Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Concession Stands, Basketball and Letting Go
Now that my daughter is nearly 10, she's been wanting to do more with friends. This is good and only natural but of course for kids with severe food allergies, letting go is a little harder. I've always tried to be consistent with our rules about eating so that she will stick to them when she's away from home.
Last weekend, my daughter was invited to a high school championship basketball game and she was very excited to attend. We fed her a good-sized dinner complete with dessert to make sure she wouldn't be tempted to eat uncertain foods, asked her not to eat at the game (we said she could get a drink) and offered to pack a snack. She declined the snack and we sent her on her way.
I am happy to have her be invited to things, but I always worry a little bit when I know she'll be around food and I have no idea what it is. Sure enough, not only was there a concession stand but my daughter was offered sandwiches from the "coach's lounge" (privilege of attending the game with the daughter of a teacher--woohoo!).
My daughter declined the foods (she wasn't hungry--thanks to the big meal) and that was that. She was very secure in doing this and it was not a big deal.
One thing she pointed out to me was that the concession stand offered unpackaged foods like fresh popcorn and nachos. She also noticed Snicker's bars behind the counter.
The concession stand was being staffed by two teenage girls and my daughter noticed they were eating while they served customers. Nothing wrong with that, except my daughter said that she would probably not buy a non-packaged food (like fresh popcorn or nachos) from someone eating an unknown substance, like maybe a Snicker's bar. I admit that I hadn't thought of that aspect, but I'm glad she did.
Letting go isn't easy, but it looks like she's got some strong self-preservation instincts so I can feel pretty good about that. We're also teaching her to use an EpiPen and that will also help her to feel more secure when she's out and about.
When you've got a fairly young child diagnosed with nut allergies, you might think you have to follow them forever, that you'll never be able to let them out on their own. I learned that if you teach them reasonable caution, they'll get it. Sooner or later, they'll get it. In basketball terms, my daughter scored a 3-pointer that night.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to make sure they've got a full stomach before sending them out there. :)