A friend linked me to this article over on HuffPo today, and as I read it, I started doing a slow shake of the head out of pure disbelief. Throughout the article, the writer argues why she and her children should not suffer simply because kids have food allergies. Some excerpts:
“Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy? No. I don’t want to. I want my kid to have the made-from-scratch cupcakes, the ones made with fresh butter, sugar and yes, real flour with real gluten in it…Sometimes your kid with allergies can’t eat my kid’s birthday cake. Let’s stop the allergy insanity, and let the rest of them eat cake — the lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake.”
*takes off earrings* Hey, Carina Hoskisson? Come sit by me and we can have a little chat.
I understand – very well – that dealing with food allergies is a total pain in the ass. But there are alternatives to writing a snarky article about how you can’t be bothered to deal with a child’s medical concerns.
– You could see an allergy for what it is, which is a medical condition. If the school dance has to forgo using strobe lights because there are a handful of kids prone to epilepsy, how many parents go “Just make those kids stay home!”? None. At least, no sane parents. When it comes to any sort of condition, whether it’s a physical disability or autism or something else, parents and teachers are always willing to make arrangements for those children to be accommodated. Can we not – I mean, is it TOO INSANE to ask this of you, Carina Hoskisson? – extend that to children who also suffer from food allergies?
Listen, I don’t need you to teach my kid that she’s going to feel left out once in awhile. They already know that. They experience it often out of school. Maybe you could leave the parenting to me, and you can just think of buying allergen-free snacks (UGH omg so inconvenient, I might as well build a rocket and fly to the moon while I’m at it) as an exercise in compassion for you and your kids. [And I’ve got a list of allergen-free treats for you right here.]
– You could rally for school parties that don’t require snacks. One of my friend’s teachers declared: “No parties with sugar. I want the children to learn that we can celebrate without junk food. Parties will be learning experiences. We will work on a jigsaw puzzle or do a science experiment or learn a new board game.” Pretty cool alternative. I’d vote for this any day of the week.
– For the food-allergy parents like myself, here’s what I do. At the beginning of the school year, I ask teachers to give me a couple days notice when there’s a birthday party celebration. We whip up a batch of allergen-free cupcakes and freeze them. When there’s a birthday party, we send our kids into school with an allergen-free cupcake, and they can celebrate with their friends.
You can have your regular cake at home, right, Carina? And be a little less self-involved? A little bit more compassionate? IDK, maybe.