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Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 5:54am
pitterpat's picture
Joined: 02/04/2006 - 09:00

Why is it not workable for dd to only take food from me?
There are several reasons that I don't see this as the solution for us:
- DD can't be with me all the time. She goes to school and I work. Then she goes with her grandparents. DH is a pilot and gone frequently so it is mostly me. I simply can't be there all the time.
- DD is VERY independent and if I make a blanket rule, she'll go eat whatever she wants and end up in the ER, or worse.
- On the other hand, DD is very bright. I have posted about how proud I was that she refused a brownie at a family event because she knew the adult didn't know about her pa. She very articulately explained her allergy and the consequences of eating a brownie that might have pn "hidden" in them - her favorite phrase.
- I want DD to learn how to distinguish between what she can take and what she can't take in an environment where her teacher is reading ingredients and substituting and I am also checking in on the snacks as well. She has been taught to always ask about ingredients - even if it is her grandparents or teacher. (Me checking in on things has been part of our new solution. I just casually walk DD into school early in the week and chat with the teacher.)
So it involves what I want DD to learn about how to handle herself as well as just logistics of her being able to eat during the day.
I may take some risks that many of you wouldn't. This is what works for us. And maybe you are right in thinking it's because I need more experience with this or even need to be scared to death. But, for now, this is how we choose to operate with our 2 pa dds. I would like to keep this discussion going -- I'm sure to learn something.
Now, csc, you have questions?

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 7:12am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Actually, that helps a lot. But I have a couple of questions....(and one comment)
I think you may have misunderstood what other people were saying about "trust nobody" but mom and dad... what this means for most of us is that the only food our kids eat has been specifically approved and/or prepared by us ahead of time. It doesn't mean that we're always there when they eat it! Some people do this with a treat stash (which I understand you have, but were thinking wasn't for routine use) and others with a special lunchbox or something.
My questions are these:
Have you ever had trouble with cross-contamination that was [i]not indicated by labeling?[/i]
Is your DD only PA?
How long have you been dealing with PA?
I think you are correct in that this may simply be a comfort zone issue to begin with (I know I would never be comfortable with parents buying other treats and having a teacher check labels)... but there [i]are[/i] other things to consider. What you are hearing is true-- people who are not affected by FA just don't ever "get it" enough to be really consistent about it, treat list or not.
My concern is that no matter how bright, at 3,4, or 5 kids are still kids. They make strange choices because of their perspective as kids. We can be proud of their maturity, but depending on it being reliable is something else. An example-- my daughter self-carries and has since she was 3. We have NEVER lost our med bag. But it isn't because [i]she[/i] has always been reliable. I keep an eye on it all the time. She also knows how to self-inject, but at 7, I don't think she could during a rxn.
I get what you are saying about training with a safety net. I agree with you that this is a good idea. It seems like you are regarding this as something that your daughter would be openly defiant about if you told her she couldn't share food with her classmates.
Is that true? If it is, that must be very stressful. Is she defiant about other things too? (I understand that some children are, but it is incredible stressful to have a child who refuses to wear a seatbelt or bike helmet!)
I mean, bright or not, my daughter has had to accept that she doesn't have the [i]good judgement[/i] of myself or her father... and for a very bright child, this isn't any easy thing to convince them of! LOL! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Does your daughter have any idea how serious her PA potentially is? (In other words, do you think she is likely to take risks that you [i]wouldn't[/i] be comfortable with when you are not there?)
Or are you saying that the teacher is the one who is really making the decisions in the situation?
Many parents who have kids like that actually find the treat-lunchbox model to be the best solution precisely [i]because[/i] of that. (Not everyone wants their preschooler to know that PA can be fatal)
Sorry if you felt my earlier posts were judgmental-- that was not my intention.
The bottom line? From experience, safe-snack lists do not work. The energy input required is too high to be sustained for most parents. So my questions for you are these-- the system [i]will[/i] fail. Probably often. How is your daughter going to handle it? How will the teacher? How will other parents and students? How will you? (Do you have a back-up plan?) What do the other children have for snacks when something "unsafe" comes in?
You are right to think that having the very first snack come in this way was a bad sign... but it isn't likely to only get better.

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 7:30am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

In our classroom, absolutely no homemade foods are allowed into the room. Anyone bringing in homemade goodies has to return to the office and they will be offered to the regular tables (not peanut free where my son sits) in the cafeteria.
That includes (and this may sound weird) me. I cannot make homemade either (unless an appropriate store-bought substitute cannot be found). Everything has to be in sealed, store-bought packages with the labels to ensure the peanut-free classroom remains peanut free.

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 8:22am
pitterpat's picture
Joined: 02/04/2006 - 09:00

Have you ever had trouble with cross-contamination that was [i]not indicated by labeling?[/i]
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "trouble." Are you asking if we've come across foods that were not labelled for x-cont? Yes. Not frequently, but yes. I keep a list of things like this to help me, personally, but didn't include every detail on the safe snack list because I think a "book" will be less helpful than a page.
Or, are you asking if we've had reactions? If dd gets trace amounts of peanuts her eczema flares.
Is your DD only PA?
I say yes. Her allergist says she's allergic to eggs, too. That was from + SPT though, not reaction. I don't limit eggs so as far as food, only pn. She has much more trouble from her environmental allergies, actually, and takes allergy shots 2X/wk.
How long have you been dealing with PA?
DD was diagnosed last summer, a little over a year ago. I always knew she was allergic though (gut instinct?) so she's never had pn. I had no idea about x-contam, may contain, etc. until diagnosis so she did have those....and terrible eczema until diagnosis.
Is she defiant about other things too? (I understand that some children are, but it is incredible stressful to have a child who refuses to wear a seatbelt or bike helmet!)
She isn't openly defiant, but yes, she will do what she thinks is the "wrong" thing sometimes if I come down hard on her. Attention? Who knows, right!? She is smart enough to understand safety issues v. just meanness so luckily, we've only had problems about drawing in the wrong place or refusing to brush teeth.
She self-carries her epi. I've heard that she is very serious about not opening it. Strong-willed is how everyone who knows both of my dds describes them. They'll be in prison or CEOs! LOL!
Does your daughter have any idea how serious her PA potentially is? (In other words, do you think she is likely to take risks that you [i]wouldn't[/i] be comfortable with when you are not there?)
Or are you saying that the teacher is the one who is really making the decisions in the situation?
The teacher and I are making the decisions, but we're giving dd the chance to think she's making the decision - make sense? The teacher doesn't openly offer dd an "unsafe" snack, but if dd asks about ingredients and isn't satisfied, dd gets a snack from my snack box. DD refused pudding this week because her teacher wouldn't say it was "safe." The teacher said, "it doesn't say anything about pn" so dd didn't think that was good enough. She didn't understand, I think, that it meant it was ok. I was fine with that.
I think dd knows her allergy is very serious and possibly knows it can be fatal. We haven't come out and said she could die, but she's figured it out and asked. She got a pretty clear look at it when we rushed her little sister to the ER on 7/4 after a family gathering. That may have been more powerful than her having a reaction at this point. She was crying and is very protective about dd#2.
How is your daughter going to handle it? How will the teacher? How will other parents and students? How will you? (Do you have a back-up plan?) What do the other children have for snacks when something "unsafe" comes in?
And these are the questions we're trying to work through here and now.
I want to add that dd's school is a small private school of 500 (prek-12). We sent her there even though we can in no way afford mainly because of her pa. Our initial visits have shown that folks are concerned and staff is knowledgable. Everyone already knows who Sara is and how to take care of her. Tomorrow night is parents night and I am going to take some time to try to talk with some of the parents.
Sorry this is so long. Thanks for the help though.
[This message has been edited by pitterpat (edited August 16, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 8:36am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

pitterpat, thank-you for answering my question in such detail. I appreciate it and understand where you're coming from.
I also liked Corvallis Mom's subsequent post and then your reply to her.
We have never dealt with a communal snack situation. My son will be going into his 8th year of school this year. The first five years, his classroom was "peanut free" and the children ate their own snacks in the classroom (as well as lunch).
The past two years, we had to deal with a lunchroom and there was some difficulty with that.
Now, early on, I would let my son eat homemade treats brought in if I had checked them out. I forget when I stopped allowing that but it became something that I was uncomfortable with for a variety of reason(s). Nothing *bad* ever happened to him, but it was just something I ruled out.
We have never provided a "safe" treat box for him. Early on, it was because of the "peanut free" classroom. If someone brought something in for a party or something that was not PA safe, then NO ONE in the class could have it - it was sent home with the children after school.
The past two years, with parties, I've simply told him not to eat any homemade things and to read the ingredient label on anything that he does want to eat - there is always so much food to choose from, he's not left out.
As far as how careful other parents have been following the Safe Snack and Lunch List? I think people have really really tried some years and then other years not. As far as the teacher catching "mistakes", again depended on the year (we had a couple of years of school from he**).
We've definitely faced the "no name" dilemma.
After your extensive answers to both myself and Corvallis Mom, if you're comfortable with how you're dealing with things - that's what's important.
And sorry, I always have a ton of questions before I can answer usually. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I would walk up to heaven and bring you back home with me.

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 9:19am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I agree- it sounds as though you have thought through most of the issues related directly to your daughter...
but you (and she) are probably going to have to realize that she'll be eating from her safe stash a lot more often than either of you would like. Plan accordingly, I guess.
I would also give serious thought to how you plan to teach her that there may well be times when she just has to do without-- and that isn't negotiable. It is a hard lesson to have them learn so young, I know. But necessary.
Truly consider what will happen with unsafe snacks that get brought in. Do the other kids eat them? On the one hand that very powerfully sends the message to the other parents that it isn't that important to do it right, and the erosion will only get worse...
But if you make other kids do without, other parents will make your life a living he**. Well- the American ones probably will. No joke. A fair number of them will even decide that there just isn't any way to do it "right" so they will stop trying and just do as they please and complain until it is allowed.

Posted on: Thu, 08/17/2006 - 5:45am
pitterpat's picture
Joined: 02/04/2006 - 09:00

I'd rather her eat from her safe snack stash everyday, right? It's for her sanity, I guess, and education, that I even let her join in the group's snack. I mean, what do I care that I have to keep sending snacks to keep her safe. As long as she is happy and safe.....
If the snack is pb or pn, it's gone. Now that I think about it, I'm going to take a backup snack for the ENTIRE CLASS just in case. Then no one can really be too upset. Everyone's child was taken care of by my planning. If it is just a x-contam issue, it's fine for them to eat it.
DD will do without if necessary. She's done it before and is very mature about it. Her defiance comes from a very stubborn personality which means that things are black and white to her. This is frustrating, but beneficial. If it's not safe, we don't take chances and neither does she. She has certainly surprised me in this aspect.
Ryan'smom has mentioned homemade stuff or bakery goods. Those are both on the "never allowable" list so I'm not concerned about it. DD knows it's "no" and the teacher does, too. We've been carrying cupcakes to birthday parties as long as dd can remember so that one is just second nature now.
Thanks again. I feel pretty prepared now...as prepared as I think you can be for something that is, by nature, unexpected.

Posted on: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:13am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

I am not big on the safe snack lists, but sometimes better than nothing. Are you talking about a snack list for other children to eat in the classroom daily or for group treats?
I do not allow DS to consume May Contains, but do not worry about others eating it in his presence.
I find that many still do not understand the cross contamination and may contains part of labeling.
Maybe your child's teacher can send home a note about Label reading for food allergies. My son's teacher did this last year. I provided copies of labels that had different statements and she included a short lesson on label reading for food allergies.

Posted on: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:15am
perpetually perplexed's picture
Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

Hi Pitterpat,
I would never trust another parent in my child's class with this issue. I believe it was my first week of kindergarten with older PA DS that a mom tried to convince me and the teacher that Kit Kats were safe. There was a clear warning on the package. I pointed it out after the women settled down and she was rendered speechless. The day after another mom said that I should remove my child from this school, it is an inconvience to her and her daughter. Since that time I have supplied MY child with his own snacks/treats etc... I have been room mom for all their class's since. That way you can help pick a menu for a party, help pick a field trip etc...
Both the boys and the school/teachers now know that they are NEVER to accept ANY food unless Dad or I have approved or sent it in. For us there is NO exception to this rule. It has worked for us going on 7 years now.
[This message has been edited by perpetually perplexed (edited August 14, 2006).]
[This message has been edited by perpetually perplexed (edited August 15, 2006).]

Posted on: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 11:55am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi there,
Well after 2 years of pre-school, our experience is that most parents "try". And I would even go as far as to say they "try hard". BUT I do think that the list goes into the pile of unfindable papers for the most part. So they go to the store and try and find something that is probably peanut free, but most likely has a may contain warming on it.
We always sent DD a treat + an extra treat (sugar:-) in case she could not eat the treat brought in. That way she did not feel as bad.
Sorry this had to happen at the beginning of the year. I hope that it gets better quick!


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