What would you do...

Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2006 - 1:21pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We have family visit once a year, now that my mom lives with us they visit here. It is an aunt that has come every year since I can remember.
Last year, I caught restaurant leftovers stored at my house, as well my aunt sat in the LR with chocolate, turned out it was no nuts (hershey's special dark) but at the time my son was reacting to soy lecithin as well, so it was not allowed in the house. Then there was the family reunion, packed my kids a picnic, set up our own table, anyone welcome to join, but wipe your hands (wipes provided). Well my aunt proceeds to meet and greet, picking in everyone's food, shaking hands, then comes to our table and puts her hand in our food. I asked her to wash her hands and got rid of the item she contaminated, so she proceeds to loudly berate me. Did I mention she's an ordained minister in the Salvation Army? Anyways I figure I will never go to another one of these reunions, problem solved.
This year, the deal was OK, visit, no outside food. I will provide chocolate, and anything else needed, and I have.
So today DH has lost wallet and checkbook after grocery shopping, we look everywhere, nothing. In anticipation of having to open a whole new checking account, I begin checking the dumb places we put keys and checkbooks when putting away groceries, we sometimes store overflow in my mom's fridge. So as I'm checking her cupboards and fridge, I find a nut contaminated chocolate bar and choc covered espresso beans also nut contaminated in her freezer that my Aunt has stashed.
So now of course they are playing the victims, the "I'll leave if you want me to" **** , and I am ticked. DH is at work, I'd like to kick Aunt out, but am afraid dh would have a fit. He'll be home about 2 am, but he's been doing overtime and I hate to hit him with this as soon as he walks in the door.
I deal with enough of this in the world, I will not at home. I am at least not allowing my aunt to stay here anymore when she visits, she lives in NJ. I had a simple rule, DO NOT BRING ANY FOOD. Mom knew about the coffee beans but said she didn't think it was a problem. Keep in mind I specifically mentioned the chocolate incident from last year, and everyone agreed to no food, so I don't know how far I should take this with my mom. She knows better and has been very good since I caught her with the contraband walnuts last year, but now this. She knew that Aunt had put those things in her freezer, and saw her eating them, and knows and agreed to the no outside food rule.
I am beyond ticked, had hoped to sleep tonight, but don't see it happening now without major sedatives.

Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2006 - 1:36pm
VariegatedRB's picture
Joined: 11/23/2005 - 09:00

Personally, *I* wouldn't freak out about may contains if that's what they are. If they actually *have* nuts, I would be very upset. I would throw the food out and explain (in the am after everyone has slept on it!) to mom after aunt leaves (in order to 1. be a gracious host and 2. keep peace in the family) that since she won't support the rules in order to keep her grandchild safe that she won't be able to have aunt come as a guest. Next year, when visiting time comes round... I would find some other option- even if it meant (and I don't know what options are available/the details of your situation) putting mom & aunt in a hotel room for a week...
I would remind mom that it is YOUR house, that she needs to respect YOUR rules, and that you have gone out of the way to make her (and her guests) comfortable.
Now... RELAX! You need to sleep so you can be a good mommmy! Venting here is good! Remind yourself that the foods likely are no risk to ds. If anything *has* to be decontaminated, do it, but then remind yourself ds is safe.
The problem here is disrespect at this point, not safety.
Tara P

Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2006 - 2:24pm
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I agree-- from the perspective of having handled these things both ways. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
The big knock-down-drag-out scene... Ugly.
The sweet "DH and I really need to talk to you about something" after you have calmed down? Better... not guaranteed not to result in an ugly scene (clearly, given this person's hx) but still preferable.
I recommend that when your DH is ready to discuss this with you, that you should emphasize that this probably wasn't a matter of actual safety so much as total disrespect for the rules of the house.
Before she leaves? Tell her that next visit, she's shacking up at the local motel. And tell her why.
Then? When she shows up, make it a point to ask her if she is hauling any food over your doorstep and then calmly confiscate it. Literally block her entry into your house until she answers (remember-- SHE has forced you to be the food police).
I had to do this a few times with my mom and stepdad but they finally got it.
Sorry this visit has gone sooooo badly for you!
Breathe in and out slowly and eat some safe chocolate (since you obviously aren't going to be saving any for Auntie... heh heh heh.)
Think happy thoughts and try to get some sleep! {{hugs}}

Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2006 - 4:41pm
JenniferKSwan's picture
Joined: 06/19/2006 - 09:00

Why is family so much harder to deal with? I mean, my Mom's Group has come to the point where they have no nuts at anything for us, ask before they even hand Aiden a cracker to feed to a duck (he has multiple allergies) and have one food free event per week (though have asked what Aiden can eat to have on hand for the kids that just can't wait.) The woman who suggested doing this only knew me in passing!! So how is it a virtual stranger gets it and my own family is clueless?
So you want to know what I would do? Personally, I would earn a black belt in karate and kick your aunt to the curb. Honestly, I would like to do that to more than a few members of my husband's family as well. At Christmas, his aunt had nuts on the table and of course people were snacking on them. My husband got up, removed the offending bowls and reminded his aunt about my son's allergies. He then asked that everyone washed their hands and faces after dinner and to please refrain from kissing Aiden. I was SO proud of him. Her response, "But they aren't peanuts." What part of all nuts are to be avoided, don't you get??? His cousin was very sympathetic and said she understood exactly where we were coming from. Fast forward to Easter, Easter egg hunt at his cousin's house along with a dinner buffet. What's on the table? Peanut butter cookies and other peanut containing chocolate bites. Not only that - they were on the edge of the table. Despite telling her daughter repeatedly that we brought Aiden's food for him and he can't eat anything on that table because it would make him sick, she kindly unwraps a Snickers bite and tries to give it to him. It took an hour and half to get there, we stayed 20 minutes. We have not been to another family outing since then - only to have them here. Heard from another cousin's wife, that his aunt says we want to keep Aiden in a plastic bubble for the rest of his life. And if I do? What business is it of theirs?
Aiden was diagnosed PA (among others) in August of last year when he was just short of 8 months old. We were told the usual, avoid peanuts of any kind, nuts, may contains, legumes, etc. You know what? I'm sticking to it. I have an absolutely nil comfort level at this time and while it keeps me from sleeping at night, it keeps Aiden breathing on a daily basis. We have not had a reaction, nor do I know how he would react if he was to come in contact. We have had too many close calls with other allergens that we didn't know about. Maybe, just maybe my dilligence will pay off and my son will be allergy free someday. Or maybe not and I will have to relax my comfort level (I just can't see this as happening right now). In the meantime though, respect my wishes because you don't have a clue what it's like to think you could possibly never see your child again because someone selfishly can't abide by your rules. You don't read the In Memory posts on this site and see what allergies can do. You aren't reduced to tears everytime you have to respond to yet another selfish family member.
I apologize if I digressed. But as you can tell, this is one touchy subject for me too.
Mommy to Aiden 1/26/05 PA,wheat,barley,soy,egg and others yet to be discovered DS#2 is due July 15, 2006 who we hope will be AF

Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2006 - 11:41pm
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I agree with the others who said that there is no risk to your child from may contains in the fridge, but that isn`t the point. It isn`t my house; it is your house and if these are your rules then they should be followed. I have been living with this much longer than most on this board (my pa/milk allergic dd is 11), so what I would do is just throw them away and say nothing. When she comes to you asking where her candy is, just act totally innocent and say "I guess you forgot, but we don`t allow this in the house due to _____`s peanut allergy." I personally believe if she wants to sneak it in, then you have every right to sneak it out. I would act like you thought she just forgot, and maybe she really did forget(not that it makes it okay, my aunt asks every time we go out to breakfast if dd would like to try restaurant pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc., all of which is impossible due to milk allergy. It drives me crazy that after all these years she still can`t remember.)

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2006 - 12:13am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks all for your POV's. My aunt did not forget, she prefers the fancier chocolate (apparently the special dark she snuck in last year is no longer good enough, that is what I bought her). She took the offending items to her car last night after they were discovered. Her and my mom are on a field trip today to visit some friends, I will talk to hubby when he gets up. If they bring home any packages I plan to search them, I won't kick her out, but she is not staying here again. Both her and my mom are the give them an inch they'll take a mile sort. I don't know what to do with my mom, she has been so good, now this.
I realize the danger was slight on the chocolate bar, it was a tree nut risk only, but she snuck it in and hid it. My mom didn't even know she had the chocolate bar. The rule was that she bring in no food, we are now accomodating my nephew's egg allergy as well as our peanut/tree nut and s
On a lighter note, onions make my aunt horrribly sick, so I put post it notes around the kitchen that said "no onion" to remind me because I chop up onion in everything. My aunt said, "well for one week it won't kill you not to have onions" funny how people are isn't it?
Live and learn, I will NOT host again.

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2006 - 12:26am
JenniferKSwan's picture
Joined: 06/19/2006 - 09:00

French onion soup for dinner tonight??
Mommy to Aiden 1/26/05 PA,wheat,barley,soy,egg and others yet to be discovered DS#2 is due July 15, 2006 who we hope will be AF

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2006 - 12:47am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Good one Jennifer, I am so glad I am not the only one who thinks this way.

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2006 - 12:55am
SpudBerry's picture
Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

The only thing I can think to add to the rest of the comments - is to remind them, that you are doing this for the safety and sanity of your child. That your child deserves to feel safe in his own home. That is the reason for the rule - it's not just some crazy "rule" you've decided to impose on your family members.
I might even have this conversation around ds depending on his age. Maybe a good dose of old fashioned guilt might smack some sense into them?
And I would definitely remind them how they would feel if their contraband caused a life threatening reaction. Would their childish prank really be worth risking their grandson/grandnephew's life. Because that is what it is - a childish prank to try to get around the house rules without being caught.
Mom to 6.5 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not.
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2006 - 1:42am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Another point is that when they force you to repeatedly address this, it is not lost on your child. My dd does not like these issues being discussed, when they involve conflict and rules being broken. Maybe you can play on that side of it. Because you do have to caution your child to be careful around an auntie who sneaks in unsafe foods. I have had to tell to ask her uncle of he has had nuts and to wash his hands and to avoid his kisses. It makes her feel a bit upset that he doesn not be more careful for her, and she loves him so. becca

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2006 - 3:16am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Dh in support of me, does not want to kick out the aunt, but is willing to post signs and help conduct "customs" style searches at the door.
We will have a sit down with the offenders later and I'll let you all know how it goes.
Thank you all for the support.
Huge hugs to all of you!


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