frustrated with Halloween party/ room parent

Posted on: Wed, 10/09/2002 - 6:45am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

My daughter is at a new school this year. I am happy with the way the principal and teacher are handling the pa situation and she does have a 504. I was not asked to be a room parent although I did sign up that I would like to be. It also happens to be in her 504 that I can either be a room parent or work closely with room parent(s) regarding food. I didn't push the room parent thing - I was actually feeling overwhelmed enough with a new school year at a new school, etc.

So, the room mom called me last night to ask if the following things are safe for the Halloween party: gummi worms, fish or spiders; chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate sundae topping, butterscotch sundae topping, chocolate covered raisins or malt balls; yogurt covered raisins or malt balls; chocolate "cake topping" sprinkles, banana chips, mini jelly beans. (I feel as though I am getting a little taste of what Cindy goes through as "food checker" at her kids' schools!)

I told her that I would go to the store and check labels, but that there were some things that I did not think I could find safe. I offered to buy the stuff I could find that was safe and then have people reimburse me. She didn't like that idea. She felt that we would just be extremely specific about what people could buy.

So, this morning I asked her what all of this food was for, and if it was possible to have substitutions. It turns out they are to be sundae toppings for ice cream! I told her that this seems like a lot more than is necessary. She replied that the kids really love having choices and that different kids like different things. (Well - I've served plenty of sundaes to kids and I don't know of one who hasn't been happy enough with the choice of chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry!) I again offered to buy the stuff - she said that they want the kids to bring stuff in to learn responsibility. (Oh, please!) Then she suggested that we have a little bag of safe things for Leah. I stopped that one fast and said that the whole classroom needs to be safe for her. (I may have gone over board as I mentioned that this is a public school and she has a disability; it is required that the environment be safe for her. I did manage to stay calm as friendly as I said this.)

So, I'm quite annoyed. I found some safe stuff at the grocery store but some stuff I'm just not going to trust. I think this woman seems to have a control issue. I suggested that before the next party they involve me in the planning stages so that they don't have to present me with what they've already come up with and have me change it. I guess if this gets too difficult I will need to involve the teacher. Of course I'd rather not. I just find this ridiculous! Too much junk, and too much of it not safe.

Also, I looked at the butterscotch chips and they look just like peanut butter chips. Even if we can find safe ones do you think I'm crazy that I don't want them there?! Seems too confusing to me. I want to substitute white chocolate chips, if they MUST have two types of chips, for crying out loud!!!

Thanks for letting me vent; I need some support! Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 10/09/2002 - 6:58am
ACBaay's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2002 - 09:00

Yes, it does sound like WAY too much. Especially for a holiday like Halloween, where the kids will get plenty of candy and sweets. Maybe you could suggest that they substitute some of the unsafe items with a few fresh fruit toppings (if the kids really need that many choices). Simple really is the way to go. I think that sometimes class parents are a bit over-enthusiastic. Also, maybe the teacher can set some guidelines. Usually teachers prefer that their students are not bouncing off the walls.
Good luck,
Andrea

Posted on: Wed, 10/09/2002 - 7:36am
smack's picture
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Joined: 11/14/2001 - 09:00

Miriam,
Gosh, where is the other parents input? Talk to other Mom's(I'm sure they don't want their kids eating this junk either!)
This made me so mad I would just try my hardest to put the axe to this whole idea of hers since all of these ingredients aren't probably safe and you don't have the time/nor energy to research these ingredients before this party.
And please don't even think of pulling her out for the day, she deserves a safe environment and doesn't need to feel excluded!
You go girl and don't feel bad, this lady must have kids that are running up and down her walls!

Posted on: Thu, 10/10/2002 - 12:17pm
KarenH's picture
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

Gotta add my two cents. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I'm a parent of a 6 year old, and work in the school system. AGG! Too much junk at any time is a teacher's nightmare. Especially if you want to educate the kids a little about healthy food choices.
I agree-the chocolate topping, whip cream, sprinkles and a cherry would be great. Even bananas, pineapple...canned mandarin oranges, strawberries..yum! give them those with sprinkles...and maybe a few gummies. To me that would be great.
By the way, my kid doesn't need sugar to be hyper-he already is. And for parents whose kids are going to be stuffed full of candy anyhow, who needs it?
I really feel for you-you tried so hard to be tactful and nicely offered to buy all the supplies. I hope that things work out!

Posted on: Thu, 10/10/2002 - 12:50pm
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Wow. I am a in my 4th year of being a room parent and I am in shock that people turn down volunteers that want to contribute anything, much less safe stuff.
But....in our school they are very clear that THE TEACHER has ultmate control over the parties. I understand why you don't want to go to her now, but maybe ask if this whole sugar fest ice cream deal has been approved by the teacher? And even if it has, can the children (in the interest of being practical and time efficient) be limited to selecting a certain number of choices? My exp. in classrooms, scouts etc.. is the more choices the more the kids enjoy just making disgusting messes. More clean up too!!! Once we stopped up the sink with the yucky mixtures!
And I do agree Halloween is already a candy filled time. We have healthy treats at the party - fruit with carmel dip, veggies, and popcorn balls (I make them so they are safe for the 2 PAs in the room) and focus more on games / activities.
Hope it works out.
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited October 10, 2002).]

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 2:34am
Linda-Jo's picture
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Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

California Mom
You don't say how old your dd is (or maybe I missed it!) but I agree, that is way too many choices for any age. The kids could be so overwhelmed with choices, they will put all of them on and they won't even make it down to the ice cream! You are right, the only choice they should have is van or choc ice cream and then cover with choc sauce, whip cream, sprinkles and cherry! I follow the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Smiley!
Chicago has a great idea, just a little treat with a Halloween theme, and then focus on games and activities to celebrate the holiday.
[This message has been edited by Linda-Jo (edited October 12, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 8:35am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Wow, you guys are all so great! Thanks for all the terrific feedback. It really helps me to know that I am not alone in my thinking. I provided this woman with a list of things that I found to be "safe", along with another list of proposed "substitutions" for the things that may not be safe. We discussed it after school yesterday with both of our kids standing there. Would you believe she had given her son some sort of giant danish that was covered with nuts? He was nibbling on this while we were talking. It was all I could do not to shield Leah with my body to keep her away from this thing! By the way, this is a second grade class; sorry I forgot to mention it at first. I think you are all right that the teacher will not appreciate so much junk food. We'll see what happens. I plan to over see the situation as best as I can. It's disappointing that with so many caring and understanding people in this world I seem to have drawn the unlucky straw and gotten this woman who is making things more difficult than they have to be. I'll post back after the party (or before then if I get too stressed!) and let you know how it went. Thanks a million, Miriam

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