9 year old beginning to feel hurt when excluded due to food allergies

Posted on: Mon, 03/26/2001 - 9:50am
Aliciamot's picture
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Joined: 01/14/2001 - 09:00

pI guess I just need some support, advice, upbeat words of encouragement. I love this website, being anaphylactic to peanuts myself, but I read it mainly for support in dealing with my 9 yr. old boy/girl twins and their food allergies to milk, egg, and peanut. It has been a big help. I responded to this topic when a mother of a younger child expressed a related dilemna. My twins are in grade 4 where there are cliques and many birthday parties and naturally my two are left out. My son doesn't care but my daughter came home crying because the girls are whispering and won't tell her. Several of the girls have birthdays in March and April and I'm sure they're whispering about the parties. I know they have them because I've been told about them every year. My daughter is never invited because I guess the parents figure that she can't eat anything there(remember they're allergic to milk eggs peanut) and that they don't want to take any responsibility in case of emergency. I can understand that they don't want a child there who can't eat anything and might get sick, but it sure hurts me because it has now reached the point in her life when these exclusions hurt her. When she was younger it only hurt me. I don't want to hurt my daughter more but I want to be honest with her. I guess I just want some of you kind allergy friends to say something to make me feel better./p

Posted on: Mon, 03/26/2001 - 1:20pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi...we haven't quite hit that stage yet, as my son is only three, but I've decided that we are just going to make the most of an admittedly frustrating situation. (He is allergic to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, so we are almost in the same boat. He has thankfully outgrown a dairy allergy, but we still use quite a few soy and rice substitutes, just out of habit.)
Anyway -- my philosophy is "If you can't join them -- beat them!" We are learning to do all sorts of neat cooking things. Today was eggless Belgian waffles (which he loved) -- he helped me pick out the waffle-maker last week, and we made and ate them today. We made our own powdered sugar in the blender a few weeks ago, and made eggless cookies with it, using a cookie press -- easy and all kinds of shapes. Our big project for Easter will be chocolate dipped marshmallow chicks, with homemade marshmallow. They may very well come out looking like chocolate blobs, but we will have had fun, and they'll probably *taste* just fine! We have a tiny ice cream maker, and will use that when the weather warms up. (Frozen fruit "smoothie" will make a pretty decent sorbet.)
My hope is that, first, we will have fun doing these things together. We may not be able to go out for ice cream, but that doesn't mean we can't have it. My second hope is that, when the time comes, other kids will find our home to be the "cool" place to play -- the one where there's always something neat to do. The eight by eight area I'd been planning to use for an herb and lettuce bed is instead becoming a sandbox for that very reason. (I've also become realistic about the time I have to garden anymore -- basically zero!)
Finally, some day it will be his responsibility to provide himself with safe food. We anticipate that he'll be headed for college one day, and cafeteria food will probably not be an overly safe option -- and Wendy's doesn't serve breakfast!! If he can fix everything under the sun, he'll have a lot more fun living off campus -- and it probably won't hurt to be the roommate that can cook!
Will it help him weather the heartbreak of being nine and "different"? I sure hope so. I think that (and the few years after) are some of the hardest anyway. I was chubby, wore thick glasses, and "mama dressed me funny" during those years, and it was tough. (Thankfully I outgrew all of the above!)
We can't undo their allergies, but we can help them develop self-confidence, and support them in developing friendships. If there's any way that you can help her to have a party, or a sleepover, or whatever is most "popular" and possible, I'd say go for it. Have a young local makeup representative or hair stylist come and do makeup/makeovers for the girls. Or just buy lots of nail polish in all the strange new colors and let 'em go wild. Do a fashion show -- give the girls disposable cameras to take *lots* of pictures to giggle over. Have them make their own music videos -- buy or borrow CD's, and lip sync to their favorite artists.
Anything that gives *her* something to "whisper" about with her friends... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by M'smom (edited March 27, 2001).]

Posted on: Mon, 03/26/2001 - 2:16pm
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Joined: 08/03/2000 - 09:00

I am so sorry that your daughter is struggling with feeling left out. I can really relate to that, although I was often left out due to plain cruelty (I don't have any life-threatening allergies) I am probably repeating stuff that others have told you, but my suggestion would be to help your daughter's friends get to know her better.
Maybe the best way to do that is to invite the girls over one at a time or in groups and have some fun activities. It would give the girls a chance to see that they can have a lot of fun with your daughter despite her allergies. I don't know what your daughter likes to do, but you could have a sleepover or just a day party where they could do fun stuff like painting each other's nails, go rollerskating, paint T-shirts or other fun girl stuff.
Maybe if the girls got to know your daughter better, they would feel more comfortable inviting her to a party. Also, is there any chance that you have to get to know the parents better?
Amy

Posted on: Tue, 03/27/2001 - 1:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Aliciamot,
I can't say that I know what you mean because we haven't reached that stage yet. But as a loving Mom, I can feel your pain seeing your daughter hurt.
Is it possible to have a party at your house and include the girls in your aughter's class as well as their parents? You extend the invitation to the parents as a "get to know you" kind of thing. I was thinking that if the parents got to know you and your daughter and maybe if they saw that this can be handled with only minor effort, your daughter might start getting invitations.
Like, if you would be serving cake at this party, make one "regular" one plus some treat your kids can have. When it's time to serve the food make an announcement, "Would you like cake or ? The is peanut, milk and egg free but delicious."
Hopefully, since the topic is out in the open, you can suggest to the parents that it's a great that you send with your kids whenever they go to someone's house. I know it's not very straight forward, but maybe they might get it.
I hope it helps.
Andrea

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