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December 7, 2005

Holidays with Child Food Allergies

I know the holidays are different for those of us who are parenting children with food allergies. Take for instance, a simple invitation to a gingerbread house making party. My 4th grader of course wants to go with all of her friends. We know the girl who is hosting the party, in fact, my daughter went to her birthday party a couple of years ago. The family is more than willing to "do whatever it takes" to keep my daughter safe. I know they'll listen carefully as I review how to use an Epi-pen and what to do in case of an emergency. But does it mean that they won't have candies containing nuts or traces of peanuts? Even the ever popular holiday M & M's and chocolate bells? Does it mean they'll forgo the egg-containing frosting for something more likely to fall apart? I want my daughter to be independent. But my gut is a little bit afraid.

My daughter is more than ready for this. We have taught her to read ingredients diligently. She's not one to take chances or to do something "just to fit in." I trust her. But it'll still take some forward planning. I have the first phone call into the parents hosting the party. My daughter knows there will be candies and frosting there that she won't be able to eat. I am prepared to send a bag of safe candies she can use to decorate the gingerbread house. And I trust that she will use only those decorations at the party that she feels comfortable with. I wish I could volunteer to bring enough peanut-free candy for all 12 girls, but then hey, that's like hosting the party!

I know in the end she will come home from the party with a huge smile, fun stories and a great gingerbread house decoration. And I know together, we will again grow, her with her independence and me with my letting go. Hey, isn't that what parenting is all about anyway?

Posted by Ann Marie at December 7, 2005 5:32 PM