dealing with family at holidays....advice needed

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 12:54am
MattsMommy's picture
Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

I wasn't sure where to post this question, but I'm hoping some of the more seasoned veterans will be able to help.

We will be going back to Oklahoma for Christmas for 2 weeks. Both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many great-grandparents all live there.

Since my dh is Air Force, we live in southern California and don't see our family very often. Frankly, I'm dreading our 2 weeks at home!

We will bringing all of my ds's food with us and we'll be asking that no one feed him without our express permission. But then I got to thinking about hand lotions they all may use, soaps, and just general cross-contamination issues.

Would it be appropriate to send out a mass email explaining the "rules" of play here? I HAVE to make them understand the importance of NOT feeding him..even if they've checked the label themselves.

My sister recently visited and I found her feeding him a strawberry cookie...I got so upset and she was like "what, I read the label, I'm not stupid you know". She meant no harm, but I see many opportunities for that same type of situation to happen when we're with all the family. I email them all with directives? Do I just go into a nervous breakdown watching everything that happens? Both of our families have tons fo allergies (so they feel knowledgeable on the subject.. you know, like expose him to a little to "build up" his tolerance" type of thinking) and they are for the most part, a very educated bunch. I have to be careful how I tell them what to do.

What would you do? We only see family once a year. I've realized that it's been a blessing NOT to have to deal with Grandma's house, or Aunt Val's house in the past 5 months that we found ds to be PA. But now I DO have to deal with it.

Sorry this got so long. I'm just stressing over it and I'm trying to find ways of dealing with it now!

Thanks in advance, I REALLY appreciate it. I don't post here often, but I just read and read and read. Hope you're all having a great Monday!

Matthew 17 months

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 4:57am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Hi Maddy,
I think emailing them is fine, as long as it is done in a "light-hearted" way so as not to turn them off.
We're going to relatives for Thanksgiving (the first time ANY holiday hasn't been at my house in 15 years!) and we are running into the same thing. I just had this conversation with my BIL - "How hard can it be to read a label? I can do that. I'll just ask at the restaurant." ARRGH! I realize that to the uninitiated it doesn't seem like it should be a big deal, but we all know it is.
In your email, mention how misleading labels are and that it isn't that you don't trust their ability to read one, it's just that labels can be sort of meaningless. That should make them less defensive.
Good luck, and enjoy your two weeks away. Please let us know how it goes!

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 10:33am
Jandy's picture
Joined: 05/21/2001 - 09:00

Hi MattsMommy,
How to successfully deal with visiting family having fun, relaxing and providing safety comfort zone regarding safe food for you very young son?
- my rule was I was the only one to feed my son when he was little. I brought/ or bought at nearby store safe foods for son.
_maybe call most understanding family member first then
-email your safety rules and explain this will allow you to have good time visiting with family (no one wants to visit the ER)
(But you or husband will still need to keep an eye on Ds just in case he finds something not safe on floor etc.)
Yes, I brought or washed out cooking equipment before using for son's foods. I planned menu and gradually learned when I could use same food as others were eating.-
Only once did we opt for motel rather then family member's home-and that was done so that it would be easier on my Mom when my Dad died after long illness and much food was coming into her home to help and many people to feed. We have been avoiding smell of eggs cooking for 3 years now and my son's off the chart's egg level having been coming down little by little. Having son not there for breakfast opened up egg option.
- Also many items came and contained nuts which we saved to be put out when my son was done eating and away from that area. We did have one slip up. Pecans were added to pancake batter and little food proceser put in dishwasher without being washed off- that load of dishes had specks of pecans on them. No time to rewash, I rinsed off best I cuold, and dishes would all get used again-my food allergic child had different type plate and plastic utencils with that meal.(nothing from dish washer and his last meal there until next visit)
- I hope this info helps. I've also labeled one container of margerine with his name as others might accidentally containmate the group used containers by putting there used knife in container. (my son has sesame seed, egg allergies in addittions to some others)-label came off when we left but made it simpler while there. My son is twelve now and very aware of what he can eat.
Take Care and keep it simple and safe.

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 12:41pm
Connielynn's picture
Joined: 08/27/2002 - 09:00

Our family lives very close but still have problems.......I have been toying with the idea of writing a 'Dummies' type book for them. Light hearted but........getting the point across. Sigh........... if only there were a common sense pill!

Posted on: Tue, 11/26/2002 - 5:58am
Shawn's picture
Joined: 09/07/1999 - 09:00

Can you get your allergist to help? I'm fortunate enough to have family that really does get it. But sometimes people respond better to what "the Doctor" says. It makes the fact of this being a medical condition more real, and takes the pressure off you - i.e., how can you be a paranoid mommy when you have an official list from the doctor about what you have to do? Actually, I've discovered it doesn't necessarily have to be "the Doctor" that you see. Any of the articles by FAN or any allergist on the PA issue should be sufficient.

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