Horrible 4th....now what?!


Yesterday we went to my brother's house for the 4th. My mother reminded my SIL not to have peanuts or nuts because of my DS. My whole family knows exactly what he is allergic to-peanuts, dogs, cats, horses, pollen, ragweed and mold. So, when we got there I checked out the food table. Of course, there were two pans of bars marked WITH NUTS on them. One was fudge and the other I did not look at because I assumed it was tree nuts. He is not allergic to tree nuts and she had them on the counter where the little kids could not get them so I was ok with it. Well, 4 or so hours later I went in the house and my mother quickly stuffed something in her mouth so I would not see. I asked her what she was eating, she did not answer, so I lifted the cover off the pan of bars I thought contained tree nuts. To my surprise there they were PEANUTS. I asked her why she was eating those and she said she could not resist ONE. My SIL was standing there and said my mother had been eating them all day. I was so upset I said "Thank you for putting my child's life in danger." I told my husband we were leaving.

All of our stuff was at my mother's house a few blocks away. We were going to stay overnight, but my husband blew up and said we were not. He was first upset at me because he did not know why I was so angry. My mother was home by then and said she was sorry for eating them. Of course, I was also upset with my SIL. But, my mother has read a few books I have given her so she knows exactly what can happen to him and how fast it can happen. By the way, we go there frequently and she still has nuts and peanut butter in her house.

My mother always thinks she is right and I am always wrong. I am 36 and she still thinks she can control my life including my children. She even tells me how to get their hair cut.

Anyway, I am at the end of my rope explaining to my family about his allergies. Like I have posted about my family before, they think everything is a joke and don't take anything seriously. My oldest brother is the only one who seems to understand. You would think, if they were concerned about it, they would want to know everything about it.

I guess, if my mother ever contacts me, I am going to tell her she can't have any peanut stuff around at all. We go there so often that peanut gunk could be anywhere. My DH is finally on my side about this whole thing. The whole way home last night to our house I was crying telling him no one understands but me how severe it is because I was the only one to see his initial reaction. Since his testing in April, he has become more allergic than before, a 4 out of 5.

What would you do? I know some of you are comfortable taking your kids where there are nuts and peanuts, but I am not. The nearest hospital is 20 minutes away from my mother's house, too far for me. We live 1 minute away from a hospital. I am most comfortable in my own home and probably will be for a long time.

Thanks for listening!! You opinion would be most helpful.

On Jul 5, 2004

What a miserable experience you had. I'm sorry you had to go through this. I know how it feels. I've been dealing with the PA for 6 years now, and I've come to understand that *most* people do not understand that any allergy can be dangerous. They picture a little sneezing like a ragweed allergy and that's it. It's almost impossible to ask someone to stop eating a peanut product like your mom did. It's going in her body, not your son's. Yes, you and I know what could happen, but this idea hasn't sinked into *her* yet, and it may never will, unless she sees a reaction, or unless there's a major education campaign going on. I'm lucky, in Quebec, there's a lot of awareness, but it's not the case elsewhere. And my parents were not targetted by the campaign, because it was done at the day-care and school level. So yes, I did find my dad shelling peanuts on the balcony once. He's never done it since, even though nothing happened. And that's the worse, if nothing happens, they will think you're making it up.

On Jul 5, 2004

seanmn, how terrible that this is how you spent your 4th. I think its time you stand your ground and tell them if that from now on they can choose what they have at family gatherings....peanuts, or your family. If they have any problems with that decision then you don't want to be there.

I have a friend whose mother tries to control her as well, so I can imagine what you go through. The only way it will stop, is when it stops working.

I agree with darthcleo, though, most people don't get it to the extent we do. And as far as that goes, until I came to this site, we still had p.b. in the house, etc. I about went into shock when I started reading these boards. So if we don't all totally get it at first, its hard to expect others to. But if they know you mean business and you aren't coming if there are peanuts, maybe they will think twice about how serious it is.

Good luck, and I hope you are feeling better. Stand your ground!

On Jul 5, 2004

Well first of all there is NO way she would ever get her hands on my son again if it was me in your situation. My family would never do such a terrible thing. I do feel so bad for you because we had such a wonderful time and wish you had as well. I watched Chris eating food all day long and he was having such a great time with all the family,. We were even with complete strangers on Saturday (long story) SIL relatives. I over heard them all talking about how serious my sons allergies are. I didn't want to let them know i was listening to them because I wanted to see what they had to say. They were all warned by my SIL and my brother as to what dangers there would be if he got into any unsafe foods. They made a ton of safe foods just because they love children and wanted a good safe day. I thanked them later in the day and they were so nice. Good luck to you and i feel so bad for what you own mother did to you and your son. It sounds like she is a "ME" person and I have no use for that life style. good luck and you had every right to leave angry. take careCLaire

On Jul 5, 2004

I am so sorry to hear about what happened. I think if I were you, I would feel betrayed. Your mother reminds SIL not to have peanuts, then when they are there, you mother eats them? My take, and obviously I don`t know the people involved, is that some people`s lives REVOLVE around food. I was not brought up that way, but it seems like since my daughter became pa 4 years ago, the people who give us the hardest time are the ones who are food obsessed. This is apparent when there is a problem with another parent in school or in my daughter`s brownie troop which I posted about a year ago, and finally pulled her out of. The leaders were food obsessed control freaks and every event there was a mega discussion about peanuts.

As far as what to do, what I would do is on the next occasion that you are invited over, tell SIL or mother, that you need to know if peanuts will be served in any form. If so, you will not be able to put your child in such an unsafe situation. This makes it clear, that you are not doing it out of spite, you are doing it because it is your job to keep your child safe. If they beat around the bush, you just tell them "is that a yes or a no?". If it is yes (having peanuts or can`t be sure or might have peanuts), I would say something like, "I am so sorry but given how dangerous that would be for ___________, we, of course, will not be able to come and put ______ in such an unsafe situation." On the other hand if they say no (no peanuts), you go, and if you see peanuts you leave. That is my opinion, this topic comes up from time to time on these boards, and I always say actions speak louder than words. If they serve them and you stay, the message to them is "this is not really all that unsafe". I would not feel safe taking my dd to an event with peanut products. For one thing, the relatives always want to kiss her. Sometimes I don`t see it in time to stop them. Reactions have been reported from kissing if the kisser has eaten peanuts. If peanuts were served I would leave. About pb in your mother`s house, I personally would not have a problem with it, as long as it was put away before you came and was not brought out until after you left. I don`t think I would care if they ate pb when my dd was not there as long as it was at least 24 hours before.

[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited July 05, 2004).]

On Jul 5, 2004

Thank you for your support. I need it today. All I had was nightmares last night about what a terrible parent I am.

By the way, my DS has had PA since the age of 16 months and turned 4 in March, so my mother and the rest of the family has had plenty of time to get educated about it.

She is a "ME" person for sure. She does a lot of things so she gets praise. She also does not want any "fights" in the family. I would imagine it would look bad on her. Even though she has not spoken to her own brother and sister for over 15 years.

Thanks again

On Jul 5, 2004

seanmn, I agree with everyone else. I am so sorry this happened to you and that your holiday was ruined. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] It sounds like they don't get it. But, since your mom has already read books about pa, it seems hopeless to try to educate her any further. At this point I do think I would insist that all family gatherings must be peanut free if your family is to attend.

I'm so sorry that you are going through such a hard time.

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] Miriam

On Jul 5, 2004

seanmn, I am so sorry to hear about the horrible 4th of July you had. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

In reading your first post and then others that followed, of course I had questions [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] but you did answer them in your subsequent post about the age your son was diagnosed and how old he is now.

Yes, your Mother has had plenty of time to "get it".

Do you normally go to see her that often?

I honestly don't know what it took for my MIL to "get it". She was in denial for quite some time, along with her son (my DH) about the severity of our son's PA.

She did have enough sense, when Jesse was about 2, to scoot him out of my SIL's when my SIL decided her girls were all eating pb sandwiches that day. But I still don't think she really "got it".

She had a friend tell her that Jesse would outgrow his allergy and when she repeated this to me, I explained that no, Jesse would not be in the 20% to outgrow his allergy because of his anaphylactic reactions.

I haven't lived close to my MIL for 6 years now. My own Mother it's been 3 years now.

But, when we were going to my MIL's to visit during March break this year (a wee journey for us, but a journey regardless), she even got on the phone to my son and reassured him how her house would be "safe" for him when he came to visit.

If she did have pb in her house before our visit, it was gone when we came. She had scrubbed down everything just in case of residue. The only thing that even presented a problem was that she did have a lot of "may contains" in the house - bakery goods and stuff like that.

When my son mentioned to her that he didn't feel comfortable with her eating them, she washed her hands right afterward and very nicely told Jess how she had washed herself well and that he would be okay.

For some reason, during our trip, which I did post about here, Jesse had PA related fears that he NEVER has at home or in places that we go into here. Many PA adults posting here told me that it was perfectly *normal* given that he wasn't at home or in a city that he knew (really remembered).

I honestly don't know if it has just been many conversations through the years with the woman or if when she has come to visit how she sees Jess strap on his Epi-belt every day or what, but to me, she really "gets it" and I'm quite thankful for that.

We are about to move closer to family within the month and I'm actually not looking forward to moving closer to my SIL again. I'm really not clear what she's going to be like about my son's PA and I'll be here posting if and when my head does explode.

I liked what Carefulmom had to say - that basically you give your Mother a very clear statement about peanuts or us. Then, the ball is in her court and if she does decide to serve peanuts when she's said that she wouldn't, you leave, end of story (although not really because it is terribly heartbreaking [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ).

Carefulmom just worded it so clearly and calmly and I think that is what is needed because it is SO emotionally charged and people don't understand what we're getting so upset about.

I've resisted peanut products (mostly because I didn't care for them anyway), but also tree nuts (which I do miss, and which my PA son is not allergic to) for 5 years, so the "I couldn't resist" argument isn't okay with me at all. You can resist something when it means the life of your grandchild.

Somehow in the mix too is your SIL and how there were peanuts and tree nuts there (although kudos, yes, for the tree nuts being put "up").

I am not okay with my son being around other people eating peanut products and he's 8-1/2. To-day, an odd thing happened to us and I certainly don't have to tell the whole story as I usually do, but we ended up going through a drive-through at McDonald's for chocolate sundaes. Well, when you order (which I wasn't, because Idiot Woman here doesn't drive [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ), I guess you have to say "no peanuts please" at the drive-through because when the sundaes were handed to the woman driving at the window, we got four sundaes and four packages of crushed peanuts (I knew that the peanuts were in separate sealed plastic bag things).

But still, the sight of them even freaked me out. I knew that they couldn't contaminate the sundaes. But it was just knowing that they were there. Can't really explain it, but can only used the loaded gun analogy again. Like the served the sundaes with a gun through the window as well.

I believe my son is aware and empowered about his allergy and that he is quite responsible. But I also like the security, if you will, of knowing certain things and one of them would be that if we're going into a house, that it is peanut free, if only for the short time that we're there.

My MIL kept her home peanut free for a week for us and I'm sure she didn't feel the need to run out and buy peanut products as soon as we left, so it can be done.

I'm so sorry that your day was ruined, especially when a lot of members did have very good days yesterday.

I like the advice that you got. Also, from your last post, sounds as though you're waiting for your Mom to call you (don't know how often you normally speak), and I also think that's a good idea. Just so you can calm down (one time, I had a PA incident, and I had to unplug my phone for several hours or overnight because I simply could not deal with the person and I knew that she would call me after what happened).

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Jul 5, 2004

In regards to your questions, my mother sees the kids almost every week and we talk or e-mail each other daily. In the beginning I cut her some slack because it was not easy for us to get used to, but it's not ok anymore for her to eat them on purpose when we are around.

I also freak out whenever I see a peanut.

I don't know if I should send all my family more information on it or not. I don't know if it would help, but maybe if I put on it that he could die within minutes of coming in contact with it, they would get the hint. It's unbelieveable to me that strangers or other people we come in contact with are more concerned then the people in my own family.

On Jul 5, 2004

seanmn, sorry, me again. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img]

Okay, so your son has been going to his Grandmother's once a week basically since his diagnosis and she's always had the same peanut eating habit? I mean, not blatantly eating them while your son is in her home, but her home has never been "peanut free", wiped of residue, or anything?

Has your son ever had a reaction or anything that may come to mind that may have been PA related because of his weekly visits to your Mother?

(I just realized this year, SIX YEARS LATER, that my son's two asthma attacks *may* have been PA related, but kinda hard to tell now, six years later, it was just something that dawned on me. I also just realized within the last week that what I thought was an anaphylactic reaction to residue 1-1/2 years ago at school was actually an ingestion reaction as far as I can tell).

Okay, in assuming that your son has been okay all of the times that he has visited at your Mom's house, the reason you now want her home to be more like yours (if you will) and her not to eat peanut products before your son comes over is because of what happened at your SIL's?

Sorry, trying to word really carefully so as not to offend, but also trying to figure out.

Have you heard from your Mom to-day? Would you normally have heard from her by now?

If you see your Mom weekly, does that mean that you live fairly close? What about to the SIL (and sorry, but is she married to your brother?)?

If you read posts by Claire, she lives very close (and I shouldn't be speaking on behalf of Claire and she can certainly correct me if I have any of the information wrong) to her in-laws (next door, I believe) and yet, she doesn't, for the most part, see them. PA does factor into this decision (not clear if that is the only reason that she does not see them often).

Do you think you'd be able to give your Mom the "peanuts or us" words?

You also mentioned, I believe, that your son is allergic to cats, dogs, and horses. Do either your Mom or your SIL have any pets? If they do, what do they do about their pets when your son comes to their homes?

See, here's what I'm thinking. If your son has always been okay, and he has seen your Mother weekly since time began, and all of a sudden you have some new wishes that you would like followed when you visit, you're Mother is either going to wonder why all of a sudden or she's going to KNOW that it was because of what happened at the SIL's.

Not that that matters bottom line - the health/life of your son is much more important.

It's kinda like she is going to know why all of a sudden things have changed so even though you can use the "peanuts or us" words, it's going to also have to be said, in some way, "hey, you screwed up badly at the SIL's yesterday, Mom, and because of that we are so uncomfortable that....."

Otherwise, I do think that she could take your wishes as being angry or vindictive based on her total lack of judgement (caring, concern, etc.) yesterday.

Do you know what I mean?

(To whoever posted above, yes, there have been reactions to kissing, amongst, um, other things).

Just really still sad about the whole situation for you, seanmn. Big hugs. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Jul 5, 2004

Included the link for one of the threads re reactions from kissing, this one in particular because it really struck home with me at the time:-


seanmn, how do you feel your SIL "gets it" re PA? Well?

See, if your Mom has already read books you have given her (more than my MIL or Mom would do and they do love their Grandson), what other information could you possibly give her whereby she'll "get it"?

The only thing I can think of (and the kissing threads might actually be useful and *good*), are the Media ones where deaths have been reported. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Jul 5, 2004

My mother usually comes to visit us, ever since my son has had PA. He has never been there without me or my DH. We usually just go to her house on holidays or during the summer a couple of weekends. She lives an hour away.

I guess yesterday I had just had it. It has been a very stressful year with my DS and myself and I am just sick of dealing with other peoples stupidity and finally blew up. I just had my DS to the doctor for a CT Scan for headaches. His doctor wanted to rule out cancer. What next for him?! Plus, I have gone through my own medical problems. I had to have a hysterectomy in January because of fear of cancer and I had to have a few operations before that. So, to make a long story short, it just angers me to no end that I have to keep defending my actions to family members who think they know more than me. I am just mentally exhausted with all of our medical issues while everyone else and their kids are healthy. It makes me wonder what I did wrong.

My mother, well my whole family, has a way of twisting your words around and making it sound like they are the victom or are being bothered.

Yes, everyone in my family has a dog. Yesterday, at least they either had the dog locked up or chained up.

Thanks for everyone's support, it has helped a lot.

Yes, I am waiting for my mother to call or e-mail today, it has not happened. I am not about to give into her again. If she want to talk to me, she will have to make the first move. I am not going to cave in this time. Whenever I am around my family they make me feel like a little kid again unable to make a decision without their opinion.

My other concern is that my 2 year old DS will be exposed without me knowing it. I can just see him picking up a peanut and eating it that someone dropped on the floor.

On Jul 5, 2004

seanmn, okay, it was the "straw that broke the camel's back". I can well understand why now. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

I understand about you being emotionally exhausted due to health stuff for you and your children.

This past eight months or so have been absolutely horrible for my children and I. We've gotten through it, and continue to do so, but when days or weeks go by even and my phone never rings, I sometimes feel as though no one cares whether we live or die. Seriously. And it is such an "alone" feeling that I can't even begin to explain unless someone else has been through something similar.

My SIL has twin daughters who just turned 11. The one twin, who came out second, they thought she was going to die (I'm not clear why, it was "before my time"). The little girl should really have had some physical therapy to help her motor skills on one side of her body (both her arm and leg are affected). My SIL has never tended to that.

Yet, when my MIL is in one of those moods, which come and go, I'm always the one who looks like BAD MOMMY even though I have had every physical ailment of my children's taken care of and dealt with.

My SIL will remove herself from her Mother. It's not done for any *good* reason, i.e., the safety of her children or a life and death situation. It's because my SIL, who is a middle-aged woman still cannot get over things that have happened to her when she was a child, oh so many years ago. When she's "in her cups" or whatever, things come to a head and she completely cuts herself off from her Mother (my MIL) for months at a time.

They just reconciled for a short period, only to have things blow up again this past week.

So, she's not a terrific example because she's removing herself from her Mother because she herself needs to "grown up" and "get over it" but I really think, if you can (and it does take a lot of strength), you may want to look at re-examining your relationship with your Mother.

I know that at one point in time, and hey, it's not a proud thing to post about, but I didn't speak with my Mother for four years. I believe at the end of the first year, near Christmas, I went to my parents home and tried to patch things up, because family is family, and only learned how my Mother had used our separation to tell my Father some things that I should have been the one to tell him, if anyone.

That was a very long time ago, pre-children, different marriage, etc. but I do know that for that period of time, for whatever reasons I felt I needed to be separate from my Mom, I did feel better.

If you're going through enough stuff of your own, you really don't need very difficult family dynamics entered into the mix at all.

A personal question and you don't have to answer (but perhaps it will be helpful to answer it in your head), how were your Mother and even SIL when your son had to go for the catscan or you had your surgery? Were they supportive? Were they *there* for you?

Now looking back at the four years that I didn't speak with my Mom, I don't think we were the same people as we are to-day. I can't imagine not speaking with her for four years. However, I can always tell that there is something there perhaps in the background, just always left unsaid, because I can still feel so alone (or maybe feel that my sister is always The Golden Child no matter what the wicked wench does [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] ).

I've posted this before in many different threads and perhaps you have read it. Although I am divorced from my first husband, my first marriage worked very well and ONE thing was really important to that. If either one of us were having difficulties with our parents (or say my parents had something crappy to say about him or vice versa), we stuck together, as a unit, and just basically said sod off.

So, although four years was the longest time I went without speaking with my Mother, there were many a year that we weren't speaking with either his parents or my parents or both. We made our lives/life together and we stuck to that. That was a marriage without children and without a life at stake.

Is your husband being supportive? Would he be okay with you if you chose to give your Mother the "peanuts or us" words? Would he stick by your decision, basically, so that the two of you could stick together?

If you look at one of KarenH.'s threads, it's about her parents, in Off Topic, and you can see how her and her DH's marriage works and how they are united when it comes to addressing the difficulties they are having with her parents (and again, not about PA, not about a life and death situation).

I have ended toxic friendships before but I have always found it very difficult if the relationship was a toxic one within family to "end it" effectively. I always go back for the sake of the family. And you know what? It's complete wimping out on my part.

I've also posted about the toxic friendship that I ended. I was alone with the two kids in the one horse town and I had one friend that I always knew was up late when I finally got my quiet time. She was long distance but whatever. We would talk on the phone almost nightly for quite a long period of time because I had moved to some place where I didn't know anyone. But after each phone call, I would feel crappy. Or maybe not every phone call, but 99% of them.

Finally, I had received some information from a magazine (a popular women's one that I wouldn't normally buy like Glamour or something) about toxic relationships and I realized that my friendship, was, in fact, toxic.

I finally ended the friendship. Did I miss her? Certainly. But after some time, I also realized that I didn't feel like crap anymore. I wasn't allowing her to make me feel that way anymore.

I'm not saying that you should cut ties completely with your Mother. I really believe strongly in family ties. But what I am saying is that because you are in touch so often, it is going to be very very difficult, hard, and hurtful. But you can come through the other end of the tunnel. I do know that.

I'm hoping these posts haven't been too spacey for you. I understand what I'm saying, but I'm not sure if I'm wording them clearly enough or not that other people can actually understand as well.

And I am really worried about moving closer to my SIL (not only PA related, but a LOT of things - I'm kinda hoping it's like the last time we lived almost around the corner from one another and we chose NEVER to see one another, or really, she chose not to see me, something to do with me not drinking [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] )

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Jul 5, 2004

We dealt with this with family as well. It can be difficult. We had to step back and not participate in a lot of family activities for a while. Then I think they finally understood under no circumstances were we going to another family gathering if there were nuts. Well, they got it - Now they make sure it is extremely safe when we visit and it has actually been quite nice. They serve safe foods and the house is very clean and everyone has a great time.

Families are wonderful and no matter how much they love us they sometimes don't understand and it takes awhile or a bold act to get them to that place quicker.

Just don't give into them when it comes to the safety of your child. Sure they can tell you how to cut your childs hair or what you should be doing about this or that but you have to be the one who is in charge of your little ones allergy and you have to be the one that sets the boundaries.

I don't have a simple answer but maybe you could just bring up the nut issue with your mom - no other issues- and just say I know that you understand the allergy but could you please just for the time we are together not have nut products around. Eat them when we leave. That way you don't have to worry if she kisses/touches your little one or that an accident could occur.

Honestly, it feels much safer when the nuts are just not around.

I wish you the best with your mom and family and hope that all is well today.

You are a good mom don't let anyone put you down for protecting your child. Whether they have seen a reaction or not is not the point the point is you want to keep your child from a reaction and you should do everything in your power to do that. Be brave and stand up for yourself and your little one.

Take Care.

On Jul 5, 2004

My daughter had lots of medical problems too. LOTS. There was a period of about a year where I truly don`t think we ever went more than a week or two without seeing a doctor (neurologist, geneticist, allergist, gastroenterologist, etc). Please don`t blame yourself! That has nothing to do with you, and it sounds like you are a great mom. I can tell you that making all those doctor visits and spending part of the day at the hospital for tests is exhausting.

About your mother, there are two schools of thought here. One is that your mother doesn`t get it, so educate her more. The other school of thought is she CHOOSES not to get it, and it is not your obligation to defend your reasons for not wanting your child there with the peanuts being served. I am of the second school. I have encountered people who truly chose not to get it. They were intelligent educated professional people (you can get a master`s degree but you can`t understand that peanuts can kill my child----yeah right!). So it is hard to say which applies to your mother, but based on the hair cut story, I would go with the school of thought she chooses not to get it. So if she is like the people I have encountered who choose not to get it, she will try to engage you in discussion after discussion about this, putting you in the position of feeling like you have to explain. So my advice is you say the thing I mentioned in the above post, and then when she asks your reasons or says is it really that dangerous, or how you will hurt so and so`s feelings if you don`t go, or everyone will be there, then you just repeat your one sentence "yes, we would love to go, but of course since it is unsafe for ______ we won`t be able to." And you repeat that sentence over and over. It takes practice not to get sucked in by these people. But I had all my experience with the horrible brownie leaders (I posted in 2003 about this), and I learned that that is what works. You repeat the same sentence over and over, and do not engage, because what they want is for you to engage so you don`t do it! It is sad that it is your mother. I know that is really hurtful---she should be the one who is supporting you not undermining you. But I say stand your ground. Just repeat over and over, "yes, we would love to come, but since it would be unsafe for _______ of course we cannot".

On Jul 5, 2004

Seanmn, I don't think you were a terrible parent at all! You were just doing what comes naturally, protecting your son.

I had a similar situation on the 4th. We have gone every year to my DH's cousins summer house for a cook out. The drive is approx. 2 hours away. They know about DD's allergy but I still check everything out when we get down there and it's always been OK. It's the usual fare, hamburgs, hot dogs, fruit salad and I usually make a dessert that I know my DD can enjoy and feel safe.

This year I made homemade choc. chip and sugar cookies. She was hungry on the ride down before we arrived so we thought we'd stop at Wendy's and get her some food so she wouldn't be starving when we got there. Like I said, it's always been OK. Well, we get there and there on the table was little cups of peanuts! I was shocked. She's never had those before. I pushed them out of the way and DD (she's 9) made sure she stayed away from them. I was like her bodyguard where ever she went! Luckily, no one ate them. She stayed safe. I thought about leaving, but we had just driven two hours to get there (lame excuse, I know) and she was all excited to see her cousins. So DH and I made sure we watched her like a hawk.

Did I say anything? No, and I'm mad at myself for not speaking up. I don't know why I didn't. I felt that if I stayed with her constantly, she'd be OK. Now, looking back at it, it was probably like playing Russian Roullette. We stayed on her, and somehow, I felt that kept her safe. (Please don't slam me for my actions. Looking back, I definitely would've acted differently).

So, I really don't think I'm going to make "mother of the year" any time soon. But, that's ok, as long as my DD and the rest of my family stays safe.

(I'm really having a worrisome day today!!)

On Jul 6, 2004

I know it is very hurtful when family members who claim that they care about you and your children make descisions that are contrary to you and your childrens well being.I am sorry you have had to go through all this the last few days. When I am in situations like this I try to just remember that it is a persons right to do what they want. If they just have to eat peanuts.. fine.. but it is my choice as to whether we will be around them. I would just tell her that as much as you want your child to know his grandmother and have a close relationship with her... that relationship out of necessity will be limited as long as you dont feel he is safe around her. You have to protect your son. We cant really control everybody and situation in our children's lives but we can control where we go and how we react. Hope this helps.

On Jul 6, 2004

Well, LindaJo, I think you still can make Mommy of the Year award! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] After a two hour trip, I, personally, wouldn't have been able to say, "I'm outta here" and I think that you and your DH (and daughter) did the best that you could. You watched your daughter and you watched what people ate (or didn't eat - the peanuts).

Also, your daughter is 9 and I do think age makes a difference. Not that it is okay for people to be serving peanuts, but she's more aware of her allergy and it's not like she's a toddler that may have grabbed one of the cups of peanuts.

Is there any way that you could speak with the cousin that had the family gathering now and just say something like "what was up with the peanuts at the family gathering? That's never happened before and I was quite shocked, uncomfortable and downright nervous".

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Jul 8, 2004

Well, I still have not heard from Mommie Dearest! Like I said, I am not going to cave into her this time. If she wants to talk to me or find out about the kids she will have to get in touch with me. You would thing she would have called right away to apologize, but she is still playing the victom.

I also sent SIL an e-mail telling her why we left and for a final explanation on DS's allergy.

I sent an e-mail to another SIL who was at my Mom's that night that I did not see. They went there for the fireworks.

Needless to say, I have not heard from any of them yet. Oh, well, it is their loss!

Yes, my DH is supportive of me and was the one who suggested we leave and not stay at my Mom's house. He said she has to learn sometime. I have been bending my own rules for her, but no more. I am going to stick up for my child no matter who agrees with me or not. If they don't like it they don't have to be around us.

Thanks for all your support.

On Jul 8, 2004

seanmn, sorry to hear that you haven't heard from your Mother yet, but that playing the victim thing can be so enticing for some people. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] I know my MIL does it with her daughter (the wicked SIL) and they'll have a fight and both of them are so stubborn that neither one will pick up the phone for MONTHS.

MIL thinks it's the SIL's fault. SIL thinks it's the MIL's fault.

Some people like to live with that kind of drama going on. Personally, I have enough stuff going on day-to-day that I can't be bothered for such b/s.

I'm glad that your DH is supportive. Really, if you think about yourselves as your own family unit, onto itself, and stick together that way, then you're stronger to deal with situations and people (unfortunately and sadly like your Mom). But as long as the two of you are together on the matter, I think that's what's most important.

One of the greatest difficulties I have with current DH is that often we don't "stick together" on major issues. He'll very often cave when it comes to things with his Mother, and not even PA related.

That's why I really think I remember so vividly how DH #1 and I dealt with family *issues* because it's not the same as how DH #2 and I do and I really wish it was.

However, this isn't about me.

If your Mom is like anyone else that I have seen "play the victim" this could go on for months and you may not have to worry about it for some time. Kinda sad to say but also something to cross off your list of worries as well. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Jul 8, 2004

Seanmn, I am with you 100%! Your first responsibility is to keep your child safe.

On Jul 9, 2004

Hi, I am very sorry about your holiday being ruined. I too have had problems with family members being diligent about keeping my son safe. Friends and parents from school have been wonderful, but family not as good. i am yet to figure this out. I think that you have to be matter of fact and set firm and clear rules about food at family gatherings. You need to say that if you and your child are expected or invited to attend a family gathering, there should be absoutely no food served (with or without a note) that contains peanuts, tree nuts or whatever your son is allergic to. I would review the ways that your child can have a reaction, contact, inhalation, cross contamination and by ingestion. Ask your mom how she would feel if her inability to resist the yummy peanut whatever she ate, caused your child and her grandchild to become seriously ill or perhaps die. Maybe use the second hand smoke, pollen in the air, etc. Tell them that peanuts in the presence of your child make you feel the same way as a loaded gun on the table. Tell her that she could hug or kiss your child and literally give him the kiss of death. Maybe give a graphic scenerio of what happened to your child in past reactions. Ask them to go into your child's shoes, how scary it is to have your throat close and not be able to breathe. I would say that they have to make a choice, either be responsible about not having peanuts in the presence of your child or there is no contact with your child. It is that serious!! i would not trust her in the care of your child. I have family members that love my child, but whom i would not allow be with him without my presence because i don't think they take it seriously enough. This is very unfortunate. Good luck, be strong, firm and diligent in keeping your child safe!