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Posted on: Wed, 12/20/2000 - 2:32am
carrie's picture
Joined: 05/15/1999 - 09:00

Today I attended my PA child's Holiday party at school. I am room mother and I baked cookies. Two other moms also made cookies that did not contain nuts or peanuts. My son only ate our cookies. Also, a parent sent in american smarties and small boxes of the mini-m & m s. I felt ok about the others having them, but my son only took smarties. The children could pick 2 things to eat. Some did choose the m & m s. this is a peanut/nut free classroom and the teachers have bent over backwards. Daily snack is a community snack off a small approved list of specific crackers and pretzels that I made up. Even with these safe snacks, my child is only allowed to eat what he brings in his backpack each day. "May contain " foods are not allowed, either. I guess I goofed saying the m & m s were o.k., but I really felt that a one time treat for the others that my son would not eat was fine. I do feel plain m & m s are a cross-contamination risk for my son. Our allergist, who is wonderful with food allergies, said that our son would be fine sitting next to plain m & m s, but should not eat them due to the possibility of cross-contamination.
I guess I am writing in order to gather my own thoughts. I think of us as having a lot of knowledge, we call companies regularly, do not have peanuts/ nuts in the home, and have a daily care plan for my child at school that only allows him to eat what he brings in to school. My child was fine with not having the m & m s and he did not have to separate from the group simply because they were there. I definately would not have been o.k. with peanut m & m s or any other outright peanut candy or product.
Any thoughts??

Posted on: Wed, 12/20/2000 - 10:52am
DeeJay's picture
Joined: 07/05/2000 - 09:00

Carrie-I feel the same way as you. My 10 year old son's holiday party is tomorrow, and I called the 3 parents who are sending treats to see what they are bringing. My son does not have a peanut-free room per se, but his teacher is really good about keeping peanut products out of the room. One of the moms was going to send Pillsbury sugar cookies (Pillisbury being a bad company for cross-contamination) and another one was making cookies with M&M's.One had already bought Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes which are not safe. I am not comfortable going through the whole cross-contamination issue with nonPA parents--(do you ever feel like you're going off the deep end trying to explain some of this stuff?) so I am sending my own treats in plus coaching my son to either politely refuse or bring them home and we will dispose of them here. Now if a parent wanted to bring PB cookies or peanut butter cups etc. then I would ask them to reconsider. I always tell them, I have no problem sending a safe snack for my son, the problem is when the rest of the 24 kids have peanuts smeared on their hands and faces and desks. So far everyone has been very cooperative and we have had no problems. I do feel bad when my son doesnt get to eat what everyone else is having, but I think it bothers me a lot more than it does him.

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 12:57am
mkruby's picture
Joined: 05/01/2000 - 09:00

Since I originally started the debate about M&M's I thought I should add my two cents here. A few years back when I contacted Mars Candy, the lady told me that sometimes if they had leftover chocolate from the peanut m&m's that they would use it for the plain m&m's. The leftover chocolate contains crushed up peanut in the chocolate, from what I was told on the phone. Of course, this was before the companies started to be concerned with peanut and nut allergies.
Now..with that said, my kids will never eat m& m's whether they have changed their practices or not, because I just plain don't trust that particular product. I look at it as Russian Roulet.
Now, I do have to say that I allow my kids to be around them, as they are candy coated and I don't feel it is a risk for my kids (of course, I let my kids sit next to other children eating pb anyway). I don't worry about them handling them either, as I know they will not eat them and I know they are too afraid of what could occur to put themselves at risk.

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 1:20am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Carrie, I think your questioning yourself about whether you should have allowed the M & M's in is okay. I just learned this morning that some of those Lunchables lunches have M & M's as the treat part. I never look at those things anyway so I'm not clear.
I believe it really has to do with you, your child and your child's school. I could very well understand your part about what was wrong with the other children having a treat when your son was not adversely affected by it?
My only problem with allowing M & M's into my son's "peanut free" classroom is would it simply be M & M's or would there be something else that someone tried to bring in that is essentially against the rules of the "peanut free" classroom. I was also concerned last week because Jesse felt that because M & M's (plain) were allowed in his "peanut free" classroom this must mean that they are "safe". This involved a discussion between him and I whereby I explained again that he cannot eat other people's food at school, no sharing, and that even if something comes into the classroom that does not mean that it is implicitly "safe". I explained to him that I do not consider M & M's safe and that he will never be eating them.
Now, this was easily solved by my talking very clearly to my son. However, again, my original problem would be that it may send a mixed message to the non-PA parents whereby they would start sending these things in on a more regular basis. But again, your decision really is based on you, your son, and your son's school.
I'm actually sad to say that I don't have the same level of comfort that MKRuby does. I would be completely wigged out, at this point, if Jesse were to sit beside another child eating pb. I'm not clear if that will ever change, for me.
To-day, I had to check all of the Christmas party food that was sent in for their Christmas party to-day. It went really well.
There has only been one time that I had to request that some chocolates be removed from the "treat" table and sent home with the other children separately. There have never been any blatant peanut products brought into the classroom. It is only from being on this site, that I even considered the "what ifs" about cookies that had been homemade (i.e., what if the cookie sheet had previously had peanut butter cookies on it?). Other than that, I am usually not terribly nervous about home baked goods. I must say that the non-PA parents seem to deal with PA in their child's classroom really well. And, my son's teacher is absolutely wonderful. Even though she wants me to come in and check the food, she is also quite comfortable checking the food herself. We talked about this this morning.
When she had her first Hallowe'en party last year with Jesse in the class, she was terrified. Now, she really feels she has a handle on it. I have little glitches in my stomach right now since there is food in his class to-day, but obviously not enough to keep me off the computer (and tying up my phone).
I can't really say how I would have responded about the M & M's because I haven't been placed in that position yet. I'd like to say that I would have allowed them in the classroom too and hope that this wouldn't have distressed Jesse. I'm not clear though.
Again, for me, it's an issue about whether you should allow any unsafe products into a "peanut free" classroom at any time. Jesse's teacher and I discussed this last week also when I had to call her re the Pillsbury products imported from the States. I asked her how she would like to handle it. I told her it would be okay if people did bring those treats in (slice and bake cookies, and One-Step brownies), just that Jesse could not have any. It was HER that was adamant that her classroom was "peanut free" and she did not want the products in her classroom. She sent a notice home that afternoon in their knapsacks.
Also, there are the legalities involved. If you okay a food to be in your child's "peanut free" classroom when you know it is not "safe" and your child does have a reaction, the school, obviously, would not be held accountable for this. You would be. I think I'd also factor this into MY decision about whether I'd allow the product or not.
I've waffled on far too long here. I actually think you made the nicer decision.
The other children were able to have a treat and your son was not affected. However, with Caring Mom's Bobby the other day, it didn't work out as nicely and that would be where the debate really is. Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 5:49am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

How has PA affected my day today? My PA son will be 2 next month. With the holidays approaching, I've had to deal with his new found love...cookies. Fortunatly, I keep a stock of Oreos on hand (they're still safe, right?) At work today, I've received 2 boxes of candy, a box full of "specialty brownies," and a tin of 3-flavored popcorn, all from business contacts. None of this will be allowed in my home, and I'm not upset that I will be giving it all away. Today, after I explained why I was giving the popcorn away to fellow employees, a woman at the office began telling me that she saw a news report today about a shot being tested to "cure" PA. (I plan on trying to watch that news report tonight. We're in Cleveland, OH, and it was supposed to be on one of the local news reports if anyone else wants to try to catch it.) As I begin sharing with everyone the information that I know about the tests being done, another package was delivered for me. Can you guess what it was? A tray full of mixed nuts. How has PA affected me today? None of this stuff has bothered me, because I will keep it away from my son. However, I've become a little sad. I know this allergy is going to get harder in the future with him as he grows and begins school. Reading all of your posts, I know you know what I'm thinking. I feel sad for Jonathan and all of your children. I get mad when peple say "poor Jonathan" when I tell them he can't have something. I always reply, it could be worse. Now, here I am feeling bad for him for the future of having to deal with this allergy. Am I crazy?

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 6:21am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I'm sorry to post again. I mentioned in my last post a story on PA in a local news report (see above post.) I just spoke to the woman who told me about it to clarify where she saw it. It seems that she's not sure, now. It wasn't today, and she thinks it was a program "like 20/20 or Good Morning America." I just wanted to let you know so that you didn't go searching for something that may not be there. Or it could be something that ran a while ago.

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 2:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jonathan's Mom, I don't think you're crazy at all. You simply had a bad day dealing with PA. That's okay. There will be many days where you may not deal with it at all, or it will be so much a part of the order of things in your home that you won't notice that you're dealing with it.
I had an interesting conversation with my PA son at dinner tonight which almost had me crying, although I didn't want him to see that. He had said last week that a child in his class had had plain M & M's in the "peanut free" classroom. I spoke with his teacher and she did not see them. She told me to-day that she only found out that they are part of the Lunchables packages as the treat part. I'm not clear if there were M & M's in the classroom or if the child had simply said to Jesse that he had some in his knapsack or whatever.
I had to do my little speech again that he can't share other people's food and that M & M's, plain, are not "safe" for him to eat.
He asked me if I had ever had plain M & M's and I said no (which is true). I said that I had always had Smarties instead. Then, he said something about well, you're 41, you had to have eaten peanuts sometime (thank-you dear child for remembering my age! and he knows that I have eaten peanut products in the past). I told him again, that yes, I had eaten some peanut products in the past but I would never eat them again.
He told me that when he grows up and doesn't live with me anymore that I can eat peanut products again. I told him that no, because of what they could possibly do to my Jesse, I will never eat them again (I know some people think this is weird, but it's just how I feel and I never liked pb anyway). Then he said that he wished there were no peanuts because then he wouldn't be allergic to them. Fine.
Jesse is an extremely smart little guy with an excellent memory. He does not have to ask me again if I ate peanuts in the past because he already knows the answer. I sometimes wonder if he's testing me in some way. At any rate, the conversation did progress as far as could he die?, the answer of which he already knows too. I said, yes, if you had a reaction to a peanut product and did not have your Epi-pen shot, then you could die. But, I would not let this happen.
The thing I find difficult about this conversation is that it isn't the first time we've had it and I always wonder what triggers his re-questioning of his allergy.
Did someone say something to him? Is he tempted to eat a peanut product? What is it exactly? He knew ALL of the answers to the questions he asked me tonight and yet he still asked me the same questions again. Why?
Fortunately, for me, my husband walked in the door and all focus was directed to Daddy and the peanut conversation ended.
I guess that was how PA affected me to-day really and I wouldn't even have posted that if I hadn't been trying to respond to you, Jonathan's Mom, and tell you that no, you are not crazy. I think, for all of us, it's a process. PA seems to affect me differently now than it did say last year or the year before and I'm sure it will affect me differently next year. It always seems to present some challenge that I'm ready to deal with.
Heartbreaking, yes. Always? No.
Season's Greetings and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 3:50pm
katiee's picture
Joined: 05/09/2001 - 09:00

Good topic Cindy, I would have to say for myself that it's been a rotten month for PA here in general. I'm finding the holiday season stressful this year, more so then last year I guess because Wade is not a "baby" anymore (no longer confined to a stroller) but a very active almost 3 year old.
There were several "days" this month when I felt so overwhelmed with this blasted allergy. Lets see, first there was the pre-school party which was held in the evening, called "international desert night", I played it over in my mind over several days and came to the conclusion that it was not an event I would consider "safe" for Wade to be involved with. We as parents were asked to bring in a peanut free desert. Well I know by now that most parents a considerate of this allergy, but I guess what stopped me was the cross contamination issue...there are so many foods (namely chocolate) which appear to be safe to the average person yet as we all know are potentially dangerous for PA kids. I decided that these parents would look at the peanut free warning from the school as simply that...peanut free. They would not consider a product unsafe unless it specifically said so. So we stayed home.
Then there was my husbands work Christmas party for the kids. I originally was going to allow Wade to attend, but thought better of it when I remembered the fact that they serve bakery made cookies to the kids. The room the party is held in is not very big and the kids run all over the place and the cookies end up everywhere. At 2 1/2, Wade is not yet old enough to understand that just because something looks good does not mean he can eat it. So my husband took my 2 other kids and Wade and I stayed home.
Then there was my daughter's Christmas concert at school followed by a party. As I've said before, the school is supposed to be "peanut free". I guess I should not have been the least bit surprized to find that there were many unsafe foods served at the party. I had brought Wade with me and had to leave.
Then we all had a bad bout with a nasty stomach virus (yes all 5 of us) and Wade was particularily sick, I went to the local pharmacy to see if I could give him pedialite to replace some of the fluids he had lost. Not one bloody person there was able to tell me if this product is safe for a PA child...so he ended up drinking flat gingerale. Not the best choice I know but he is not a water drinker and it was a better alternative to a trip to CHEO.
Last but not least, I finally got out this past week to Christmas shop and was SOOOOO frustrated at the lack of choices offered to people with PA in terms of little treats I could buy for their stokings. Buying from the Vermont Co. was not an option this Christmas ($$$) so the kids will each get a box of Smarties in their stokings, even the candycanes had a warning on the #%^&%$^& label.
Sorry to carry on so much but I guess I've been pretty bummed out ovet this, probably why I've not been on in some time.I know I should count my blessings, it's just that some days it seems harder then others.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!
Katiee (Wade's mom)

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 4:08pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Katiee, I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a hard time of it this month re PA. I think probably a lot of us are in the same boat but maybe haven't taken the time to post it.
The only consoling thing I can say to you, other than the fact that you kept Wade safe through all of this is - flat ginger ale apparently replaces electrolights as well as Pedialite. I was told this by a public health nurse I had visiting after I had my daughter as my son would definitely not drink Pedialite. Have you ever tasted the stuff?
Even though they say it's bubble gum flavour or whatever, it is still ghastly. Now, she did say that ginger ale was just as good.
Personally, I have found it very good after a severe migraine as far as settling my stomach and getting my system as back to normal as I can expect mine to get!
Again, I'm sorry you had a horrible month. I'm very fortunate in some ways in that we do live in a very small town now in a very controlled environment. My husband works with only two other people so there is no large Christmas party to attend. The only one who had a Christmas party was Jesse, that was to-day at school and everything was "safe".
I hope you and yours have a safe, wonderful Christmas and happy as well as safe New Year.
Season's Greetings and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2000 - 11:44pm
Head Cook's picture
Joined: 11/19/2000 - 09:00

Okay you asked this question ages ago, but I am just getting up to speed. Why am I always on the phone to manufacturers? Not usually peanut actually. Soy and dairy gets progressively harder to avoid. Soy is in everything, and as these companies change and get gobbled up they change recipes. It got down to only Duncan Hines cake mixes were free from dairy and soy, and now they have started using soy flour in some of the flavors. Don't ask me for the technical explanation (because every dr. explains it different) but soy allergic people are often sensitive to MSG (and my son gets asthma and migraines from MSG), because often it starts as soy or something, and I have to watch for that too, and its disquised. "Natural flavors" is very often butter or MSG.
So most of my phone time is regarding dairy and soy related questions, but I get in plenty of peanut complaints too!!!


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