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September 6, 2005

Social Time with Child Food Allergies

Should I be worried about my child's food allergies because this Friday is the annual Ice Cream Social at our elementary school? As I thought about this year's event, I realized that my feelings were very different from years past. Let me explain...

For those of us with children who have food allergies, few places strike more fear than the ice cream shop. Thinking about all the toppings - nuts, M&M's, toffee and the likes - and the possiblity of cross contamination can make a parent shutter. We simply have never done the ice cream shop with our kids... its "off limits for people with food allergies" is our policy.

So, image our concern when our first kindergartner received a flyer announcing the event of the year, the Ice Cream Social. Believe me, this is a big deal to kids and parents alike. (There was a time in my life when an Ice Cream Social couldn't have been less important... ah, parenthood!) Anyway, our daughter wanted to go and be part of the excitement and who were we to put the "pooh-pooh" on the fun? Oh no, we were going in loaded for bear (so to speak).

Now, after a few years of these events (and other fun events like them), we simply shift into self-resource mode. We pack our cooler with ice and ice cream cups, fudge-cicles (spelling?) and other tasty frozen treats. We don't make a big deal about packing our own and now our kids simply know that is the routine. We find often that our kids are viewed as "lucky" because they get the special treat (because they, unlike their friends, get to pick exactly what they want to eat that night.) Membership has its privledges.

So, if you are a new-to-school with food allergies parent, relax. It does get better and, in fact, you will no longer sweat the small stuff. You will learn to be prepared and it feels great.

Posted by David at September 6, 2005 7:51 PM