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July 30, 2007

Taking a Peanut Allergy to a Ballgame

I went to a ballgame with my food allergic 11 year old daughter last week and before the game we enjoyed a fun dinner for two. It made me think about how things with her peanut allergy have changed for us over the years.

My oldest daughter likes baseball and steak. When I offered to take her downtown for a Padres game and wonderful steak dinner, she lit up like a Christmas tree. Of course going to a ballgame means peanuts; lots and lots of peanuts (did I mention she is allergic?). Add to that dining out a high end restaurant (forget a menu with a full list of ingredients) and you've got a possible sticky situation.

Now, if you've been reading ChildFoodAllergy.com for awhile, you know that we tend to err on the safe and reasonable side of things. We don't compare peanuts to rat poison and we don't think the whole world should change its way of living just for our daughters. This outing pushed the boundaries of my regular standards.

I made a reservation and let them know about the nut allergy then. We arrived at The Palm and our hostess, Sarah, treated us well. She told both our server and the chef about the nut allergy. Kim, our server, brought the sourdough bread because she knew there were no nuts in it. We asked about the steak, salad and fries and were assured all were safe - we were off to a great start. The beer (and soda) were cold and the food was excellent. **** (four stars)

Then came the ballgame. Look, baseball and nuts just go together and my buddy's seats are unbelievable - no nosebleed section for us today. We approached the whole experience with a sense of excitement and in a relaxed fashion. If I stressed over the allergy, my daughter would have picked up on that right away.

So, here's what we did. We strapped the epi-pens on and found our seats. When we got there, I struck up a friendly conversation with the couple behind us. They were having a great time and were happy to see a youngster there to enjoy the game - they were pulling for her to catch a ball tossed into the stands by a player on his way to the dugout. We talked for awhile and then I mentioned my daughter's severe peanut allergy. I said, "Can I ask a favor of you?" The usual polite response is "Sure" and that is exactly what they said. "My daughter has a severe peanut allergy. If she comes in contact with one, we'll likely end up at the hospital tonight. I'm sure you are planning on having some at the game tonight, could I just ask that you be really careful with the shells and maybe put them in a bag instead of tossing them on the floor?" The woman said, "Oh, I'm not having any nuts tonight." The gentleman responded, "So, I can have them, just don't toss them down?" That's right. "Okay, no problem."

Now, I know not all baseball fans would be that receptive. Had the people behind us been callous toward the food allergy, we would have simply found other seats. It would not be worth the risk of someone experimenting with my daughters peanut allergy. This night went perfectly (well, except she didn't walk away with a game ball). I am so thankful for these times with my daughters. Soon enough, they won't want to spend all this time with dear ol' dad.

Any restaurant that treats the child food allergy community well deserves a plug. A bit about The Palm... many locations across the US. Been in biz for over 80 years and renowned for its aged USDA prime steaks, jumbo lobsters, and warm smiles.

Posted by David at July 30, 2007 9:24 AM


Glad to hear you two had such a great time!!

Posted by: Growing in Grace (Nicole) at July 30, 2007 8:39 AM

That's so great. My husband loves taking my 3-year old son to baseball and hockey games too and has had similarly positive experiences. I have to admit that given the option, I opt out of going. I feel like I will be too stressed out and you are right in that my son would probably pick up on my nerves. No reason to ruin a perfectly good game. :)

Posted by: Ria Sharon at July 30, 2007 9:12 AM