It’s apparently birthday party season, as we attended another yesterday and have yet another next Saturday. For the party yesteday, I didn’t have time to bake a cake, so I got the idea of buying one from the frozen foods section. After reading a few labels, I found one with no tree nut ingredients. Not ideal as baking one ourself as I mentioned in my last post , but it works when you need something quickly.
This time, there were additional opportunities to discuss my daughter’s allergy with other parents when they asked questions.
I was sitting in a position where I could keep an eye on Eva from most angles at the party, but at one point she ran past me towards the living room where there was a table laden with sweets and snacks. I called after her to not eat anything yet because I needed to determine what was safe. The mom sitting next to me, then realized that my daughter was the child in the class with the allergy. (Throughout the school year, the kindergarten teacher had done an excellent job of informing all other parents whenever they were bringing something to eat to class.) She asked me exactly what Eva was allergic to and I explained about tree nuts, then she asked me what happens when she has a reaction. It was the first time someone had asked me that and it was a powerful moment to say, “It can be life-threatening.”
So many times, I think others assume that exposure to a food one is allergic to can just result in a mild-to-moderate reaction or gastrointestinal discomfort, like someone with lactose intolerance would experience. I then told the mom how much I appreciated everyone’s awareness of my daughter’s food allergy during the year. I always try to have something tree-nut-free for Eva at special occasions at school, but I’m not always aware every time parents may bring in cupcakes for birthdays at school, etc. I never expect others to carry the burden of accommodating the allergy, but it means so much when they are sensitive to it.