playgroup

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Today my sons' play group had an ice cream party. I knew it was going to happen and I chose to take them anyway. It never crossed my mind she would bring nuts as a topping. I did talk to her about my son's allergies but I was more concerned about his milk allergy and having something he could eat there. Anyway, After I noticed the peanuts I moved the toppings as far away from him as possible and then sat next to him so noone else would. I am beginning to have a deep hatred for peanuts. No one ate any of them... I dont think kids usually choose nuts anyway. I guess my question is how do you start. I just joined this play group. I live in a small town.. I havnt yet to meet anybody at all aware of food allergies. I feel very alone in this and kind of overwhelmed. I want to get my kids out there and around other kids but I dont know how to do it and feel like he is safe. I signed up for a MOPS group in town and got the information packet in which they state that the babysitters will not dispense ANY medicine with no exceptions.

------------------ Lalow James 2yrs NKA Ben 17 months PA,MA,possible EA, and SA

On Sep 27, 2004

We attend a playgroup with several of my friends and their children. They all know that my ds is PA, but on the first day my friend served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I know that she simply forgot, so I didn't make a big deal out of it. I just gathered our things and quickly left. When everyone asked why we were leaving so early, I said that ds couldn't be around peanuts. They were all so apologetic and it never happened again.

On Sep 27, 2004

I forgot to add: after the group, my friend felt so terrible about the peanut butter that she emailed everyone to remind them not to bring anything containing nuts.

On Sep 27, 2004

Below is an email that I sent to my playgroup recently with a positive response. Although I told people "If you are serving any peanut or nut foods, please let me know beforehand and Jessica and I will make other plans that day," no one has called to tell me not to come, they choose to not serve nuts. But since I don't tell them NOT to serve nuts, they don't feel as if I am forcing this on them and it is a choice.

Quote:

I have one request that I need to mention. As I think you all know, Jessica has an allergy to peanuts & must also stay away from tree nuts (almonds, walnuts etc.) Due to this, I cannot bring her to any playgroup where peanuts or peanut butter is being served (the obvious things like pbj sandwiches, pb cookies, trail mix, Reeses) Also if you and/or children has eaten peanut butter, please make sure that all toys/tables etc. are cleaned. And utensils/bowls must be thoroughly cleaned before being used on something Jessica may eat. (before we realize she had an allergy, some of her first reactions were probably because we would use a knife for pb, wipe it off & then use the same knife to butter her toast.)

If you are serving any peanut or nut foods, please let me know beforehand and Jessica and I will make other plans that day.

There are many other products that may contain peanuts/nuts (most baked goods; most candy, especially chocolate) but since it is time consuming & sometimes confusing to figure out what is safe, I don't expect you to scrutinize everything that you are serving. I will always bring extra snacks just for Jessica in case there is something that she cannot have. Though I will be a pain & ask to see the label for everything that is being served so I can tell if Jessica can have them.

As always, when I host a playgroup, I will supply all the food.

Thank you all for your understanding.

------------------ Ellen Allergic to Shellfish/ Mom to Jesse 9/01 who has PA

On Sep 27, 2004

I can understand how this much be because I faced many problems with playgroups in the past year. The letter I wrote (see message above) did help with my current play group, but that is also because it was sent to a receptive group.

Other things that I have done is to hold playgroups on my own outside of regularly scheduled ones. Invite the members of your current group (or anyone you may want to include) to a playground or similar place where food is generally not an issue, or to your home where you can tell people not to bring food. Then you have a chance to get to know them & talk about your child's allergy, rather than spending the playgroup making sure your child doesn't eat what's being served.

As for babysitters, I would not feel comfortable leaving my daughter with anyone in a group or babysitting coop that I don't know well. I am very picky with whom I leave her. It must be someone whom I know well and who understands the allergy.

Have you checked on the support group boards to see if there is a group in your area? If not, post a message & see if there is anyone else interested. Also, check with your allergist who may know if there is one in your area.

Another suggestion is to ask your allergist if you could post a flyer in his/her office advertising for play groups members for an allergy play group or for babysitters for an allergic child.

Good luck.

Elle

Quote:

Originally posted by lalow: [b] I havnt yet to meet anybody at all aware of food allergies. I feel very alone in this and kind of overwhelmed. I want to get my kids out there and around other kids but I dont know how to do it and feel like he is safe. I signed up for a MOPS group in town and got the information packet in which they state that the babysitters will not dispense ANY medicine with no exceptions. [/b]

On Sep 27, 2004

When I joined DS' playgroup a year ago, I let them know that DS has PA/TNA and egg allergy. I requested that there be no snacks known to contain peanuts/tree nuts. I said I was OK with "may contains" items being served as I understand it's very difficult to determine what's safe/not safe. I mentioned that I would make sure to always have a safe snack for DS so he wouldn't feel left out if he couldn't have whatever was being served. I also mentioned that egg-containing products were OK in DS' case as he is not ana to eggs and tolerated eggs in baked items before we knew about the allergy.

I tried to be as flexible as I could given DS' potential reaction and my comfort zone. I've fortunately had no problems with the playgroup members honoring my requests, despite the fact there are other PA children in the group whose parents have much wider comfort zones than me (i.e., allow store-bought baked goods and may contains).

Good luck with your playgroup honoring future requests.

On Sep 28, 2004

Hey Lalow,

Good luck on working everything out with your playgroup. I have been fortunate with mine, they've been really great. Here's our deal.

Initially I just asked that no peanut products be served and I would just bring snacks for ds. Then he had a reaction when another child gave him a vanilla wafer (containing milk and egg). Then he had a reaction from snagging someone else's sippy cup filled with milk. AND, this was with me trying to watch him like a hawk. (Obviously my hawklike capabilities need to be fine-tuned [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img])

After the milk reaction, I developed a safe snack list, gave it to everyone and asked them if they could abide by it.

I offered to buy all the snacks, but they said they were willing to buy things off the list.

I asked them to not bring milk in sippy cups anymore until ds learned that he can't share cups. I'm still working on that!!!

As a gesture of my appreciation, and also to provide a little more variety since eliminating milk, egg, and nuts is very limiting, I bake something each week and bring it for everyone. That seems to have gone over pretty well.

Hopefully my experience and the others posted will give you some ideas on what will work best for you. The other moms said to me they realize how stressful it must be to constantly watch him, and they wanted to keep him safe and make it easier for me.

As far as babysitters go, I feel much more comfortable with a babysitter coming to the home and me writing a list of safe foods, and leaving them out on the counter or on a specific shelf in the fridge. The only time ds has had reactions has been when he's around other toddlers eating or drinking things he can't. Are there any local colleges in your area that you could post for a sitter?

Sorry this got so long... Hope all works out well for you!

------------------ Meg, mom to: Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA Sean 2 yrs. NKA

On Sep 28, 2004

Oh, Lalow,

I forgot to add in terms of how to start: hopefully your group communicates by email. If so, start out by crafting a concise but clear explanation of your son's food allergies.

The biggest issue I've come up against is what's been discussed on this board so many times. People think allergy and they think runny nose. Make sure your email conveys the seriousness of it. With an email, you're not taking up playgroup time talking about it, but giving everyone a chance to read and digest it on their own time.

Hope this helps!

------------------ Meg, mom to: Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA Sean 2 yrs. NKA

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