are any PA children in the classroom? Rather than giving food could you not provide the other children with free coupons (so as not to penalize them). I'd approach all of them. I'm in that mood right now!
On Jun 7, 2000
CINDY! GREAT IDEA!! Coupons and not the actual food!!! And why not a treat that isn't food related! always a possible suggestion at the beginning of the school year when you meet with the teachers and prinicple and explain everything else!
Just an FYI.....my mother told me that A woman in a dairy queen ordered fries that are NOW cooked in peanut oil, she had a severe reaction and was clueless! got to the hospital....and although she had never reacted in the past, she certainly tested positive now! She never thought she had any allergies. Home style potato chips, fries, is peanut oil cheaper or something? This seems like a recent change that food chains are moving to. Not that it keeps me healthier to stay away from it....but we all enjoy a could salty french fry everyonce in awhile!
On Jun 8, 2000
Thanks for all your support and ideas. I really appreciate it. DebO my son can eat at McDonalds, but I was not sent the note that the hot lunch would be McDonalds because he usually cannot have the hot lunch. Also, the school aims to bring in foods which will do no harm to a PA child, but they do not want to be responsible for what he ingests. I would have to go to the McD's and ask the questions, get the food and deliver it to him myself (i.e. the food has my direct okay). With food brought in they are concerned that they are not there when it is prepared and cannot be sure that all who prepared or handled it are allergy aware. I agree with this policy, for my son's protection. But here is the part I do not agree with: The hot lunch program is a parent assoc. fundraiser which happens once a month. It is hard on allergic kids and kids from families who cannot afford it. Also, it promotes in a school setting a lot of food which is not nutritious. The attitude of the PAC food committee was first "too bad your child can go home for lunch or that class will have to miss out". So we tried for a while taking him out and having the class follow a cleaning protocol after eating. This year I did a bunch of research for the food committee. I have been pleased that they have used my list of safe to be around foods this year. At least my son can stay at school...but he feels left out around all that food now! I agree with the fact that, if I ordered the food and my son got his meal dealt out to him like everyone else, we could not really be certain of that food in the bag on his desk. So I guess I would like to not have Hot lunches at all! But that will not happen. I have asked to be notified so I can send or deliver at least a partial facimile of the Hot Lunch with my son. Cindy - Thanks for your reply too. I have read No Nuts for me to my son. It is a good thing to do. My son is older (7) and is into other problems now of feeling part of the group and wanting more independance from parents. Like he doesn't want mom to come when he goes to a new friend's house to play...Anyways re the hot lunch he could be included in some ways if I know what's being ordered and I can send/bring something I have checked. It occurred to me that no matter what the others get (pizza, burgers..)that my son would probably be pleased as punch if he got McDonalds every time. Thanks again for all the ideas! Add on - today was pizza hot lunch. I took my son his Happy Meal and there was one very happy smile on his face...pure happiness. All his classmates gathered around to celebrate with him and see what he got. It is a super solution to the problem! Thanks for helping me think it out. Laura
[This message has been edited by Laura J (edited June 09, 2000).]
On Jun 11, 2000
My son received his pizza & hot dog day lunches through the fundraising committee for the school also. This is the same woman that I am now dealing with re the bake sale at the Fun Fair. I guess I was very fortunate that they chose pizza & hot dogs that were okay for Jesse to have. I checked first. The whole thing with his school, though, because the classroom is "peanut free", the other children would not have been able to participate in the program unless it was food that was "okay". I've decided my summer project is to find out how many teachers and administrative staff there are at the school, and what other parents are in positions of "decision making" (i.e., fundraising) and make sure they all have the information re PA and anaphylactic shock given to them at the beginning of the school year. I'm really fortunate because my son will have the same teacher next year, but it's like you have to educate a new teacher each year otherwise, which I guess is part of the PA "deal" and it's okay, but it can be very frustrating. I still have had no response from the principal re the e-mail I sent her re the bake sale. I really want this woman to be clear about how serious the allergy is. Even though I met her at the beginning of the year re this, I really feel she doesn't get it. I'm really pleased that your son got to be included the other day. As I said in my posting, because it was pizza & hot dogs that Jesse could eat, he didn't have the feeling of being "different", as far as not being able to have the "special" lunches. I'd like that to be able to continue through his school time, but I guess, as you said, they very quickly want their independence and very easily feel left out or unaccepted. I know Jesse is of that nature to begin with, never mind when the PA is brought into it, when it is. I'm really glad things worked out for your son though the other day. It's such a hard thing. It's so much different than when I was a child. Even if something was bothering me, I wouldn't tell my parents, and I've really encouraged my kids to tell me what they're feeling, but I was just a "regular" kid and didn't have a serious allergy to deal with. As you can see, I'm rambling on again, something I think some people on this site must absolutely despise. Great for your son though, your originally posting made me cry (and I wasn't pms-ing!).
On Jun 11, 2000
Jeff above, if you read this message, I'm trying to contact you by e-mail, which I can't. I'd like to discuss what you did, if anything, to get a "peanut free" school for your daughter. We also live in Ontario. Thank-you for your time and consideration should you read this message.
On Jun 11, 2000
Thanks again Cindy! - Laura
On Jun 13, 2000
We had a big problem with other kids bringing goodies from home for the whole class. Our daughters couldn't eat any of the cupcakes or birthday cakes. My wife put some long-lasting candy in a ziploc bag for the teacher to keep for such occasions. Their teachers have been real agreeable over the years to this approach.