Heartbroken

Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 7:57am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pWhat an absolutely rotten PA day. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]/p
pFirst, at church, I sat next to my SIL (the OCD one who should be the last person to 'not get' the PA) and during class she was signing Valentine's cards for her Jr. church kids and stuffing the envelopes with MMs Crispys (may contain warning). After she finished, she leaned over and said "He can't have these, right? I figured since they're MMs, he can't." I read the bag in front of her and pointed out the label. She sealed his envelope without 'stuffing' his. I was just so disappointed. She, of all people, should have been more considerate and not even bought them. There is so much other Valentine's candy to choose from. Why MM's? I was shaking from being upset, and from being scared to let my son out of my sight for fear of a contact reaction. I know now that I'm going to be a total basket case when he starts school - not because he's going to school, just because I'll be afraid for his life everyday!!!!! (Another topic altogether, sorry.)/p
pSecond, (this goes along with the preschool thread I have in Schools) I found out - also while at church - that my son's preschool teacher "has a name for Nathanael... Peanut Boy." That is a direct quote from the preschool teacher's daughter. My heart broke in two. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] I am so saddened by this. I knew the day would come that some kind of 'name' would surface, but I never expected it to be from one of his 'teachers'. It's very possible that she meant it in a way similar to "So and so, the red-head" (just an example), but it still hurts. (Cindy, you've been through this kind of thing, I know. How did you handle it?) Should I talk it over with his teacher? I'm already going to have to talk with her about pulling him out of her preschool - for lots of other reasons. Should I even bother to say anything if he will no longer be in her classes? /p
pI'll see her in the morning - we're going to try to finish out this month of preschool - but at this point I don't know if I'll be able to look her in the eye, let alone talk to her about all this. Sorry for going on so long, but thanks for listening, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated./p

Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 8:28am
Triciasmom's picture
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Joined: 08/03/2000 - 09:00

Wow. Don't you just wish sometimes that you could wave a magic wand and make people be more sensitive and understanding?!
I think that people who don't have to worry about PA every day really don't and can't understand.
Your son's preschool teacher is really insensitive to refer to him as "peanut boy." That is totally out of line. I would get as far away from her as possible. Sure, it's a little like refering to a child as a "red-head," but it feels more like "that retarded kid."
It's hard, but you need to shake off these incidences. Don't let them eat you alive. I do that a lot, and then I need to take a few steps back. I am guilty of being too sensitive most of the time.
So I guess I would suggest that you give your son a big hug, get him away from that preschool teacher, and tell the teacher how you feel. She won't change if she doesn't realize that she is offending you. Some people are just oblivious to other people's feelings.
I know that I will have to face stuff like you just went through when Patricia gets older. I plan to be blunt with people who offend me. After all, PA isn't just a minor nuisance -- it can be life or death.
Big hugs to you!
Amy

Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 9:37am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Lam, I am just about as heartbroken as you are right now about your son, so I can't even respond "properly" right now. Now, I did start a thread when it first happened, and it should be under Living with PA also. I think it was "peanut kid". Anyway, I also know that Rilira's daughter is called "nut girl".
I'm not clear how she feels about that.
I do know that I had been away from the board for some time and went back in to the peanut kid thread and I got a different perspective from other PA parents. They didn't mind their child being labeled this way because they knew that at least the person who was doing the labeling recognized that their child was, in fact, PA.
There is a BIG difference, however, in what has happened to me with Jesse being labeled "that way" and what has happened with your son. I believe it was, two instances, both of which were other parents, who said, "oh, he's the "peanut kid"." I can somewhat accept this from other parents (I consider them an ignorant lot where I live anyway), but I certainly WOULD NOT, COULD NOT, SHOULD NOT (do you hear echoes of Green Eggs and Ham in there?) accept it from Jesse's teacher!
To me, that is absolutely disgusting. Big difference.
Also, this has only happened to me twice that he has been labeled this way, although I'm sure that he is among the other parents and I just don't know about it. I do believe that Rilira had suggested a different way of responding, instead of saying "Yes" to "Is he the peanut kid?" - something like "No, this is Jesse and he is allergic to peanuts". I'm not sure what I would be like if it happened to me all the time. Actually, if it happened all the time, my head would probably explode.
And again, it has been from parents, not his teacher.
I'm sorry, now, when I get angry in here, I have to leave and come back and post later.
I'm extremely angry right now. I know that I have a lot of things I would like to address about in your post and I've found that if I sit back and actually make notes and then come back in when my house quietens down (somewhat), my response is a lot better than if I let myself go into rant mode, which I definitely would now.
I am also going to contact Rilira and ask her if she could offer you some suggestions too.
I am so sorry, Lam. I know sorta how you're feeling, but again, I find it even less acceptable that this came from a teacher (of course, I understand they're only human and yadda yadda, but still! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] )
I'll be back (with an Arnold accent, please).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 9:42am
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Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

I am so sorry for you! How terrible! Sometimes it is hardest to get family to understand. That was very insensitive of your SIL. I would give it some time and then talk to her about it.
The situation with the teacher is just totally unspeakable! That is just awful. I would talk to her also and possibly even to her supervisor. She really needs some sensitivity training.
In the special ed. field the motto is to put the child first. In other words...a child with hearing loss, not a deaf child or a child with CP, not a the CP child. You get the picture. I guess we are all a little guilty of that when we refer to our PA children instead of our children who have PA.
I think in these situations we need to react the way that we want our children to react. Deal with it calmly, let people know how it makes you feel. Hopefully by modeling, our children will be able to do the same as they assume more responsibility for the allergy. You were right not to react right away when you felt upset. I was so angry with my son's teacher once and my heart was pounding out of my chest. I knew if I spoke to her then, I would probably cry and take the focus off the real issue.
Good luck and let us know how you handle it.

Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 12:02pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thank you so much for your quick, but very thoughtful! responses. I'll sleep a little better thanks to your support!
I still don't know how I'll handle having to see his teacher in the morning. I know I won't say anything right then, but I don't even know if I'll be able to look at her.
I want to post more, but I'm really worn out from worrying about this all day. I'll post more tomorrow. Thanks again for your support and suggestions. You all are great.

Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 1:21pm
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Joined: 02/11/2001 - 09:00

Wow, I can relate on so many levels. First and foremost, I yanked two of my kids out of a day care situation where there was much insensitivity and ignorance. (I trained both directors on all aspects, only to find out, they never passed much information on to their staff, who when I quizzed them months later, didn't even know my son had medications at all, let alone, where they were kept.)
I visited a home daycare provider that same week, still shaking, and when I described why I had left the other situation, can you believe she waved an epi-pen from another child in her care and said "already got one!"
I know that was incredible good fortune.
Regarding the church lady, my style might be to write her a letter, really pouring my heart out. It is easier for me that way, and leaves a lasting impression.
Hang in there. My public school has been mostly wonderful, takes some work and diligence on my part, but they have been very supportive. Don't forget, that in school, there are many other children in dire circumstances (seizure disorders, diabetic, asthma, who knows what else since it is confidential.) Schools are becoming more aware of special needs. Post here if you run into trouble though.
Best wishes. Don't forget to see how your kid is feeling. Mine was usually blissfully unaware of these types of issues, esp. at that young age. That somehow kept things in perspective.

Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 3:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Lam, okay, I have settled down enough and also posted a response to another thread of yours so I feel I can finally attempt to answer this without getting angry or going into rant mode.
I really don't understand about your SIL and the M&M's. Why is it that family, especially, seems not to think? Yes, there are many other candies that she could have put in the envelope, and, at the very least, knowing that your son couldn't have what she had brought for everyone else, she should have had a substitute treat for him. Actually, considering that she's family and she didn't have a substitute treat (bad enough that she bought the bloody M&M's to begin with), it's shameful. I know I have read somewhere on this board a good link to a website that apparently has good information to give to family members in particular. Perhaps your SIL needs some.
When your son's preschool teacher's daughter told you her Mother's name for Nathanael - Peanut Boy, is there ANY way that she could have been mistaken? Is there any way that her Mother could have said Nathanael, the boy that is allergic to peanuts? How old is the daughter? Actually, I don't think I have a point here because the words are SO clear and what I'm suggesting could have come out of her Mother's mouth is greatly different.
You mentioned that you are pulling your son out of this preschool anyway. Do the other reasons have to do with PA? Any of them?
Regardless of why you're pulling your son out of the preschool, I still believe that you have to speak to the preschool teacher about her labeling of Nathanael. This will, of course not benefit you or Nathanael. But, it will benefit any PA child that should follow, hopefully.
You could tell her how insensitive and hurtful the labeling of your child in this way was. How upsetting it is. How you wouldn't want your child to hear this, especially from his TEACHER. I would definitely say something. Now, if you don't think that you can do it verbally, I would sit down and very calmly write her a letter.
If you feel you can't do that, come back in here and post and ask us all here to help you write the letter. You have overwhelming support and assistance here, Lam, believe me.
Does this pre-school teacher have a supervisor? I believe this should also be brought to his/her attention if she does have one.
Your child's teacher should always be describing your son as Nathanael, the boy who is allergic to peanuts, if labeling of his allergy is required at all. The way she chose to do it is reprehensible.
PattyR., do you label your child a PA child when you're not on this site, or only when we're in discussion on this site? I know that I only use the wording PA Child on this site and this site alone. Otherwise, if I have to refer to Jesse's allergy at all, it's Jesse and he's allergic to peanuts. I think PA only fits on this board actually because most other people wouldn't know what we are talking about!
Imalulu, I completely agree with you and what you said about your child being blissful while you were feeling the hurt and upset. This has happened to me SO many times. I have been upset, angry, hurt, whatever about a situation to do with Jesse related to PA and Jesse is, as you put it, blissfully unaware. But, I think that's because of their age and one day they won't be so blissfully unaware. It's those days coming that I fear most, but am also preparing myself for.
Also, Lam, in trying to educate our community or schools or preschools about our child and their allergy, it is almost inevitable that some ignorant person is going to come up with a convenient label. We, ourselves, by attempting to ensure the safety of our children are in part responsible for stigmatizing them. I do not feel badly about this if it means it will save my son's life.
I do feel badly about it if it means my son is going to be called Peanut Boy by his teacher. I believe I would have some leeway for "regular" people through life that labeled Jesse in this manner, although I haven't been presented with that label in awhile so I'm not totally clear. "Regular" people are not the educators of our children, although the educators are, in fact, "regular" people. I will accept labeling, I think, from other parents, although I think I would try Rilira's approach and try to correct the wording of it on the spot. But, I would not accept, in any way, shape, or form, the labeling of my child in such a way by his TEACHER. Again, it is disgusting. It is inexcusable.
Does the teacher of my friend's daughter say, oh, this is The Club Foot Kid? No, I'm sure she bloody doesn't. I'm sure even your pre-school teacher wouldn't say that? Why can't they see/speak/feel the same way about PA as they do about physical disabilities?
And this has nothing to do with political correctness. This has to do with a young child's feelings and the feelings of a parent that is dealing with a very stressful allergy.
You also mentioned that you are scared about sending Nathanael to school. Please don't be. You will be okay. So will Nathanael.
First of all, you have this site and you can come in here and post every question, months in advance to get ready for that first day of school. Depending on where you live, you can ensure his safety with a 504 plan if you so choose and there are wonderful guidelines currently on this board that would help you get one implemented. If you live in Canada, you have school board policies that may or may not ensure your son's safety by providing him with either a "peanut free" classroom (as Jesse has) or a "peanut free" school.
When does Nathanael go to school? If it isn't until September, Lam, we have so much time and so many people here to help you sort this out. Rilira has a wonderful 26 point 504 Plan outlined under Schools that she had implemented for her daughter. If you are in Canada, we can obtain a copy of the school board policy and see what we can get implemented. You have to decide what you feel you need to feel safe about sending Nathanael to school. I know, for me, I needed at least the "peanut free" classroom.
I would actually like a "peanut free" school, but I am not able to get that. And having Jesse in a "peanut free" classroom, in no way gives me a false sense of security.
I think I managed to say everything I had to say. You aren't meeting with the teacher tomorrow re pulling Nathanael out of the preschool are you? It's just that he's going tomorrow and you feel you won't be able to look her in the eyes tomorrow morning. That's okay. Let's just get you prepared to deal with her labeling of your son when you either go to the meeting re his leaving the preschool or before that. It doesn't have to be tomorrow.
Oh, and do you have Nathanael signed up in the Canadian Smarties thread? If you don't, I would purposely sign him up in there to get Smarties that you could give to the SIL! It's one of my passive aggressive techniques, but I'm really upset that again, another family member just doesn't "get it". So, all of the other children got treats except her nephew and even then you had to fear a contact reaction. Simply grand.
Also, if you want to contact me off-the-board any time, please feel free to do so. You have received overwhelming support in this thread, though, Lam and I think you'll have a lot of people helping you sort through things as you get ready for Nathanael to go to school.
Oh, that's the other thing that ticks me off.
Sorry, here she goes now into rant mode. I don't know if you have to have Nathanael in preschool or not because of work commitments or if it was because you wanted to present your son with an opportunity outside of the home. I have seen so many PA parents in here, trying really hard for their children to lead "normal" lives by going to Baby Gym and other things. And I see a lot of these same parents coming in as sad as you are to-day. What I think is really positive is that we keep trying regardless of what seems like endless obstacles presented to us, to have our children lead "normal" lives. You have to pat yourself on the shoulder for that at least!
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sun, 02/11/2001 - 10:52pm
e-mom's picture
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Joined: 04/23/2000 - 09:00

Lam,
Ask the teacher this question. Would she like it if someone treated her child that way? I bet not. Saying this about your child especially in front of the other children and parents is setting a precedent to them that it's ok to call him that! Please let her know that IT'S NOT OK!!!
Teachers (this is coming from the teachers that I actually know) are supposed to have a relationship with their classroom of kids like they were her own. Teachers claim that they became a teacher because they love children and love teaching.
Teachers are definitely not in it for the money!!

Posted on: Mon, 02/12/2001 - 12:00am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Lam - If my SIL did something like that, I wouldn't have been able to keep myself from becoming confrontational on the spot! How rude to select a candy that not only leaves your son out, but is unsafe for him, too!
Perhaps if you explain it like this to your SIL, she *might* understand.
You're having a dinner party, and your SIL is invited. Now make sure you prepare only the foods she intensely dislikes, so she can't eat anything, but everyone else really enjoys. Wouldn't she feel a tad left out? And how rude of you not to take her food likes and dislikes into consideration when selecting the dinner party menu. Oh well, she may be hungry, and feeling left out, but at least it won't kill her... Or will it? What if she was allergic to some of the food? There, now she's not only left out, but she could end up in the hospital from a contact reaction! Now she can't enjoy the evening at all! She must be on guard for a reaction, plus she must deal with the hurt feelings of being left out, due to someone else's inconsiderate behaviour.
Why don't you tell your SIL to get all the other kids Christmas presents next year, but leave out Nathaneal! Why not?! What's the difference!
As for the teacher, well, she might get on the defensive, but she needs to understand that she could be giving the impression to the other kids, that Nathaneal is fair game for nicknames, some of which will be hurtful to him in the future. You will be doing another child a favour, if you write her a letter, explaining your feelings, so that she will not label another child in the future.
My Mom always called Cayley "my little peanut" until her PA diagnosis. The very 1st time she said it after the diagnosis, she looked at me and said "I guess I shouldn't call ther THAT anymore!". If she does slip, Cayley says "I'm allergic to peanuts, so I can't be your peanut anymore". My Mom completely understands. No one likes to be identified by their allergy! What if the teacher had a bee sting allergy, and everyone called her "The Bee Sting Teacher". Oh, THAT would go over well.
Good luck Lam, and I can see why you're heartbroken. Take care, Carolyn

Posted on: Mon, 02/12/2001 - 1:31am
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Joined: 02/22/2001 - 09:00

Lam--I agree that you should talk to your son's teacher when you have a clear head and can remain calm. I know it sounds terrible hearing that your son's preschool teacher calls him the "peanut kid" but you are also getting this information from (I'm assuming) a young child. I would ask to speak to the teacher and tell her what her daughter said and ask her to explain it. If she in fact refers to your son as the "peanut kid" on a regular basis, then there is definitely a problem that needs to be dealt with. Even if you decide to take your son out of the preschool, I still think you should bring this up to the teacher. At least for your own peace of mind. Take care, Deanna

Posted on: Mon, 02/12/2001 - 1:51am
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Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

Cindy,
I definitely do not refer to my son as my PA son and I am not trying to be critical of anyone here. I do it here at the web site as well. I guess my point is that there are others who visit the site and if we don't want ours kids to be referred to that way we shouldn't do it here. I hope this isn't taken the wrong way, I too have always said my PA son at this site because it is quick and easy to do it that way but in the back of my mind, it has always rubbed me the wrong way.

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