There are plenty of reasons to not invite a child to a birthday party, I know. For example, if you’re hosting it at a trampoline park or a tae kwon do studio or a nail salon, there are head count limitations. Or maybe the last time you invited a specific child over, he set your cat’s tail on fire. There are a bevy of reasons, really.
But, if I may be so bold, if you’re thinking about not inviting my child to your child’s birthday party because of her allergies, please reconsider.
As a seasoned allergy parent, I know the drill. When there’s a birthday party, there is pizza. There are cupcakes. There is enough soda and juice boxes to fuel the energy of two dozen small humans. And my kids? Combined, they have seven food allergies — down from ten! — which is kind of a lot.
When a party invitation comes in, we’re prepared. We make a safe-for-them pizza with safe-for-them cheese and safe-for-them cupcakes. We pack a bag with wipes and paper towels, and we are ready to party.
You don’t have to do anything special for my children. I get it. Parties are stressful without even considering dietary needs. Don’t worry about that — I’ll handle it. I’d say most allergy parents will happily struggle with a bag of shredded vegan cheese and throw together some nut-free brownies if that means my our kids get to feel included.
I’ve had a couple friends go above and beyond — like ask me for my recipe for cupcakes and then SERVE those at her son’s birthday party — but that really, really isn’t necessary. (PS. If you find friends like that, never let them go. Bribe them if you have to.)
A couple of hot tips for allergy parents, while we’re here:
+ Cupcakes freeze well. We bake them in batches, pop them in the freezer, and the day of a party, stick them out on the counter to defrost.
+ Bring a big pack of wipes and leave them on the table. You’ll find that kids and parents start reaching for them at the end of the pizza fest, mitigating any risk of cross-contamination.
+ Assure the party host that BYOT is NBD (that’s “bringing your own treats is no big deal,” for the acronym-impaired), but ask what kind of activities they’re going to be doing. For example, if it’s playing with Play-Doh and your child has a wheat allergy, bring your own gluten-free clay.
+ Never leave home without emergency meds.
Thanks for being so understanding, fellow parent. We’re great party-goers, and we buy the best gifts. And by best gifts, I mean $20 worth of toys I bought online in Target wrapping paper.