How would you handle this restaurant scene?

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 12:45pm
AmyR's picture
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Joined: 09/26/2000 - 09:00

We were out for dinner with some friends last night. The kids wanted to order dessert. I decided to order my two kids plain ice cream. The other family ordered a brownie sundae for their son (if I had told them in advance that I wasn't comfortable with the brownie, they definitely wouldn't have ordered it for their son). My 5 year old daughter (non PA) then asked if she could have a brownie. I told her that I didn't want Jason having the brownie so she couldn't have it. She then replied, "I NEVER get to have what I want". I didn't know who to feel more sorry for, my daughter or my son. Then I started to question whether I was handling the situation properly. I didn't want my son to have a tantrum over not being able to have a brownie like the other two but I also felt like it wasn't my daughter's fault. I guess with my son not quite three years old, I didn't feel he would be able to handle the situation. So I told my daughter that we would stop at the candy store (we were at a mall) and get her something to save for another day. Then the manager of the restaurant came by and I asked about the brownies. He was able to show me the list of ingredients and we ended up letting both kids share a brownie. I was still a bit nervous though. My son loved the brownie and was fine.

I am curious to know what would others have done in a similar situation. Do you "deprive" your non PA child (when a friend at the table is already having the brownie sundae) or do you do your best in explaining the situation to your young PA child? Keep in mind that my son is not smell sensitive and we don't know about touch. Your input would be most helpful./\

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 1:08pm
andy's picture
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Joined: 04/26/2001 - 09:00

I am not saying that my parents were correct, but they never even considered depriving my brother from having anything because of my PA. Andy

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 9:53pm
Christine's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Okay, here is what I *think* I would have done. First and foremost, I usually don't even order desserts at restaurants because most desserts are "outsourced" and I don't have the comfort level of feeling safe with most of them. But, on occasion, I have done it when I felt safe. Soooo, if I were out and both children were able to have dessert then I would let my non-PA child order whatever she wanted and let my son get what was "safe". This is what I've always done and have always explained it to my son why he can't have what his sister has. He is now almost 6 and accepts it perfectly. Now, if we are at a restaurant that does not have a safe dessert for my son, then none of us will have anything and we will go out and get something safe. But it still may vary. For example, if we go to Dairy Queen, my son ONLY gets a vanilla cone while his sister may get a dip-top or a Blizzard--so I guess that is just like the brownie incident. This past Saturday, we were at a restaurant that had no safe treats. My non-PA daughter had been wanting a McFlurry all day. Rather than go to the McDonald's which was right next door to the restaurant, my husband took my son and I home while they went out to get and eat the McFlurry. I certainly don't want my son to feel deprived but he does have to realize that he cannot eat exactly what everyone else does because he DOES have an allergy.
Christine

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 11:21pm
AmyR's picture
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Joined: 09/26/2000 - 09:00

Christine,
Thanks for your response. The way you described things is exactly how I usually handle the situation. We also don't order dessert all that often in a restaurant. If we do though, I find something safe that both my children can have. The problem this weekend was that the child from the other family we were with ordered the brownie ice cream sundae before we even knew what was happening. My son heard this and asked if he could have a brownie. My quick response (maybe too quick) was no. Then my daughter asked and so I felt I needed to give her the same response. But when the other boy got his dessert with the brownie, I questioned whether I was handling the situation "correctly/fairly". UGH!

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 11:36pm
no nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/24/2000 - 09:00

I would not have ordered any dessert at all for my PA child. We very rarely eat at any restaurants because of PA. And we Never order dessert for any of us. In this situation I would have brought a safe alternative dessert from home. I don't have another child so I don't have to balance the dynamics of that, however, my daughter has often had to see friends and cousins eating things she can't have, because I'm not sure. And if I'm not sure - she cannot have it. I'm glad it turned out okay but you have to set a protocol that you will follow because this WILL happen again. Best wishes.

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 11:47pm
Claire's picture
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Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

Andy, I think you did o.k. We usually never let my 9 year old get anything with nuts because of christopher. I have never had her not understand. she has always understood. I do however take her out every few months and leave my 14 year old PA home with dad and we splurge on a peanut butter sundae. This we call our girl time. Not often but a load of fun. My 2 year old has never had it,but he comes along for the ride. He won't stay with dad. Also anyone we go with knows Chrisopher can not eat certain things and will not get any nuts just because of them maybe touching Chris. I don't know how severe your son reacts,but maybe now you have found a safe restaurant. I bet you were happy and so were your kids after he was safe with the brownie. It is easy to ask for advice from people on this site,but deep down I think we all do what instict tells us at the moment. This is such a good thread i could go on all night but i must get out christmas shopping. I am glad your dinner went well. claire

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2000 - 11:49pm
Claire's picture
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Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

sorry I was responding to Amy and her first post not andy. sorry about the wrong name Claire

Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2000 - 12:38am
Caring Mom's picture
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Joined: 10/12/2000 - 09:00

My son who is PA very rarely has dessert out because, I work in a restaurant & between you & every one else on this topic most restuarant workers don't really care about their customers. I've watched a customer ask about walnuts in a certain dessert & a manger say no their isn't any then, he had a mild reaction, sure enough the last ingredient was walnuts. I use to manage a restaurant also & knowing what can happen I use to tell or let my customers read the ingredients. As for my 2 year old daughter she doesn't know any different so know matter what I give her PA brother she goes along for the ride. My son knows his sister can eat peanuts/nuts but, it doesn't seem to bother him. Please take my advice on the restaurant situation try not to let your child eat any desserts or eat out, alot of the food is contaminated with peanuts/nuts, the kitchen help doesn't really pay attention, especially if it is a high volume restuarant, they are to concerned about getting the food out to the customers. I see it everyday.
Stay Safe

Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2000 - 12:42am
Claire's picture
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Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

Caringmom, Your post was very true. I know of an example right in the hospital restaurant where a person asked for no nuts and was given nuts. When the girl asked for them to make a new sundae they said they did. Actually all they did is scrape the nuts away. The girl almost died. Yes my sister in law witnessed this happen because they work together in the hospital. You would think that would be safe to eat there. Claire

Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2000 - 12:44am
CVB in CA's picture
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Joined: 10/15/1999 - 09:00

I do not penalize one chlid to make my other child "feel better". I do not impose one unfairness to compensate for another unfairness.
My allergic child is well aware that mommy and daddy and his sibling can eat peanuts. I do not have peanut things in the house, but I would not extend this to a restaurant. All I would worry about is proximity and cleaning up afterward.
Where did we get this idea that all kids should expect to be treated alike even within the same family? I try to meet my kids needs, but sometimes one kid is needier than another. You can't make everything fair.
My allergic kid gets a lot of attention with respect to his food, his health, etc. If one child has a talent for music or art, you wouldn't deny them lessons because the other child had no interest or aptitude. You try to find something the other child wants to do and get lessons or classes or that. If one child is a girl and wants ballet, and a boy wants soccer, you should try to do both. Or I suppose you would give each child nothing? Or maybe only the boy because he's "more important". People thought that was "fair" for a long time.
We didn't quit eating desserts at extended faimily gatherings when one child developed diabetes. We make sure there is always food he can eat, but we don't change the dishes for the other 20 people.
This may sound harsh, but I don't want my allergic kid to get the idea other people are always going to consider his allergy. Most all of them won't. To expect his other sibling not to eat a brownie that may or may not be contaminated would never occur to me.
I would just give him something safe (fruit) or give him a "compensation" treat at home.
With a very young, tantrum prone child, I would expect the older child to do the responsible thing- forgo the treat in order to avoid a scene. I wouldn't present this as a fairness issue. Wrong precedent.
Check out the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" on the trap of "fairness".

Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2000 - 12:52am
Christine's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

CVB,
I don't think your post was harsh at all. It is just the way I stated mine above, but differently. If we are out and we can ALL have dessert then we do; however, my son will NOT get the brownie sundae like the rest of us, he will get something different. And you make a good point about children with PA getting extra attention because of the allergy. That is certainly true in the case of my family. I work full-time and I don't really have the time to bake for school or attend many field trips--so my non-PA daughter has gotten sort of "jipped" on getting a lot of special things from her mom in that regard. If her classroom needs something, I will usually volunteer for the item than can be quickly purchased (paper plates, juice, etc.). For my son though, I take the extra time and make home made stuff for his parties. My daughter gets very envious but I remind her of all the things she gets that Evan doesn't and, in turn, Evan is very proud that his mom is baking special treats for his class. I agree that we cannot treat all children equally because of their special needs and that, when lacking in one area, is most certainly compensated for in some other way.
Christine

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