What would you do? (Holiday related)

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 4:19pm
gw_mom3's picture
Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

I was wondering if I could get some opinions. My husband and I are discussing what to do about christmas. My MIL puts nuts in every holiday dessert and even some non-desserts. She says if she doesn't "no one will eat them". She just doesn't seem to take my daughter's allergy seriously (my daughter is PA and TNA). Last year when we went on christmas day (after the meal-we definitely won't eat there) they still had all the food on the table, but had covered it for the most part (some foods were visible) with a tablecloth. I was upset because I had brought safe treats for my kids and there was no place for the kids to eat them or even put them-the table was filled. I thought then that I would rather just go on christmas eve (or not at all but my kids would be bummed out) but my husband thinks we should go on christmas later in the day. People are still eating snacks then, though, even if the "meal" is over and all of the snacks (including PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE and cookies with nuts in them) are not safe. My husband says that our daughter 'can't be kept in a bubble forever', etc and that she'll just have to learn to be around unsafe foods. I disagree-she is only 6 years old (will be 7 by christmas) and if at that age safety is less of an issue, why bother with peanut free schools at all? (which is a big reason we homeschool even though I'm not crazy about it). Also we have never had our 5 yr old or 3 yr old tested-we just avoid the main 4 allergens as if they are allergic for now. Also, I should add that most of the family "forgets" about our daughter's allergy and none of them will agree to wash or even wipe their hands after touching nut laden foods. What would you do?


Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 6:31pm
Nick's picture
Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Well, I'm not a paranoid sort of person and generally don't blow things out of proprotion. However, if they, as family, can't change their habits and accommodate you for ONE DAY, then they aren't worth bothering with.
Tell them that the safety of your daughter is paramount and if they can't conform to your (reasonable) requests for ONE DAY, then they can "do the other thing" and have their day without you. OK, your young ones will be disappointed, but ALIVE & well!!
Put it to them that the equation is : "a safe home" or "a dash to the ER" ... and let them take the consequences.
JMHO - HTH (as they say LOL)

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 10:37pm
LaurensMom's picture
Joined: 05/23/2001 - 09:00

What would *I* do? Well, as I feel myself get tense thinking about the situation, several thoughts run through my head.
If talking to my MIL didn't work, *I* would offer to make all desserts. If anyone complained nuts weren't in them, I would tell her she could pull out her nut-filled desserts and we would leave at that point (and would make it gently known why we were leaving)
But, if niceness that didn't work, that is, if she told me not to bring anything, I would call the guests (which in my case would be people we are close to) to extend a very warm Merry Christmas as we would not see them that day. If they asked why, I would tell them that Lauren's doctor has strongly advised against her being in the presence of so many nuts as it could cause her a life-threatening reaction. I would invite anyone to stop over if they liked.
Both may sound sly or spitefull but not the way I look at it. We tend to handle this like, "We are going to do what we have to do. You do what you feel you have to do. If the 2 don't work together, we leave." We have made that point quite clear, whether it be wedding, funeral, birthday, or any other type of family function.
Sometimes I get angry if they choose "their way" over mine, which has happened a couple of times, but for the most part, they'd rather have us there than the nuts.
And, I agree with your DH to a point. I agree it is necessary to learn how to live around unsafe foods. But, there is a difference between eating an unsafe food and being in an unsafe situation. Being surrounded by nuts, to me, is not a reduced risk situation and it is important to learn to know when it is time to remove oneself from a situation.
[This message has been edited by LaurensMom (edited November 26, 2002).]

Posted on: Mon, 11/25/2002 - 11:09pm
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Not sure what I would do. We have nearly had to bow out of occasions with close friends(as close as family). But after resistance, they do actually reach out and try to do better. Not that things are perfect. There is still the "not getting it factor". Tough to disappoint children and to have them know that this carelessness is happening at their expense.
I would try again to have a conversation, at least to have it all cleaned up by the time you arrive, if not reconsider the nuts altogether. Find an ally, who might help you, and perhaps things are better received from another. That has helped me at school. A mom(generally our room mother, because she already knew the teacher from a previous child) actually told a guy off, saying PB could kill my dd and how would he feel if it were around his child in the same situation. She brought tears to my eyes when she told me. And, he would have never heard it coming from me, the "overprotective mom"!
It is unkind on their part, so I would not worry about offending by skipping the event, but you do need to worry about how the children will be affected. I think Christmas Eve sounds like a great idea, and could turn into a new tradition.
I have also explained to my one friend I had trouble with that when we celebrate with friends and family, we like to relax and enjoy them. We love them. We cannot relax and be comfortable when we have to follow our dd at every turn, watching out for all the dangerous crumbs and other children eating food she will keep away from. "It just simply is not fun, relaxing or enjoyable for us. It is actually quite stressful, and we like to be secure and relaxed in the company of our friends." is what I said. She surprised me and came back with that they love us and want us to feel like their home is a safe and happy place to be, and wants our children to grow up loving each other the way we all do.
You never know... Sorry to blab. Try talking again. Best wishes and I hope it works out. becca

Posted on: Tue, 11/26/2002 - 12:45am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Well, here`s another approach. I am assuming from your post that you have already tried countless times to explain the seriousness of your daughter`s allergy to them. I decided about two years ago that I am too old to have the same conversation with someone over and over and over about my daughter`s food allergies. So...if it were me, I would send a short note or email, something like, "As you know it is unsafe for -----to be around nuts peanuts, so please let me know whether you will be serving anything with nuts on Christmas Day, so that we know whether or not we can come." This way the ball is in her court, and you have made it clear in writing (great for people who don`t seem to listen), that SHE has a choice have the nuts or have you there.
Your husband`s opinion makes no sense to me. If situation is unsafe for your child, putting her there because she may encounter unsafe situations in the future makes no sense. For example, I have taught my dd, age 7, if kids have food with peanuts, walk away. How can I teach her that, and then take her to a family event full of peanuts? Talk about mixed messages. We have to give our kids the tools they will need to protect themselves when we are not there. Do you want to teach your daughter to go where there are nuts? I don`t think so. Based on your husband`s logic, I live in Los Angeles, where guns in school are a big fear when they get older. So should I take my daugher somewhere where there are guns to get her used to it? Unsafe is unsafe!
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited November 26, 2002).]

Posted on: Sat, 11/30/2002 - 12:10am
samirosenjacken's picture
Joined: 09/30/2002 - 09:00

Well, I agree with your husband that you can't keep the kids in a bubble. I have 2 peanut allergic children and I am constantly trying to teach them how to handle their allergy.. not how to avoid it. I feel they need to know how to deal with unsafe situations.
That said... I think your family is being RUDE and CARELESS and Insensitive. I am sorry but it is just plain wrong to serve foods that can kill.
My bil is an alcoholic. For the first year of his recovery, my inlaws asked that we not serve alcohol at our family dinners just to make it easier on him. None of us complained. It was the right thing to do. This kind of food will kill your child and the fact that she doesn't realize that boggles my mind.
Personally, I would not go to her house. I would discuss the situation with her and tell her again about the reactions and possiblity of death. If that doesn't work, tell her you will not be coming over. The risk is too great. Then I'd find a true real life story about a fatal or very serious allergic reaction and mail it to her and the rest of your family members. Give it to them in print so they don't think it's all in your head!!

Posted on: Sat, 11/30/2002 - 3:46am
LilMansMom's picture
Joined: 03/14/2002 - 09:00

My hubby and I are in the same predicament. A few weeks ago, we attended my BIL's wedding reception which was hosted by MIL. She called us several times to check the menu with us...was it safe? We felt that it would be okay to take Manuel...only to find pistachio pudding topped with pecans on the buffet and a bowl of peanuts on the cake table. She says, "I don't know what I was thinking." I think it was pretty plain she wasn't thinking at all. She has a habit of doing and saying thoughtless things. Does she really think I plan on stepping foot in her house for the holidays? This is what we are going to try this year: We are 'hosting' the dinner for his side of the family in our home. Complete with preparing the entire meal. Especially incuding desserts. We will let them know ahead of time not to bring anything. And (I know it is wrong, but I am beyond tact with this woman) they will be told at the door if they come with that dish they just had to fix, (you know the routine "Oh, I just felt so bad you doing all the work. Please, let me set this pecan pie out.") that it will not be allowed in. I agree with Carefulmom, but with a twist: My MIL is too old to have to be told more than once. If they can't abide by our rules, then next year they will have to celebrate without us. Hopefully it will only take one year for them to realize that whether or not they agree with us, we are serious.
I believe the holidays should be a happy, fun time to share with family and friends. gw_mom3, I am sorry you are having to deal with this. I hope it all works out for the best.
Little Man's Momma
a*k*a Kendra

Posted on: Mon, 12/02/2002 - 8:06am
View's picture
Joined: 12/02/2002 - 09:00

Hi!! You know, I just went thru that with Thanksgiving. I jsut told them that if they wanted to bring and serve peanut foods, that I would not be coming, because Megan's life is more important to me then the treats your going to bring. Fortunately, my family has now gone totally coo coo and keep calling me about peanut questions I cannot answer. They are going to make foods around Megan!!! Hopefully your family will understand too. Give them some printed info on the death rate of peanut allergy. GOOD LUCK & GOD BLESS. P.S. tell your husband that your child is more important and accidents happen and it is jsut not worth your childs life.
Quote:Originally posted by Nick:
[b]Well, I'm not a paranoid sort of person and generally don't blow things out of proprotion. However, if they, as family, can't change their habits and accommodate you for ONE DAY, then they aren't worth bothering with.
Tell them that the safety of your daughter is paramount and if they can't conform to your (reasonable) requests for ONE DAY, then they can "do the other thing" and have their day without you. OK, your young ones will be disappointed, but ALIVE & well!!
Put it to them that the equation is : "a safe home" or "a dash to the ER" ... and let them take the consequences.
JMHO - HTH (as they say LOL)[/b]

Posted on: Mon, 12/02/2002 - 12:47pm
KeithsMom's picture
Joined: 10/12/2002 - 09:00

I think going on Christmas Eve is better than Christmas Day, less risk of cross-cont. Have you invited them to your house where you can control the food? That way your children will still get to see them and your not the bad guy.. You do need to stick to your guns about not being around peanuts/nut if it is a risk to your childs life, never forget that.. When all is said and done everyone will work together and have a great holiday.

Posted on: Mon, 12/02/2002 - 11:08pm
AJSMAMA's picture
Joined: 06/12/2002 - 09:00

I feel so very bad for you that you have been placed in this situation. My family used to behave like that too. I am very straightforward though and flat out told them that my husband, son and I would not be in attendance if there were any unsafe foods. It took awhile, but finally everyone calls and asks before they make anything and no nuts are EVER allowed. I do hope that your situation will work out for the best as well. It is completely unacceptable for nuts to be anywhere near your allergic child. I mean for heavens sake why don't they just leave rat poison out where all the toddlers can get into it too?!!
Best Wishes,

Posted on: Tue, 12/03/2002 - 3:51am
gw_mom3's picture
Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

Thanks to everyone for your relies. I printed this thread last night and showed it to my husband and I think that he understands now where I'm coming from. I'll keep you informed as to how we work things out-hopefully it will go smoothly.
ps-we did discuss the idea of everyone coming over here to eat, but we don't have the facilities to cook or store a big meal like that. I mentioned to him that I would make all the deserts but not sure how that would go over with MIL.

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