This is a guest post from Lindsay Durrenberger. We love sharing other people’s stories because it’s a great way for us (by us, we mean parents of kids with allergies, asthma, and eczema) to grow as a community, for others to learn about what we experience, and for awareness to increase so our kids are met with more support. As always, please check with your doctor before implementing ideas you see on Scratch or Sniff as we are not doctors, just your friends on the internet. :)
Two days after the last school year, our family’s dynamic changed with the welcoming of our second son Case. With a newborn in tow and a two-year-old big brother Dax to entertain, our summer lunchtime routine quickly turned into something predictable and easy – peanut butter sandwiches on a blanket on the porch, enjoying the beautiful sights and sounds of south Florida while avoiding the stifling heat.
Even though it was uncomplicated and not particularly glamorous, Dax and I loved this little routine. It gave me a good excuse to put down my phone, hand off the new baby to my husband, and give my oldest some special one-on-one attention over some PB and white bread.
As the fall approached, we began discussing the details of getting back into a routine with preschool. We’d get a few new clothing items, a dashing haircut, and go shopping for easy, healthy things to pack in his lunchbox each day. I was sure to keep that peanut butter staple in the back of my mind, but I wouldn’t bank on it until I could talk to his new teacher, just in case any of Dax’s classmates had a peanut allergy.
When we went to open house two days before the start of the school year, Dax was so enthralled with his new classroom (“THEY HAVE THOMAS THE TRAIN!”), his classmates, and teachers. Any nerves I had about dropping him off were quelled when I saw him dive into all the exciting toys in his new learning space.
While Dax rolled Thomas all over the tile floor and carpet and introduced himself to the other kids, I jiggled a fussy Case in my Ergo carrier and chatted with Ms. Sydney, his teacher’s aide, about the class schedule each day, how we were so-very-close to having Dax fully potty trained, and other preschool musings. Finally, when Case decided he couldn’t handle the excitement anymore, I turned to leave.
“Do you have any more questions before you go?” Ms. Sydney asked.
“Oh yes!” I nearly shouted, “I almost forgot. Is there anything I shouldn’t send to school with Dax for lunch or snack time?”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Do any of Dax’s classmates have any food allergies I need to be aware of when packing his lunch? He loves peanut butter in particular; do any of his classmates have a peanut allergy?”
Her eyes grew wide and she paused for a few seconds before answering.
“No,” she finally replied. “No allergies in our class. Wow. Thank you so much for asking! That is so thoughtful of you!”
Was it? Was it really that thoughtful? I couldn’t believe it was such a novel thing for me to ask in an age where food allergies are so prevalent in children. I’m so blessed not to have to deal with food allergies in my own home, and I can’t imagine how scary it must be for food allergy parents to send their children to school with other kids who have who-knows-what in their lunchboxes. It was the least I could do to just ask.
“Of course! I would want other parents to do the same for my child. Thanks so much for your help.”
And then I rounded up Dax and shuffled out the door, ready for a great school year.
A few weeks into it I double checked with Ms. Sydney to make sure that the class was still allergy-free, just in case. I’m grateful that I’m currently able to safely send that peanut butter sandwich with Dax to school, a little memory of the lazy summer we left behind, but he knows that looking out for our friends with allergies is more important than our routine or our preferences. We will always be ready to change our lunch plans at any given time if need be in order to keep everyone safe.
Lindsay Durrenberger is a creative assistant in Southwest Florida. She’s married to Dan and they have two sons, Dax and Case. She’s allergic to temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and is a card-carrying Hufflepuff. She blogs sometimes at Fueled by Diet Coke.