I hate birthdays

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 12:49am
Askosrose's picture
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Joined: 04/08/2002 - 09:00

I know that parents like sending treats to school for their children's birthdays, as I do the same thing. But when I send something in, it's either homemade, or I buy something I know 100% is nut free.

The school sends home reminders in nearly every newsletter, not to send items which have peanuts or nuts in them. They even went into detail in one letter, why it's dangerous to do so for allergic children.

Yesterday my son came home from school, looking sad. He explained that it was a girl's birthday, and her mother sent in a cake. Apparently, the teacher found out there were almonds in it. So, all the kids sat at their desks, eating cake, while my son sat there eating nothing. It really broke my heart [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] This is not the first time it's happened, either.

I don't want the rest of the kids to miss out on treats, but I don't think it's fair that my son has to sit there, while everyone else is enjoying treats. At least if I had known there would be something, I could have sent a chocolate bar or something else for him to enjoy.

I don't want to make an issue over it, because I've had to talk to the teacher about some things already this year. I'm thinking of sending a stash of treats for her to keep, in the event that this happens again. I just felt so bad for him.

Karen

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 2:19am
BS312's picture
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Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

Karen- So sorry your son missed out on a treat-and on being included. Could you have the teacher notify you ahead of time when a party is planned? Or, as you said, you could leave a supply of safe treats at school. Yesterday DD's class had a birthday party. The treat was leftover Halloween candy-mostly Tootsie Rolls and M&Ms. Yuck! DD had a delicious homemade cinnamon chocolate chip bar. She definitely came out ahead in the treat department!

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 2:26am
Askosrose's picture
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We have parent-teacher meetings this month, so I think I'll address the issue then. She's a very nice lady, but she's not very good at replying to letters or phone calls. This way, she'll have no choice but to listen.
As far as the cinnamon chocolate chip bar...yum! Homemade?
Karen

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 4:22am
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

We have a box of safe treats at school for my son to eat when there's a birthday celebration in his classroom. He has Canadian Kit-Kats and Hershey bars. I've told my son even if someone brings in something he thinks is 100% safe he's not allowed to have it. He can only eat what I send.
That said, I still don't like birthday celebrations in school. I think they're a waste of time and serve no purpose. Our school sends home tons of homework and then wastes instructional time on birthday parties, Halloween parades, walkathons and all sorts of time-wasters.
I don't send in birthday treats for either one of my kids. I ask the teacher to recommend a book or game for the classroom and I let my child bring that in and present it to the class. Yes, my kids have complained--my daughter says the other kids are disappointed when she doesn't bring in treats. About 25% of the kids in her class are already obese so I think I'm doing them a favor.
Sure, I'm ranting, but I'm among friends here, right? I think the food in schools in completely over the top, and I don't want to contribute to it in any way. Our school rewards kids with pizza parties, ice cream parties, popcorn parties...also, suckers and candybars as rewards.
The other thing I hate about birthdays is...darn, my babies are getting so OLD!!! Why can't they just stay little? My daughter turns 10 next week and I'm completely opposed to the whole idea. I don't feel like celebrating at all!

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 4:23am
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Karen, I hear you. I wish we could just get rid of all the food in schools, and send in our own for all kids. Of course, excepting those on lunch programs for financial reasons. Just seems to make the most sense from a health, religious and simple parenting choice perspective, never mind allergies. Poor little guy. If I were the teacher, I might have called you to try to figure out a safe thing we might have on hand, at least.
We have a stash at the school. It includes a few different things, so the teacher can actually select the closest thing to the treat du jour, so to speak. Some safe gummy Scooby fruit snacks, some homemade cupcakes I packed and labeled myself(a freezer is available), some safe ice cream cups and popsicles. They also have sure-bet alternative snack if ever in doubt of "may contain". I do still have trouble getting responses form our teacher. She never replies to my email, generally grabs me in the commotion of kids coming and going, which I find unprofessional and dangerous. I just do not think we are paying enough attention like that.
What I did after one "informal" but one on one meeting, was actually type up minutes, dated and signed by me, and give her and her director copies of what my notes were from the meeting. That sure got the director to go over a few things with me, if not the teacher. She is also more cautious since then. Just a few ideas, even if you do talk at a meeting. I think it is key to document it. becca
[This message has been edited by becca (edited November 06, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 8:05am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Just another idea-- I get a class list (from the teacher or school secretary before the start of school each year) that contains each child's date of birth. I use the list to create a handout of the the birthdays by month. The teacher and I refer to it throughout the year. Our school has a policy that I must personally read an ingredient label (the teacher cannot) for DD to have it, so this list helps me and the teacher anticipate days that I need to come into the classroom to check the food. At the start of the year, the teacher announces/asks that parents bring in any treats early in the morning (before school starts) so that I can have the opportunity to come in and read the label. If I don't read the label (I don't make it in or the parent brings it in late) the teacher just gives DD one from her safe back-up stash. This has worked out really well and most of the time DD is able to eat what everyone is having. As a 3rd-grader, this is very important to her socially/psychologically. It's a little extra work to compile the birthday list, but worth it for me.
Gail
P.S. One year I made non-food goodie bags for my daughter's class "party" -- just a bunch of junk from the dollar store including math flash cards. DD, the kids, and especially the teacher really liked them. I was hoping to set a new trend, but no one else has repeated it...

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 9:01am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi Karen
I must say I would be more than a little miffed if the teacher served it to the rest of the class and excluded one child. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] If the parents have been told not to send items with nuts, and then they do, the cake should be sent back home. A few of my neighbours are teachers, and that is what they have done.
What if your son was contact sensitive to almonds? I would bet none of those students washed their hands after eating that cake.
The teacher is disregarding the request that she herself has sent home to the parents. As she has done it more than once, you can bet it would continue to happen. I would address it again ASAP, put it in writing and copy it to the principal.
JMO
[This message has been edited by Adam's Mom (edited November 06, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 10:22am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Just to reinforce what has been mentioned - dd has a safe treat kept in the class for whatever celebration should occur. We have doen that for 4 years and it works great. Also the non-food treat is good too - we got "glow sticks" for dd'c b-day this year and everyone (2nd grade) loved them.
And just as an extra comment , I don't let dd eat home baked good from anyone unless I say it is OK. If they are brought to school without my telling the teacher or her they are fine then she eats her treat kept in the room. I don't trust home baked stuff as many folks are sloppy and think a little X won't hurt or lazy and buy it, don't check the label and put it on a plate or whatever...Only parents that I know "get it" can bake stuff I will let her eat - and happily I have quite a few!
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited November 06, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 10:43am
Askosrose's picture
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Joined: 04/08/2002 - 09:00

Adam's Mom, you're right. The more I think about it, the angrier I'm getting. I just found it odd that the teacher did this, because she too has an allergy, so I thought she'd be more sensitive. I'm going to find out exactly what happened, and address it to the principal. If parents can't be considerate of medical conditions, than they should be told not to send anything in.
I honestly wish they'd have a policy that wouldn't allow food to be sent in. I especially hate bake sales.
Thanks everyone for responding. I know it's a very sensitive issue and everyone can relate.
Karen

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 1:03pm
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Karen, interestingly, my dd's teacher has great experience with a food sensetive child. I originally thought it great. It is certainly good from an awareness POV, but a challenge as well, because she pushes the limits a bit, thinking she has the proper judgement and knowledge to do so. Nothing blatant, but if I am not very on top of every little thing, I find she walks a fine line on what she treis to do to keep things the way she has always done them(with food situations). I think we have it worked out, but next year, or even this year, I am going to make a stronger stand that only food I make at home, or labels I personally read. Period.
I think, when one thing slides, and the next, like this event with your son, then things become less concrete, and errors can happen. There simly needs to be consistency fro the safest environment. The teacher's allergy could help or hurt, depending on her own vigilance for her own situation, you know? Good luck. becca

Posted on: Wed, 11/06/2002 - 2:08pm
KarenH's picture
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

Just a note from a staff prospective...
I'm allergic to almonds and I probably would've left the room.
What the teacher did was insensitive and in violation of the request to the parents. She should be the one setting the example.

Posted on: Thu, 11/07/2002 - 3:00am
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I've noticed the teachers always make a big deal about how it has to be cupcakes, not cake, and teachers warn that if parents bring in cake it will be sent home uneaten because there are no utensils, knife for cutting, plates, etc. And cakes do get sent home uneaten. It should be the same for nuts, no question about it.
The other thing is that our school district does not allow homemade food to be distributed in class. It has to be storebought, sealed, with an ingredient list. Even though it's a district-wide rule, our school doesn't enforce it. I don't care, because my son isn't eating it even if it has an ingredient list, but it might be worthwhile to look into if you want your child to eat the treats others bring in. If there's a rule in place but it's not being enforced, then it's easier to insist that the teachers follow the rules. Just a thought.

Posted on: Thu, 11/07/2002 - 5:24am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

One more last thought...
My experience with our school led us to the conclusion that it was best to have very simple black & white "rules"... otherwise the staff just didn't know what to do or made "judgement calls" that just were bad. Good people, good intentions, but instances continually came up where staff gave out food inappropriately.
At first I wasn't happy about these very sweapingly simple rules, but I must say that they have worked precisely because they are very simple and so they are remembered: no food in the classroom (they move to the cafeteria to eat) and DD can only eat outside food when I have actually checked it in person. Period.
I feared she would miss out somehow or that parents would resent their child moving to the cafeteria. But in fact the clarity has been so beneficial to everyone. I've been able to relax so much more this year knwoing that these rules are followed.
Gail

Posted on: Thu, 11/07/2002 - 5:59am
Askosrose's picture
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Joined: 04/08/2002 - 09:00

Thank you everybody! I'm definitely going to address the whole food thing at this month's meeting. It seems that every week, some parent is sending in treats for the kids. I think it's really nice that they're thinking of the children, but is it really necessary to have cake or muffins every week? We're not even talking birthdays most of the time.
I'm just really thankful that my son is good about what he eats. He usually chooses to pass on food, just to be on the safe side, but that's a lot of responsibility for a 7 yr old kid.
I do appreciate all the suggestions!
Karen [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 11/09/2002 - 1:57am
KarenH's picture
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

I love Sandra's class/district rules. That is great! What I hate..and this is coming from an adult with allergy...is when people bring food into the staff room that has no ingredient list. Our two main grocery stores in town do NOT list the ingredients on many of their baked goods. So as a result, I can't eat 90% of the food. For a child, it's a great rule to have, because like somebody mentioned, that way it's very black and white. School staff aren't pressured into serving it, kids aren't having to say no to the adults, etc.
I don't find that here food is that over emphasized. We rarely have kids send in stuff for birthdays, and the teacher I worked with did an awesome thing for Halloween-she had the parents send in cheese, crackers, fruit, and veggies. No candy. The kids gobbled it up. My son's class pigged out on so much junk that by the time we went trick or treating, he didn't want any. That must've been a LOT of candy for him to refuse.
I like the idea of non-food items...or even small gift certificates for places like McDonalds or where ever. (Plus then we're not up at 10 pm the night before, icing cupcakes )

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