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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Milk, Tree Nuts and Peanuts, OH MY! - Handling Gatherings with Poise


Nothing like an invite to spend a hot afternoon swimming, playing baseball and grilling with dear friends. Is there really any better way to kick off a hot summer season? But what if your child has numerous allergies? And foods with those allergies are all over the serving table?

Smart Allergy Inspiration - Milk, Tree Nuts and Peanuts, OH MY!

The kids hit the water and my husband quickly got comfortable socializing and relaxing poolside. I, to my embarrassment, found myself entering a type of twilight zone. The dining room table was covered in a mass of eye-catching food items. Almonds in a bowl, tempting cream cheese filled strawberries and many enticing and unusual snacks.

Sounds delightful, doesn't it?  Unless, of course, your children are allergic to items such as milk, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts. 
I caught myself staring at the peanut-butter celery sticks conveniently placed at the edge of the table. To most visitors, this standard snack is tasty and healthy with a nice dose of protein. For me, 'anaphylaxis' warnings are going off.

I am thinking about how the peanut butter may get accidentally smeared on a doorknob or household surface. If my child gets this on his hands, how close is the nearest hospital? His first reaction was slow. This time would likely be much faster.

Oh my...what to do.

My first thought is to grab the kids and leave. My husband can find a ride home, if needed. However, would this really be the best option?

Hesitantly, I asked my husband. His approach was simple and straight forward: talk with our kids and discuss our food concerns, especially the celery sticks and peanut butter. Remind them to speak with us before eating anything.

And that's exactly what we did. Guess what? They behaved safely and responsibly. The avoided the main table. They asked before eating anything.

We ALL completely enjoyed an evening spent with friends.

I had to get over the fear of the MILK, TREE NUTS and PEANUTS, OH MY. No matter what their allergies are, we, as parents, can't protect them all of the time. Our greatest gift to them is equipping them with the confidence and ability to make the right decisions in regard to their own safety when necessary.

I am coming to realize that having food allergies has it's own blessings and we can learn a lot from how our children handle situations. These two kids handled their evening with poise and spirit. They realized before I did that it's the company you keep, NOT the food you eat which makes a great party!

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