Is it asking too much to have in-laws maintain \"nut free\" house?

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 2:04pm
Ethan Mom's picture
Joined: 03/27/2006 - 09:00

I need some supportive advice and thoughts about dealing with in-law issues. My son is 4-yrs old and he has spent overnights with his grandparents a few times. We have reviewed emergency procedures (EPI, etc), send up most of his food, but have trusted them to prepare safe (plain) dinners for him after educating them about what they need to know. We had specified that he could have plain meat and plain fresh fruits and veggies and that is all, all other foods needed their labels approved by us first. As an aside, they are not very warm or approachable people, so this was not the easiest thing to do

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 2:18pm
solarflare's picture
Joined: 02/07/2002 - 09:00

I think you are asking too much. I think it's unreasonable to expect your IL's to keep their home to the same level of safety as yours if your son is only staying overnight occasionally.
My MIL is a total nut fiend, and our compromise is that she only uses products approved by me, or cooks completely from scratch. When Jason was your son's age, she kept the nuts out of reach when he was visiting.
Aim for nut free meals. Aim for teaching them about how easily things can get cross contaminated in the kitchen... but don't expect them to give up the nuts.
Cheryl, mom to Jason (9 MFA including peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and egg)
Joey (7 NKA)
Allison (4 milk allergic, suspect shellfish, avoiding PN/TN for now)
Ryan (1) nka *knock on wood*
[This message has been edited by solarflare (edited April 07, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 2:49pm
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I'm sorry, I think asking that she keep her house nut free is too much also.
However, I think you are perfectly within your rights to specify exactly what your son can eat. That might mean you show up at their place with a package of chicken breasts, a bunch of broccoli, a cup of rice and that is what your child eats and nothing else. Bring his safe snacks, cookies, etc., whatever he might need while he's there.
As for your MIL feeding your son unacceptable food while your husband is present...shouldn't your ire be directed at your husband? Believe me, I know, my husband and I do not always see eye-to-eye about what our son can safely eat. It is frustrating!
But even if she had a completely nut-free house that wouldn't really satisfy your son's needs, because as you mentioned, you were unhappy with the brand of frozen vegetables she uses.
Anyway, isn't it a moot point? It does not sound like they would do it, so why bang your head against that wall? Just take the decisions out of their hands and provide your own safe foods for your son. Since it's only 2 or 3 days every few months that is do-able.

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 2:49pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

My feeling is that your child should not spend time there without you until he is old enough to follow the procedures you feel safe living with.
Your inlaws are not going to change unless maybe they witness anaphylaxis and that might be too late.
Do not sacrifice your son to maintain a good relationship with your inlaws. And I don't mean actual sacrifice, but your feeling of well being and comfort zone, don't sacrifice that.
If the FIL is saying You are driving us crazy then they are talking about you and not giving you the chance to stand up for this situation. And they are ignorant.
So your child does not spend time with them alone until he is old enough to handle his allergy himself. You don't have to say this to them. Just make it happen. You also don't have to say this to your DH. Just make it happen.
Can they come to your home?
I think you are going to get lots of differing opinions here. Good luck making a decision.
My children are grown. I had a very well established BAD relationship with my inlaws. I have bent over backwards to please them only to be constantly rejected by them.
There are many things I would have done differently. One of those things is I would have NEVER had them sit for my kids. It only happened a few times but what went on? It was not worth it.
Good luck with this it's going to be tough.
But take heart soon your son will be old enough to handle this himself with support and guidance from you.

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 11:14pm
Ethan Mom's picture
Joined: 03/27/2006 - 09:00

Without delving into too much detail - one of the reasons I want them to maintain a nut-free home is because I do not trust them to handle cross-contact situations appropriately. I feel like when I tried to educate them the first time my MIL seemed to get it but then has done several things in the past that indicate she doesn't get it 100% (I'll spare you details), and my FIL was not listening or engaged in the education process at all. He justed seemed spaced out....
Recently, we went out to dinner with my son near their house - first, they seemed embarrassed bc we brought safe McDonald's for my son. Then, my FIL ordered "walnut chicken" without a second thought. When my MIL said "maybe you should order something else" he said "What, I can't eat that around Ethan (son is both PA and TNA)?" and looked at me somewhat rudely. My son has been diagnosed for 3 + years and I have spent lots of time and effort trying to educate them, email them articles about nut allergies, this is frustrating and I feel like they may slip-up when I am not around....
Also, since I don't have the best relationship with them, sometimes my DH will take son up there without DH has an odd relationship with them (very deferential) and will not "confront them" (for lack of a better term) about anything....we had a weird fight years back when I asked him to check with his parents to see if we could open a bottle of wine from their wine rack and he wouldn't do it bc he felt uncomfortable asking (odd, right?)...very odd. Anyhow - I'm the one on the front lines here, so to speak, and don't get much back-up from DH....

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 11:45pm
Dunpun's picture
Joined: 01/26/2004 - 09:00

I think you can ask....but you know they are not going to do it. Nearly everyone in mine and dh's family are nut freaks (I'm sure they call me a nut freak too but in the opposite way!)
I would never let ds stay overnight or even really alone without me. Even if they agreed to keep a nut free house, you would never be comfortable enough that they weren't breaking out the nuts as soon as you left. I would rather know what's what and what to expect.
They definately need to follow your instructions about what your ds can eat, doesn't sound like you can trust them with that.
Does your ds need to visit them so often?
[This message has been edited by Dunpun (edited April 07, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2007 - 11:47pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Personally I wouldn't leave your son alone there if they aren't getting it 100%.
I think it took my families a good two years to understand, esp. cross contamination issues. I never asked them to remove peanut/nut products from their home, but both sides did remove peanut butter and eventually pretty much everything else. I know that the only thing my MIL and FIL have in their hightop cupboard is honey nut cherrios occasionally(and even then I did feed these to ds pre-allergy dx!). It really drove home to my FIL this past winter as he lost a coworker to peanut allergy. This happened just before we met them in FLA and I can I tell you they had me do all the shopping and/or had me approve everything first. I think before they thought I was a bit cuckoo, but no longer. My Dad on the other had is the biggest worry wart ever...he even questions me...are you sure that's safe to give him lol! So I am lucky with families.
I don't think it's too much to ask. Maybe because we already have firsthand knowledge of this allergy, but if my grandchild had a PA/TNA, my home would be PA/TNA free.
If you can't trust them with contamination issues and label reading etc. don't leave him there. Have dh take him for visits, and just ensure dh is taking care of all that. Otherwise wouldn't you just be worried sick the whole time he's there?
Even though my parents and IL's homes are safe, ds has never spent the night without us (he'd be too scared to anyway)and most visiting takes place with me and dh there. For babysitting they usually come to our house or if they are at IL's I feed them first and his snacks are provided by me and they also keep Chapman's and Dare on hand.
I also meant to mention, we have a somewhat similar situatuion with the the "family" cottage that is owned by my IL's. We use it frequently as does dh's two brothers families.We stressed it had to be this way (Peanut free)for obvious reasons and for a big reason the hospital is quite a distance away. We know that one family does comply 100%, as for the other we are not 100% sure because my dh and him are estranged. We have never encountered a problem or seen any peanut stuff but I still decontaminate the place, rewash all utensil, plates etc and bring ALL our own food.
[This message has been edited by ccm'smom (edited April 07, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by ccm'smom (edited April 07, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 04/07/2007 - 12:15am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I never let dd stay at anyone's house unsupervised until she was in grade 2, and even then it was NEVER overnight.
That's just the "overprotectiveness"? in me. Some (most) people think I'm ridiculous, until I hear of a friend who let their PA child go to a "safe" house and had a reaction......
Or you read about a teenager who died and nobody can explain what happened.
Small children are at the mercy of whoever is taking care of them.
I would never expect someone else's house to be P FREE, but....then again, I don't let her go over to just anyone's house.
Also, if I have let her go, and I found out something there was not safe, SHE DOESN'T GO BACK.
Only you can decide if the risks are worth it.
BTW, when friends/relatives figure out why dd is not allowed over, and they're really good friends, they seem to change their attitudes.
When dd goes for a visit now, I've even had the dads phone me to ask questions regarding her allergy.
good luck.

Posted on: Sat, 04/07/2007 - 12:19am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

As usual, I agree with Peg. It doesn't sound as though the issue is really one of being nut-free or not so much as totally not understanding the situation.
My MIL was the same way-- oh, sure, she [i]talked[/i] a good line. But then she fed DD unlabeled items that she felt "couldn't possibly" be harmful to our MLTFA preschooler. Even [i]after[/i] we had discussed it MANY MANY times and she knew the rules about not feeding her anything that we didn't specifically approve.
I was lucky enough to have a DH who didn't want to lose his little girl over his mother's 'feelings' however.
It sounds to me as though you and your DH need to be on the same page. It may take a counselor to help you work through this. Because if he continues to take your DS there against your wishes, that's a terrible situation.
OTOH, I don't think asking them to be nut free is going to work, either. We only ever asked that of my MIL when DD was a toddler and was there [i]at least[/i] weekly. Then she outgrew the wheat allergy and the entier situation went to he**.... anyway.
Good Luck. [img][/img]

Posted on: Sat, 04/07/2007 - 12:22am
smudgesgarden's picture
Joined: 02/26/2006 - 09:00

i understand your frustration with trying to keep your son safe while at grandmas house. my mother lives 4 hours away and we visit about every other month, my mom dosnt keep a nut free house because my step dad LOVES pbj sandwiches.
when we vivit we bring our own food like sun butter and our own jelly and our own honey (mom dipes pb into honey) my mom does buy special food for the kids when they visit
asks for a list of spcific food and she gets it. if the store dosnt have it then she dosnt get it and leaves it up to us to do what we want.
my step dad dosnt eat pbj sandwiches when we visit and all nut products are put on a high shelf.
im confident in my mother to keep my son safe because she cares about his safty.
if you dont feel like your inlaws get it. dont send them over there whith out you. especially if you husband dosnt stand up for you and what you want for your safty zone. mine thinks im nuts some times but we stick together about this.
good luck

Posted on: Sat, 04/07/2007 - 12:32am
JacksonsMom's picture
Joined: 07/21/2002 - 09:00

We are in a very similar situation with in laws that don't get it. I would never dream of sending my DS (5) alone to their house in a million years. In your case, asking the in laws to become a nut free home is not the real issue, IMO. They need to respect your situation and take it seriously. It sounds like they don't follow instructions on what to feed your DS. Not to sound critical, but if I were you I would not allow any more of the overnight visits until he is much older. It is just too dangerous. Maybe have them come visit you. That is how we handle it, all visits are in our house, with our food, and our rules. Just much easier with little ones and MFA.
Good luck, I know how stressful and difficult it is. [img][/img]


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