We were at an indoor play area today and I wasn\'t sure what to do

Posted on: Thu, 03/20/2008 - 3:44pm
Marcela's picture
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 00:13

My daughters and I were with some friends today and we went to an indoor play area. We were trying to pass some time while we waited for another place to open. I had never been to this play area before and was a bit nervous that I didn't know their "food policy". So, we get there and they have picnic tables inside the play area. This made me nervous immediately because that means that the kids can just eat and get up and play. Well, we were sitting down having a snack and a woman asked me if she could share our table. I told her yes and then asked if she had any peanut butter because my daughter is allergic. Well, she said she did have peanut butter and said she would be very careful. At this point I got uncomfortable because I didn't know what do to. I mean, I wanted to tell her to make sure to wipe down both her kid and the table when she was done, but then I wasn't sure that was my place. Then I was feeling really sad because this is just a sign of more situations like this to come. I was watching Sofia like a hawk and went up to her and told her to make sure that she did not put her fingers in her mouth because there were people there eating peanut butter. I feel like I'm going to freak her out. So, after the lady was done feeding her child, she picked her up with peanut butter all over her mouth and just let her go off and play. I was so nervous, but wasn't sure how to say something, so I mentioned how I was feeling to my friend who we were there with and she went and asked the lady to clean her child's face. I was thankful to my friend but was also mad at myself for not being the one to do it. I few things were going through my head like this woman as going to think I was over-protective and that my daughter might see/hear me and because afraid and I was also thinking how much it sucks to be in this situation.

So, overall, not a fun time for something that should have been a lot of fun. I'm mad at myself for not handling things differently and I'm also just sad in general for my daughter.

Thanks for reading.

Mom to Sofia 3 y/o with a peanut allergy
Mom to Amanda with nna

Posted on: Fri, 03/21/2008 - 7:16am
Ivycosmo's picture
Joined: 09/18/2007 - 09:00

So sorry you felt this way. Please know that most of us have been in the EXACT same situation at one time or another. Until you get really comfortable, it is difficult to say something.
When my little boy was 3, we went to a park and were having a snack at the table. Another woman sat at the table with us and proceeded to feed all 5 of her children peanut butter and apples. I had the same reaction as you. My friend (also) said something to her and she happily cleaned each child off. However, one of the little girls chased my son around saying "I'm gonna get you with PB!!!!" I wanted to scream at her. But, I let her mom deal with it of course. Now (6 years later) I have found my comfort zone and will say what I feel I need to in order to keep my son safe. Or, I remove him from the sitch if necessary.
Don't feel bad, you are human. It will get easier, I promise.

Posted on: Fri, 03/21/2008 - 10:13am
Kanji's picture
Joined: 01/30/2008 - 16:26

Hi Marcela,
It is great you have such good friends! Don't beat up on yourself. I've been in your situation quite a few times.
We are often taught to be good/not make a fuss, so it is hard to stand up for ourselves when we need to. Especially if in the back of our minds is the thought we will be thought of as paranoid.
It is also hard to adjust to deal with peanuts everywhere. But we have to to keep our kids (or ourself) safe. Developing the strength and confidence needed to approach someone often takes time and experience. It has helped my confidence a lot to read about other peoples experiences and thoughts in similar situations.
When a situation like this happens again, try to ask the parent to do the right thing, and do it in a positive and confident way (it will sound much better to the person you are talking to if you are confident). For example:
'Excuse me, my child has a life threatening allergy to peanuts, and she will react when touching a surface which has peanuts on it. Would you please wipe your childs mouth and wash her hands before she plays on the play structure?.. Thank you!'
Some parents will be happy to comply, others wont. In the case the parent doesn't react in a positive way, don't feel bad, just chalk it up to the fact they really 'don't get it', and leave.
The great thing about speaking up is not only will your child be safer, she will learn to advocate for herself as she gets older, just by watching you.

Posted on: Fri, 03/21/2008 - 11:52am
Mrsdocrse's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

Sorry about that... BTDT... I still have a hard time with that stuff.. but luckily my son is older now ( 7) so he doesn't put his fingers in his mouth ect.. not as big of a concern. But I usually say something.. like " excuse me.... I need to ask you to do me a really big favor... would you mind wiping your childs hand and face before they play... is see they ahve been eating PB and my son is very allergic... then I hand then some wipes.... and thank them very much.. If they refuse.. then depending on how much control I have over where my son goes.. I would leave.
It hard.. but we are not living in a peanut free world so we have to adjust.

Posted on: Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:21am
CandKsmom's picture
Joined: 03/25/2008 - 14:29

Don't feel bad for not speaking up immediately. I used to not know what to say in those situations either. I was just in a similar situation at a birthday party. My friend who hosted the party is well aware of my son's allergies, and is always careful not to have peanuts or tn at all. However, unknown to her someone in her family proceeded to take some peanut butter out of her pantry and spread it on crackers for her son. Thank goodness I saw the jar of pb and then spotted the kid eating it (stuff all over his hands, face, etc). He ran outside to play where my son was, but I immediately said something to my friend who in turn asked that the kid be cleaned off. Thankfully everyone was very nice about it, but some people can be snippy.

Posted on: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:53am
lalow's picture
Joined: 03/24/2004 - 09:00

It will get easier. You just ask if she would please wipe off the peanut butter as your childs allergy is life threatening. Offer a wipe if she doesnt seem to have one. Say it with a nice big smile on or face. Practice in the mirror everyday till you can ask without being nervous. Most people are very nice and helpful, they just dont live with it, and the ones that are not typically comply for fear of looking rude since you were sooo nice.

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