Birthday Parties by family!

Posted on: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 6:28am
doyourbest's picture
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Joined: 08/03/2009 - 13:17

This has been bugging me all day since it happened yesterday, I am so glad I found somewhere to vent and get some insight on birthdays and my son's peanut allergy.

My son is 5 and 1/2 and has a severe peanut allergy since he was 14 months old. The family on my husbands side (mine consists of only parents, no siblings) continually have parties where my son can not eat the birthday cake because it contains peanuts. Sometimes they will provide skittles in their efforts, which I guess is a bit considerate but it is so easy to buy or make a cake without peanuts. Is it too much to ask to have family members try to be accomidating? Now I know I am use to reading ingredients and asking the bakery if it has peanuts, but I do not feel that this does not require much efforts. Do you think they just forget, should I remind them when we RSVP? My son was so disappointed at his cousins 9th birthday yesterday when he could not eat the Cold Stone cake with brownie on the bottom. He is use to it when he goes to friends birthday parties but family events are really starting to upset me. I just let him cry and be with his feelings, he is 5 after all and I wanted the host (my hub's sister) to see his disappointment I admit. I believe it lowers his self esteem and makes him so awefully disappointed, it pains me to see him this way.

Any suggestions?

Posted on: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 10:34am
BestAllergySites's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2009 - 21:46

doyourbest,
I am so very sorry this happened to your son. I'm glad you feel comfortable venting here. We've all had these experiences and we all need to vent.
For me personally, I would feel hurt too and sad for my son (who is 6.5). We don't have a large family, so we are all pretty close and all our family members try to make accommodations.
I don't know if your husbands side of the family is large and they just forget or not. Some families are close and some are just long distance type relatives and may not give it a thought.
Regardless, I don't see anything wrong with reminding them of your son's allergy when rsvping as you said. You could say something like, "I wanted to remind you that XYZ has a peanut allergy and can not eat foods containing peants. He would so love to be included in the party-can I help make the cake or suggest a place I know that makes peanut free ones?"
If you are not close enough, then perhaps your son could do this. You said it was a cousins bday so surely he could have spoken to his sister and asked.
I agree that this can be harmful for young children. Constant exclusion can have long term detrimental effects. Not all children are created equally and some are more understanding than others.
My son is very emotional so this type of exclusion bothers him immensely. So I try to make an effort to keep him included when I can-at family events etc. Like you, at outside bday parties he is used to it and we bring our own treats.
Again, I feel for you. I hope you can find a way to communicate your needs to your family. Hopefully it's something as simple as just reminding them.
Hope this helps!
Ruth

Posted on: Tue, 08/04/2009 - 8:32pm
EriksPop's picture
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Joined: 08/05/2009 - 02:25

Hi DYB,
My son was recently diagnosed, so I've been reading up a lot on the net and I've seen a lot of stories like yours, and it's really hard to understand why people have a hard time grasping the seriousness of this condition. Ignorance is one thing, if people don't know, they don't know. But if they KNOW and they're STILL doing this stuff... jeez...
I commend your patience with your in-laws. I'm pretty sure I would lose it. Completely.
This might not be considered constructive by the more level-headed, but I intend to clarify with people that have a hard time "getting it", that we are talking about DEATH! I would spit the word all over them up one side and down the other and ask them if they've ever seen a dead child, and if that's what they're trying to do. Or if it's just not that big a deal to them, and that's why they're so careless.
I'm not saying that's what you should do. But it IS what I will do. I don't care about the feelings of anybody who puts my son's life at risk, I don't care who they are, it doesn't mean anything to me. When I think about my son dying and I have to spend my life thinking "If only I..." it makes me want to throw up! I don't care what I have to do to keep that from happening.
If people that know of his condition are not considerate enough to take simple precautions, I will tell them to not expect to see me or my son anymore, because I don't want them killing him.
Anything you do to protect your son will always be right and never be wrong. I would advise that you try to keep that belief in your heart and let it guide you during those tough times when it seems like the world is completely populated with idiots.

Posted on: Wed, 08/05/2009 - 12:04am
allerav's picture
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Joined: 10/29/2008 - 08:22

My comment is not meant to offend at all, just a different take on the whole thing: We always bring our own treats, even if the host (including my own mother) says the treat is peanut free. I just do not trust anyone to know as well as we do how to prevent a reaction. After all, Dr. Wood's biggest peanut reaction was after eating peanut-free cookies that had been cooked on a sheet that had previously contained peanut butter coookies. We always make cool looking cupcakes that I involve my son in prior to a party, and he just expects to have his own treat. It is not fair, sure, but if his expectation is that he will have his individual cake, not what everyone else has, I don't give anyone else the opportunity to disappoint him.
Anyway, just my take, although I totally understand where you are coming from as far as family not understanding the severity of the situation. That is a whole other post! Best of luck.

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