Getting really frustrated---does this happen to anyone else and what do you do?

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 5:16am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Dd is 12 and allergic to milk and peanuts. Because of the milk allergy, there is almost no restaurant food she can have. Even if the ingredients were fine (which they usually aren`t), there is almost always cross contamination with milk products.

So we have this aunt we go out to brunch with every couple of months. It is me, dd, my sister, and my aunt (no dh, I am a single mom). My aunt moved here five years ago. We have been going out to eat with her every couple of months for five years. I don`t expect her to remember exactly what dd is allergic to, but I am totally frustrated that she NEVER seems to remember that dd can have almost no restaurant food. We go over this every single time we go out to eat. My aunt is the nicest person, but I just cannot figure out how to get her to remember that dd cannot eat French toast, eggs, pancakes, and all that other brunch stuff in a restaurant. I usually order dd fruit and bring her food. That way she can at least have something. My sister, on the other hand, is the most egocentric person on the planet, has never babysat dd, it is always all about her, yet she can remember about dd`s allergies. My sister even commented that she never puts on hand lotion on the days she is seeing dd, because it has almond oil.

So we went out with my aunt two days ago on Sunday for brunch. It is time to order and I order the usual fruit for dd. My aunt asks "can`t she have anything else?" as though this is all new to her. I explain, no she can`t. This is the only thing that is safe for her. I go through this every single time we go out. Here is the part that is totally frustrating me though: the food arrives, and it could not have been more than 15 minutes since my aunt had asked can`t dd have anything other than fruit, and when the food came my aunt said "can she have some of this French toast?" This absolutely drove me nuts. I gave her a very serious look and said "if she could have French toast, I would have ordered it for her". I know that was rather harsh, and my aunt looked taken aback, but I am not sorry I said it.

Does this happen to anyone else and what do you do about it? I am referring to telling a relative that your child can only eat xyz food and then 15 minutes later your relative asks if they can have some other food. This is specific to relatives, because if it were a friend I would stop seeing them if they could not remember this simple fact. I don`t even expect my aunt to remember exactly what dd is allergic to. I just expect her to remember that dd`s diet is severely restricted. Also want to add that since dd is 12 and not 3 years old, I think it is bothering her more and more to watch people eat food she cannot have. We had hoped she would outgrow milk allergy by now, but she hasn`t.

Any ideas? This aunt is so nice, and has even offered to watch dd and learn the epipen. Obviously I would NEVER allow it. I am tired of going over it and over with her every time that NO, dd cannot have anything other than fruit (this is at a coffee shop).

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 5:27am
gw_mom3's picture
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Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

That is so frustrating! I don't know what it is that makes people completely lose their brain cells when it comes to what our kids can and can't have. My mil is the same way but we never eat with her so we don't have to deal with it. She buys the kids lays stax and every time we go there she gives that to them. She doesn't want to bother learning all the different things they can and can't have, so she just gets the same thing all the time. No biggie to me because I would rather she didn't give them anything.
For some reason that reminds me of people who, upon being told that dd can't have anything with peanuts, says 'well can she have peanut butter?'. duhhhh....
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[b]~Gale~[/b]

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 5:30am
SallyL's picture
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Joined: 02/20/2006 - 09:00

I have to deal with that sometimes too. I don't know how old your aunt is, but when dealing with some of our older relatives (in their early 60s, worse even for grandparents in their 80/90s) it's like talking to a brick wall. I find that many of them have never heard of or dealt with fatal food allergies. Heck, I never knew a single person growing up that had a peanut allergy. When we discuss the allergy with our aunts/uncles (DD's great aunts/uncles) we are met with blank stares. They are really sweet, kind people but just can't wrap their heads around serious food allergies. Just not something they've ever had to deal with.

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 5:35am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I feel your pain.
For us, it was my MIL.... we could see that particular train wreck coming a mile away, BTW.... the [i]CONSTANT[/i] asking, "Can't she have XXXXX?"
"Not even a taste of YYYYY?? Really? But how could ZZZZ possibly have XXXXX in it?? I make it all the time and it's fine."
DD was too young for it to have registered with her at the time, but it was clear to us how hurtful such comments would become as DD got older. Now we find that it really does hurt when a family member or close friend simply can't remember the most basic information at all.
Aughhh.
We tend to avoid food-oriented situations with this type of person, honestly. It is either that or resigning yourself to offering up the same damned explanation every time-- to the point where it almost seems like a cruel running joke to everyone else. You know it's bad when the waitstaff at your favorite restaurant can offer your explanation to this person [i]verbatim.[/i] KWIM? I guess, on the bright side, this does mean that you can trust your server. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 5:51am
jtolpin's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Im not in this boat. I can't comment from MY POV.
Does that happen to us, from your question? I guess not. We don't allow it to happen, really.
What does your 12 yo child say about the whole thing, is more the question >I< would ask...
Jason
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[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 6:03am
booandbrimom's picture
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Joined: 08/23/2000 - 09:00

I have had people who seemed to want to willfully avoid or forget the topic of food allergies, but honestly this seems different. Have you considered that your aunt may be in the early stages of Alzheimer's?
These conversations sound very similar to those I had with my MIL years ago when her Alzheimer's first started but before she was diagnosed.

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 7:02am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I am thinking about everyone`s responses. Here is what really bothers me. We all feel our children`s pain that they cannot eat what others eat. Whether our child is just pa or they are mfa, there are things they cannot have. I am not at all food oriented, but sure, I like a tasty restaurant meal. I try to be sensitive to dd and order something she would never want, like a spinach omelette. When my aunt said can she have the French toast after I had already explained 15 minutes before, I wanted to sarcastically say, "oh yes, she can have it. I am a mean mom who wants to deprive her child of food, so I order her only fruit even though she can safely eat French toast." Does it not cross my aunt`s mind that if the French toast were safe, I would not have ordered only fruit for dd?
Interesting about the Alzheimers. My aunt is very sharp for age 75ish. She came to Los Angeles to be an actress and drives all over to auditions and memorizes lines. Driving in Los Angeles is not easy. It is so easy to get lost here and people drive like they are crazy. I guess that doesn`t mean she could not have early Alzheimers...that is something to think about.
Bottom line is I am offended that she would imply that dd could safely eat something other than fruit at that restaurant and I am choosing to make dd eat only fruit. What she said implied that dd`s severely restricted restaurant diet is not truly necessary. I wanted to say "oh yes, I really enjoy depriving my dd" (sarcastically).

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 7:32am
Christabelle's picture
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Joined: 10/03/2004 - 09:00

Older people sometimes think they've seen and heard it all, that anything new like PA is just overprotective whippersnapper stuff, and they know better.
How many have heard them say, we drank during pregnancy and all was fine? We smoked and all was fine... What is with this newfangled carseat business? How many resist seatbelts, can't except current research.... etc. To them, maybe, PA just doesn't register because it's just some newfangled disease which has to be an overreaction.
They still want to put clouds of talcum powder all over baby (can get in lungs) and have them learn to walk with a walker for babies (can be deadly.)
New info, research, conditions, safety precautions, etc, almost seems like an afront to what they always knew to be true.
At least it seems to me.

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 7:50am
newhope4life's picture
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Joined: 02/07/2007 - 09:00

Belive it or not I have to go through this with my own mother who saw me almost die several times...now understand I was diagnosed almost 35 years ago and her method of seeing if food was safe was to touch it to my lip and if I immediately got a hive I took benedryl, passed out, and didn't eat it. Some people just don't/won't get it for whatever reason. Be firm and unapologetic for protecting your daughter...as lovely as your aunt sounds I would give up the idea of her "getting" it and just continue on...if you go to brunch just expect you WILL have to answer the same questions over and over. Sorry not to helpful...lol...guess I had my own rant to go on. Blessings, Beth

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 7:54am
booandbrimom's picture
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Joined: 08/23/2000 - 09:00

Well...I did have a thought...
You could call your aunt and tell her that you've been very concerned because you've noticed that she doesn't seem to retain information about your daughter's food allergies. You've heard that these types of memory lapses could be a sign of Alzheimer's. Would she consider being tested?
One of two things will happen. She'll either say "oh, I'm so glad you've brought that up, I've been very worried about the possibility" or she'll be absolutely horrified that you would think that, in which case my guess is that her memory will magically improve on your next outing.
If she forgets again...you raise the Alzheimer's thing again.
If it truly is insensitivity, problem solved. If it's really Alzheimer's, then believe me - the best thing you can do is have a frank conversation now.

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2007 - 8:49am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

As I was reading your post, the word "dementia" kept coming into my head, too.
It must be very frustrating--and so hurtful to your DD to keep hearing it over and over. Ugh.

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