End of the school year, and the end of the T-Ball season is upon us here. My son’s T-Ball team won a pizza party for selling the most fund-raising raffle tickets; [mostly due to my husbands efforts]. But Caleb is allergic to Dairy and wont be able to have any. So I need to plan to bring something separate for him, or feed him beforehand. They plan to have something for dessert Friday night too. So I get to make for the whole team, or make and bring something special for him again. Last weekend one of the parents brought cupcakes for all the kids, and Caleb could not have any. I hate feeling like he is left out, or that he might be sad about not getting to do things that his friends can; and in truth, I think it probably bothers me more than him. He seems to just accept that is the way of it, and I do encourage that attitude; but there is that part of me that still feels- what? I guess a little insulted that his food allergies are not taken into consideration by others. It goes back to the fact that unless a person has to deal with it, or knows someone who does; the idea that food can make someone sick, or kill them- is just abstract.
SO how to deal with these socially awkward moments? My best advice is to establish good communication with the people in your life: the teachers, coaches, parents, and clubs. Let them know about the food allergies in the beginning, and ask for advance notice of parties and such so you have time to prepare food, treats, or snacks as the function demands. I try to keep a stash of “Safe” cupcakes [and cookies], in the freezer for just such occasions, that I can pull out and frost, for parties. I also keep a supply of Enjoy Life chocolate bars stashed away that can be offered as special treats in a pinch! But the best tool in my kit is -by far- the wonderful positive attitude my son always has. We talk about his allergies, he knows he can’t eat some things, and that food can make him very sick. He accepts it and is great about telling anyone who will listen about his allergies, and his medic alert bracelet. We do role-plays where I will ask him what to do if someone offers him unfamiliar food, or any food- what should he say? How should he respond if friends offer him snacks or teachers? What should he do if he starts feeling sick, or has trouble breathing or his throat or mouth hurts? I also have taken pictures when my boys have allergic reactions, this helps my allergist see what the reactions were, but also helps my boys see it. I don’t pretend to know all the answers here. I fully admit it. It is definitely trial by fire when it comes to dealing with food allergies!