Friday, June 25, 2010

Having Peanut Allergies Doesn't Mean You Can't Strut Your Stuff

This was a tough week for peanut allergies. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to back off its proposal for an airline peanut ban after pressure from peanut farmers (but hopefully not from numerous ignorant, hateful comments they received from folks not in the know but very creative with their language).

McDonald's introduced a new Reese's Peanut Butter Cup "McFlurry" rendering a former nut allergy-friendly restaurant questionably safe for those with peanut allergies. (More on that development in a future post.)

Some of this stuff has gotten me down and it's gotten many of you down. So I thought it was time to share a positive story from our family.

Many people viewing this blog have very young kids who have been recently diagnosed with severe peanut and/or tree nut allergies. The first thought we have when this happens is how our kids are going to coexist in the "nutty" world we live in.

For example, parents have worries about school, sports, extracurricular activities and any type of normal social life. They worry that this will be impossible for their kids. I know that I worried this way and it's a natural worry. Food affects all parts of life and peanut butter is a number one risk at any school.

So let me tell you about what I witnessed last night. My 10-year-old daughter was in a production of High School Musical Jr. (for younger kids) as part of a theater camp. She didn't have a big role--it was her first play and she was cast as a Wildcats Cheerleader. The cast was huge--she was up there with dozens of other kids most of the time.

This is exactly the kind of thing I wondered if she could ever do. Because kids are eating peanut butter right and left, it's going everywhere and if there's peanut butter there is always risk of reaction.

All of this is still true. But this girl had a huge smile on her face the entire show--she was having the time of her life. She was confident and happy and it showed.

Risks were undoubtedly part of this experience as they always are. Backstage, I told her to watch what she eats (we packed her own snacks of course) and not to share certain makeup (especially lipstick--goes on the mouth!) with other cast members. When questioned after the show, she told me she had followed all of our rules and even read the label of foundation makeup before it was applied.

I know I've written about this before, but for those of you who are new to my blog, I want to reassure you that the lessons sink in. When you teach your severely allergic kids how to cope, they will. And then you can sit back and enjoy them as I did last night.

Both of my daughters were in shows last night and they were both fabulous. For the first time, I really felt some of my worry subside regarding my oldest and her allergies. She is growing and learning how to be independent and the proof was right onstage for me to see.


Steph said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I've been on the food allergy journy for about 1 year now. Your blog has helped to keep me grounded and moving forward despite feeling overwhelmed most of the time. Thank you.

Congratulations on your daughters successfully performances. You must be so proud! I'm glad to hear that your daughter is doing well.

Thank you again for your blog. It helps to put things in prespective and not make the food allergy world seem quite as lonely.


momof3 said...

The DOT is has not tabled the idea yet.

They are taking public comments until August 9th on

Search peanut flights and add your comments.

The peanut farmers are lobbying hard..but so are we moms!

Dawn said...

Love the blog post! And so true. My son is going to turn 5 on the 29th but I have taught him so much about his Peanut and tree Nut allergies that he knows to always ask and to read labels. Great post!

Melinda said...

Thank you for posting this. We learned of my 19 month old son's severe nut allergy in March, and I have spent time wondering what it will be like for him when he's older and in school. This post has been helpful to me, thank you for that.

Jenny said...

Sorry, readers, DOT has tabled the peanut-free airline discussion.

It truly makes me sick to my stomach, but visit and check their statement on this. There is a sidebar describing DOT's recent action on a proposed peanut ban.

Unknown said...

Hi Jenny, I LOVED your posting today! I actually had tears in my eyes imagining your daughter up there! My daughter is 10 too, so I can totally relate to the pride and excitement you feel when they do all the right things when it comes to their allergy. To your daughter, I say "you go girl!" I'm glad she had the chance to strut her stuff and took it! Keep up the great, informative, fun writing!

Susan said...

This year, my son's dance instructor banned peanut snacks before dress rehearsal & the show! The boys don't have to wear make-up, but if he decides to pursue this (he's 7), going forward we also have to worry about gluten in lipstick.