8th Grade Trip to NY/DC -- HELP!

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 5:01am
SFMom's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

OK, I'm really uptight about this and I need some support from you guys.

Next year, after school ends in June, my daughter's class will go on the annual 8th grade trip to NY and Washington DC (we live in California).

My daughter and husband are both pressuring me to let her go. My daughter has been to NY before, but never to DC.

She is allergic to peanuts and soy protein (actually, all legumes), as well as a bunch of antibiotics. She carries an Epi-pen, but has never had to use it. She has never gone into shock or been hospitalized for her allergies. She "just threw up" when she had peanuts (hasn't had them since she was 3 years old; she will be 14 years old when this trip takes place). Of course, her allergist tells me that her allergy could change at any time and become anaphalyactic.

I'm beside myself about this. The class will be eating at a lot of hotel buffets. God only knows what they'll be serving and the exposure risks. And I don't trust that the people escorting her will really be able to deal with it, or be prepared to act properly in the event that she has an allergic reaction.

My daughter is very good about reading labels and knowing what she can and can't eat. But she's only 14 -- I don't expect her to pay attention ALL the time and understand some of the implications of various food products -- understanding what things are usually made with nuts or soy, etc. Realizing that "this bread has nuts in it" before taking a bite, etc. Sometimes she doesn't know and has to ask me.

I really would NOT like her to go on this trip. Not because I want to deprive her, but because I think she's too young to be out in the world making her own food choices. When she goes to college, she will be much older and I will be sure to prepare her very well.

My only other alternative would be to go with her, because truthfully I don't trust that my husband really "gets it" 100% either. He had peanut allergies as a kid and outgrew them, so he has a very casual attitude about this.

What should I do? This trip is a year away and already it is causing me great anxiety.

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 5:23am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My dd is 12. I have already decided that these kinds of trips are not going to happen with us. It just isn`t safe, in my opinion.

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 5:38am
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Joined: 09/26/2006 - 09:00

I'm not there yet as my son is only 6 but I am PA/TNA also and a grown up and I from personal experience would not want to put a young teen in a situation where other people may make her feel that she is bothering them or uncomfortable asking too many questions, where as we as mothers may ask all the questions and be forward enough to walk out of a place where we will not want to eat. They may ask some questions and forget about asking about something else and when they think of it they may feel bad asking another question. Or someone else who is pushy (I get this all the time - they mean well, but not for us allergic people) and say things like "this doesn't have nuts" and "this restaurant has to be safe" and "there are no nuts in there it's vanilla ice cream", etc., etc.
I know at a certain point we have to let go but I would want to feel comfortable trusting my son through experience and watching if he makes the right decisions when he is with me and make sure he feels comfortable enough not to eat if he chose not to or to say no whenever someone else says yes. I guess this depends on our children's personalities and each individual is different.
I personally wouldn't feel comfortable.
[This message has been edited by momll70 (edited July 17, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 6:06am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

There are a couple of other factors at play here-- questions (IMO) for you to answer for yourself.
1. Can you act as a 'chaperone' in an officially sanctioned capacity? Unoffically?
2. Will your daughter be socially 'okay' with that if you do?
3. Is she PA/TNA only? Or MFA?
I mean, honestly, I would [i]loooooove[/i] for my daughter to have an experience like that at that age. But truly, it would not be safe with the MFA (which is also Carefulmom's situation)... though me being present might make it do-able, as long as my daughter didn't feel socially stigmatized by it and spend all her time sulking, dodging me, or fuming.
It does sound like a wonderful trip. But very scary without you there.

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 6:29am
Lori Jo's picture
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Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

Don't you love when PA keeps you up at night? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
I think I'd be terrified to let her go by herself. I think an adult traveling would be fine, but I would worry that she would not be pushy enough to really check with all the food she would be exposed to, all the time. Heck, I hate doing that and I'm not a socially consious (sp?) teenager. Instead, as you are, I'm driven by a mother's fear for my dd to check every single time.
But, you have a year to prepare. I think if it were my family, I'd make every effort to go with her. The experience will be fantastic for her, and it would be really sad if her PA was the only reason she couldn't go. Seeing you in action would also hopefully show her how to safely travel, and you could let her ask first at buffets, etc, then just follow up if you're not happy with the answers. That would hopefully empower her to feel more comfortable traveling in the future.
------------------
Lori Jo,
Rose, 7-31-02, PA
Noah, 7-29-05
Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 6:55am
SFMom's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

I'm not sure what MFA stands for.
I have let her and younger sister (also PA and Soy A) go to sleep-away camp and the dreaded weeklong "outdoor education" trips that they do here in California. But in all those cases, I have worked closely with the staff running the programs to ensure that the food is safe. Every single time, I have wound up providing certain foods for them. That's fine and it worked out well. I was happy that they were able to have "normal" experiences. But for a 10-day trip thousands of miles away, it's impossible.
I have begun my research. I sent an email to the school principal and vice-principal to ask for information about the program. I hope to contact the organization that runs the program. But my expectations are even lower than my comfort level at this point.
My husband or I may have to accompany her on this trip if she goes. Not that we really *want* to incur the extra expense or hassle, but what other choice would we have?
When she's old enough to go to college, I will have to trust that she can take care of herself. But now when she is only 14, I just don't have that trust.
I'm so sick of these school trip things that always put us in these uncomfortable positions. Having to jump though hoops, being kept awake at night with worry. Sorry, I need to vent a little. Believe me, I would love to cut the apron strings if I could. I wish things were different.

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 8:10am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

{{{hugs}}} Me too.
NOT looking forward to this in another four or five years.... SO not looking forward to all this stuff.
MFA= [i]M[/i]ultiple [i]F[/i]ood [i]A[/i]llergies. Which I see she has.
Is her legume allergy a cross-reactivity thing or separate allergies? Does her allergist think they are in the dangerous category, in other words, or the 'annoying' one?
I hope that you can go and both of you will look upon it as an amazing experience-- a [i]GIFT[/i] that her allergy gave you. At least looking [i]back[/i] some day. (I know right now it just looks like a mess and a headache.)
I would [i]love[/i] to be there when my daughter first steps into the hush of the Lincoln Memorial. She'll cry, I think. But what I wouldn't give to be there with her for that amazing experience. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] My having to 'always be there' has given me some wonderful glimpses into who my child [i]really[/i] is. What a great thing!

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 8:51am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Welcome, SFMom!
My son (PA, TNA, Sesame, Chick Pea and Unprocessed Soy-Allergic) is 13, so I totally get where you are coming from.
I really don't like telling him that he can't do something because of his allergies. He hates the darn things enough already, KWIM? And I don't want him to suddenly rebel and pretend they aren't there just to feel more "normal". We do our best to work around them.
OK, so you have a year to plan. I hear you on not wanting to go along, but personally, that would be my first choice, as long as it was OK with my child. Second choice would be daunting, but my friend's son with celiac has done it many times, successfully. He's OK with not eating with everyone, and just hanging out with a soda while everyone else eats. He brings tons (and I do mean a whole suitcase full) of his own food. Things like tuna in a pouch (I know, probably has soy), his own bread, crackers, etc. Can your DD eat Sunbutter?
My son goes to sleepaway camp, and has gone on the dreaded outdoor-ed programs as well. It takes an extraordinary amount of work, but it can be done - albeit more difficult with the soy to contend with.
I'm sure you'll get lots more ideas to work with here. Best of luck, whatever you decide.
Amy

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 9:12am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My dd is pa and milk allergic, but I would have answered the same if she were only pa. It sounds like the adults are not prepared to adequately handle an emergency and an emergency can happen even under the best of circumstances. There was the young man Matt (cannot remember his last name) who asked all the right questions in a restaurant and died anyhow. It happens. The key thing is whether the adults would appropriately handle an emergency.
As far as you going with, I did not consider that option, because my dd would absolutely not want me to go. I just assumed that was the case with yours, since by this age they usually don`t want to be seen with you. If your dd is fine with you going, then that`s another option.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited July 17, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 9:19am
SFMom's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

I haven't asked my DD whether she would object to me or her Dad going with her. I don't think she would mind, truthfully. Especially if I told her that it's the *only* way I would let her go.
I'll keep you guys posted on what transpires.

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2007 - 11:18am
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Joined: 06/12/2007 - 09:00

I would only allow my DD to go IF my husband or I accompanied her (she is almost 6 yrs old so I have many years before this comes up with her [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ). There are certain schools near here (and maybe my district; I haven't pursued it as it is so far off) that have the 5 day adventure-type trips and parents do not attend. I guess older high school kids chaperone, as well as school staff. PA or not, I wouldn't be comfortable with my 11/12 yr old going to a remote area with older teens and other adults. I'm sort of glad we have PA as an excuse to skip that trip [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
You'll love Washington, DC and NY---it will be so much fun with the 8th grade graduates, especially if it is the 1st visit for any them.
Nicole

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