Valentine’s Day…from a food allergy mama’s perspective….

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. I hope you all have had a great day making your allergy-friendly pancakes, waffles, cookies, cupcakes and cakes. I hope your sweet little kiddos got everything they wished for today…and felt love and acceptance during what might be a difficult day at school.

Yesterday, John came home to tell me something that happened to him at school that broke his heart and spirit…not something you want to hear from your child. He was made to feel excluded and different, and as a 10-year-old boy, that kinda sucks. As his mom who has worked tirelessly for several years to give him and kids like him the opportunity to feel normal, included and safe in their very own little safe havens, aka their classrooms (classrooms, NOT lunchrooms), I felt defeated and just tired of it all. So I immediately went home, typed up this email to his school peeps. I want to make clear….his teacher and principal have gone above and beyond to make healthy and inclusive changes at our school.They’ve been outstanding. I know this issue could not have been prevented by them, because they have been awesome at asking me what THEY can do to make kids like John feel more secure, safe and included in their classrooms. I couldn’t ask for more. What seemed obvious to me, however, is that we really are a culture that is obsessed with giving lots of food and sugar to kids not just during class parties, but for birthdays, or for doing something great at school etc. All I’ve ever asked for with regard to serving food in classrooms that are potentially life-threatening to a food allergic child is to take a moment to stop, think and imagine what that child’s life is like. Think of THAT child…and what that world of exclusion and terror FEELS like. That if they made a mistake, inadvertently ate something, they could DIE. In minutes. Just for a moment. I wish we all could remember that Valentine’s Day, like every other day of our lives, should be about LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, COMPASSION AND KINDNESS of others. None of us are perfect…but if we remember to love, we’ll remember to be cool with kids who have food allergies, disabilities, challenges, etc.

Here’s an excerpt of that email…sent with a broken heart. ;(

“I wanted to reach out to you both to let you know about an incident that happened today with John. He came home from school very upset, and hurt about a comment made regarding Valentine’s Day treats. A classmate was responding to a discussion that no candy or food would be allowed with valentines this year, and this classmate said “why don’t we put John and XX, the other food allergy kid, into the pod so we can have our candy?” or something to that effect?  I also heard from John that another classmate grumbled about no candy, and that even a couple more said their parents were annoyed because they already went out and bought a bunch of candy and now what were they supposed to do?

I truly appreciated the concern and care in asking me what to do about food in the classroom for the party in order to keep FA kids safe AND included. XX, you have gone above and beyond in helping raise awareness about food allergies at our school and keeping all our kids safe and included. XX, you’ve been wonderful and have always protected John and put his safety and well-being first.

As I’ve always advocated, I don’t believe in food bans, but I do believe in food free celebrations in order to keep children with LIFE THREATENING food allergies safe, and included. And, there are also a whole set of parents who actually wish there were LESS food, candy donuts cookies, etc. that was distributed to their children. Parents in general are trying to keep more tabs over what is being served to their kids at school. When you throw in the whole food allergy factor, and it could jeopardize a child’s life by having unsafe food in their own classroom, it’s even more important to establish clearer boundaries.

I am always teaching parents of FA children to never apologize for their child’s health condition. Because it is a condition, it is not a choice, or a dietary intolerance, etc. Food allergies can and do kill, and have killed children in their own classrooms. I just don’t understand why we can’t promote a fun, happy Valentine’s Day or other celebration WITHOUT food? Are games and projects not fun enough? Don’t 99 percent of these children get whatever food they want, whenever they want? Should kids like John feel like they need to be quarantined to the pod so their classmates can have food that John can’t even be near because it puts his life at risk? Shouldn’t we be teaching ways to look out for another, take care of each other, put others first?

Finally, I asked my first grader, who is brutally honest about what Valentine’s Day means to him…is it about candy and treats? Cards? His answer? Love, Valentine’s Day is all about LOVE. To that I’d like to add, any celebration at school should be about love and the inclusion of others. And if there are kids in the classroom who could die or feel totally left out because of food for a party, then we should be thoughtful of them by having celebrations that are fun and inclusive for EVERYONE.

John’s bummed, and hurt, but it’s par for course because he’s had to deal with these types of comments since preschool, kindergarten and first grade, until the time our school district enacted Food Free Celebrations. After a year of griping about the change, no one cared, loved the change and it became a healthier way to celebrate parties at school…something EVERYONE can appreciate.

Thank you again to you both for all your help and support. It is truly appreciated.”

36 Responses

  1. I’m so sorry your son had to experience that:(. Both of my FA kids have been on the receiving end of similar comments and it breaks my heart as well but I’ve taught my kids how to handle the rude remarks and move on. Unfortunately it won’t be the first or last time we experience these situations. On a more positive Valentine note, I made your brownies today (heart shaped) for my sons 1st grade class and the kids RAVED about them….”best brownies ever” I heard by many. So, thank you from the bottom of this Mom’s heart for helping to make my son’s Valentines Day very special :-). And I LOVE your new cookbook!! The chocolate waffles are a new favorite!!

  2. Kelly – We too have experienced a lot of this recently in my daughter’s 4th grade class. (Must be the age group?!?!) It’s a hard lesson for kids to learn so early that some people are just cruel and insensitive. Thankfully, so many others are not! I’m so sorry to hear of your heartbreak… I know the feeling of just wanting to “give up”. I’m here to remind you not to!! You are a strong voice for so many parents and your letter to the school is perfectly written. Thank you for sharing and keep fighting the good fight. You are making a HUGE difference, even though at times it may not feel like it. :)

  3. Kelly, I completely understand. My daughter is also in 4th grade. We are in the process of revising a 504 Plan – we’re in the 3rd draft, if you can believe it, because the principal is having that hard of a time giving up exclusion of FA children. Knowing that she was being excluded on Friday for a Chinese New Year celebration, we ordered pricey a cake from the local allergy safe bakery as her “safe treat” to share with a friend while the others ate greasy Chinese take-out noodles. The very next school day, the teacher was on the phone with us telling us about the next celebration, this time for good behavior. Scared by the 504 process a little, she wanted to buy a treat for the entire class that our daughter could eat. She added, “Or I could get pencils or erasers.” I said, “You are ABSOLUTELY right! You COULD get pencils or erasers! That’s a GREAT idea! Yes, do that.” Ugh.

  4. Heartbreaking… I am absolutely dreading putting my son in school b/c of this very reason… he is only 2 1/2 now, but unfortunately, I don’t see much changing in the next 2-3 years. I intentionally sent my kindergarten aged daughter to school with tattoos attached to her valentines, instead of candy, but many of the cards she received had candy from her classmates. The general public does not seem to empathize with FA children, and just do not “get it.” On a positive note, I made your chocolate pudding cake today for our family to have for V-day dessert tonight…. It was SO delicious, and my son was a chocolately, happy mess after having it!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that John had to go through that. My son is also 10 and I know we have had our ups and downs this year with the food battle at school. But there is always those little battles won that make me smile. One such win happened yesterday at my son’s V-Day party. Two of the girls in his class went out of there way to make sure he had something safe. One bought the suckers that he keeps in the classroom and another gave him a lego guy instead of candy. He was so happy and I was so thankful. I don’t know these girls or their parents, so for them to make my son was safe and had a good time really means so much.
    People are slowly understanding at our school but like you said food is so ingrained in our culture that people really don’t know how to have fun without it. Things are changing because of people like you that are out there spending the word. Thank you.

  6. I’m so sorry. BTDT with my two kids. My daughter, in fifth grade, was made to stand outside the classroom in the hallway (there was a sub that day) when unsafe treats were served in the classroom. Then the sub forgot she was out there. How can adults working in child-related fields even have the tiniest feeling that excluding a child is okay?!?

    • Oh, my! How is this ok on any level? Being a sub is no excuse. It enrages me that your daughter was so obviously excluded and then forgotten about! Teachers (and school counterparts) need to put the children first, always! I’m so sorry your daughter had to experience that.

      • I’m appalled at that sub’s “judgment call”!!! To esteem the serving of such treats over a child’s feelings and inclusion is really poor judgment. I’m so sorry that happened! I really hope you address that incident with the proper staff. And “she was a sub” is not an excuse.

  7. Kelly,
    Your post and that email brought tears to my eyes. You are exactly right. And by sharing your experiences and reactions, you give us all hope and strength.
    With respect,
    Natalie

  8. So sorry Kelly. I understand. This is why we have made the decision to homeschool from here on out. My son has been in a prek program at a military facility (they have amazing protocols in place for allergies!) and yet – yesterday parents were allowed to bring in candy for valentines, and I found 4 pieces in his valentines bag that would have killed him. 4!! Thank goodness I have ingrained in him well enough not to eat or touch anything unless mommy has cleared it first, so the poor little guy waited all day for time to go home so I could look at his candy….I am so angry I can’t even see straight – and nobody cares. Oops sorry. Ugh.

  9. Hello Kelly, I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now and first I want to say I admire you and I think what you are doing is BIG. From the other side of the planet (we live in Argentina) things are even more difficult since food allergies are barely known by people and food companies do not declare allergens in their labels. I have two daughters with dairy allergy, the older one is 4 1/2 and it has been very difficult since she stated kindergarten last year, dealing with the school but mostly with some irrational parents. I cannot even think about proposing food free celebratrions, they would think i’m crazy. But the do have a snack during the morning (in the classroom) and last year we agreed it would be dairy free, but they are rethinking this for these year, so now have a big fight to deal with.
    I am very sorry about your son, it brought tears to my eyes. He is very lucky though, to have you as his mom. You are an example to me, you give me strength and inspiration.

    Thanks and regards,

    Paola

  10. This is the first year my 4th grader’s school (funny how we have so many the same age!) has a food ban on celebrations. I hear mixed reactions about it – most parents are relieved, but the kids seem to gripe a bit. My daughter has had to hear the complaints more than me, since it is the kids that miss the treats more. Sigh. For my daughter’s skating team, I sent an email with a long list of safe treats (fruit, starbursts, skittles, airheads, smarties, jolly ranchers, etc), and the parents were grateful and surprised at how much is still ok for FA children if the occasion calls for it.

  11. Our entire culture is so wrapped up in food, it is disgusting to me. My son is allergic to eggs and dairy, and our school has a policy that all party snacks need to be approved from a safe list. However, the kids had so much fun playing the games at the last class party I attended, that it was obvious that the snacks were not even necessary! He’s in 4th grade

  12. I was frustrated with valentines day at school too. The class instructions were that no candy was to be given out with valentines, but parents could donate things to the goody bag that would be handed out. All candy in the goody bag would go through the nurse and non food items were preferred.

    My son came home with candy taped to valentines. : (

  13. Ugh. So awful! My son is only two and a half and we cannot go on play dates because they are ALL focused around food! Sunday school is already proving to be a nightmare…we are seriously considering homeschooling, at least until he is old enough to understand and self-advocate, simply because I can’t imagine going through the battles I’m sure to face at that point.

    I’m so sorry your son was made to feel excluded. I hope the parents and children at his new school start to “get it” soon. Thanks for sharing!

  14. So sorry your son had to endure being labeled the fun police – it hurts for us parents so I cannot imagine how much more deeply that hurt is felt by a child at such a tough social age (my oldest is 9). On the other side, the school for my other two kids has instituted an across the board “healthy celebrations” policy – and it has been great. Lots of grumbling from the “what’s wrong with a cupcake” crowd of parents, but my preschooler came home with a bag of valentines with NO candy – so I think that it is really sinking in now with parents.

  15. I am so sad to hear all these stories of children being mistreated and bullied. Exclusion is a form of being bullied. I always revert back to the Golden Rule. I don’t understand why some people raise their children to not think about others’ feelings. Then they grown up to be adults that only think of themselves and how that affects themselves. How simple would it be if we all treated others with kindness, respect and LOVE?
    My son is 4 and we have had a rough year preschool wise. He has food allergies along with having asthma attacks because of a dog allergy. His preschool brought in pets for ‘pet week’, which I had never heard of! I found out about pet week from a sign up sheet to bring in your pets. I had a discussion with the teacher and director and eventually came to an agreement with the director that the dogs would not be in the classroom, that I would be present for the visits and know ahead of time. After that the director brought her own dog in. Without telling me!! She called me AFTER school!!!!! And then proceeded to put a mask & glove on my child!!!!!!!!!!! I never would have let that happen – why didn’t she call me before the visit?! Because she didn’t want me to know about it till after it was done. AHHHHH!
    And then for Valentine’s Day, my son dumped all his Valentine’s out and looks at them all. Then he says “Mommy, none of the candy is safe.” It broke my heart, because my son is Mr. Positive. He always finds the positive and for him to look at the pile and be so discouraged and heartbroken, I knew it was bad. I was heartbroken as well.
    I came to realize that this is just the beginning… the world can be so cruel sometimes. But we do have a responsibility to educate those that do not understand. There needs to be training for all teachers, subs, directors, principals, etc in how to properly handle food allergies and how to ‘spin’ it so that the FA child is not made to feel excluded. There needs to be someone on the school staff to help train the staff and help the parents when their children start school. My son won’t start school this year, but feel so lost when it comes to him starting kindergarten.
    Thank you Kelly, for your post. For it does help us out here to realize we are not alone and we can made a difference. Thank you for posting part of your letter for it gives me guidance on how to handle these type of situations!

  16. In Kinder, 1st and again this year (2nd grade – where does the time go?) my school has been slowly coming round to “urging” no candy attached to valentine’s. Back in Kinder, it was a 1 classroom effort, and compliance was about 50%. And, 50% of the candy given was problematic. In 1st Grade, we had about 50-60% compliance. This year – something great happened! Every Kinder, 1st and 2nd Grade Classroom with food allergies had the same letter go home with the same “strongly urge” no candy wording. I am so happy to see that the school is making a bigger footprint each year to keep students safe and included. Compliance went up in my daughter’s nut-free class to about 80%. She had lots of pencils and other fun items like bookmarks to enjoy. It’s a long slow road. Chin-up, John! That candy is terrible for us anyway!!

  17. Kelly, your post could not have come at a better time. I was feeling upset yesterday as well when an employee at a deli shop offered my children hershey kisses (after my 3 year old son bumped his head….to sooth him). Meanwhile my 5 year daughter old has the exact same allergies as your son. I quickly refused the candy before they laid their eyes on them too much. Normally I would just politely say, ‘no thanks,’ but this time I actually took the time to explain further to the employee.
    I told her that she should really never offer food to a child, at least not without checking with a parent first; particularly because of allergies. Like you, I too get tired of these incidents as well.
    Please know that your blog is the only blog I even read. And your vegan baking book has saved me these past 5 1/2 years as I’m pretty sure I’ve made everything in it. I just received your new cook book and I cannot wait to try it out. (And your family is beautiful.)
    All I can say to you is thank you, especially as we prepare to start kindergarten this fall. I feel much more confident about dealing with the school and my daughter’s future with allergies.
    Know that you are making a change……we are all…..even if we educate one person at a time.
    Ali

  18. That really stinks that your son had to hear those comments from his peers. =( I think it’s great that your 1st grader can identify Valentine’s Day as being about love, because I think for most kids, it probably is candy, chocolate, pink hearts, etc. Sending warm hugs, exciting FA treats and big smiles to John and your family! (From chilly Chicago).

  19. Sorry your son and you had to have that experience Kelly – My son is also in 4th grade and has the same allergies as John. A few years ago our school did away with any in-class food related birthday celebrations – not due to allergies but due to their desire to focus on healthier eating (and 20 cupcake celebrations in 9 months is a LOT of cupcakes)! To this day I can still hear the parents in the auditorium complaining about it while I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief! We only have 4 parties throughout the year and I’m so thankful that there have been so many moms willing to use a recipe provided by me or to allow me to always be the baker mom so that my son (and the other children w/allergies in the class) can at least enjoy the yummy baked good at the party. I do agree, there really isn’t a need to “reward” kids at school or at all with food! All I can say is that I’m sure that your son will grow up to be an extra sensitive and inclusive person based upon these experiences – thanks so much for all of your posts & recipes – we love them in our house and as a mom it’s always nice to know we’re not alone in this!

    • Hi Kelly,
      . I agree with your previous postings from followers. You are a special woman. I am at a 10 with anxiety when it comes to my son. (hes dairy, egg and nut) everything revolves around food! In my daughters preschool, there’s cupcakes every stinkin week. I have volunteered during a celebration and the 2 little girls with FA were seated at the end of the table with teddy grahams with 18 other kids smothering themselves in Frosting! Aghhhh! My son breaks out in hives if my husband has had cheese and kisses his cheek. I am terrified at the prospect of school. Parents who become upset about food bans scare me. I understand the need to advocate for your child. But, at the risk of another? Anyhow, i ran an experiment. My daughter has excema. I informed the director of her school that i believe shes developed a dairy allergy. No snacks are to be given if theres dairy…….she’s been given milk and cupcakes.on more than one occasion….. Gulp! My son is 15months. I will belly ache about homeschooling vs. School for the next few years…………. Poor John and every other isolated child there is. It’s an isolating feeling and no kids should feel anything but excitement for a school celebration.

  20. I am sorry that your son felt singled out. My son is also allergic to milk and eggs. A big battle I have won is that there is no food allowed to be eaten in the classroom. The exception to that was Halloween and Valentine’s Day when I worked with the room parents to ensure the snacks were safe. To me allowing the children to attach candy to their valentines is a little battle. The children are not allowed to eat their candy until they get home anyway. He is in 3rd grade and old enough to know not to touch anything until he gets home. Just like with Halloween, I check his bag when he gets home and tell him what he is allowed to eat and not allowed to eat. I also buy him his own special candy and trade him, if necessary. If the children are allowed to eat the candy in the classroom, then that’s a different story!

  21. This breaks my heart. I agree that food as a reward and food in te classroom is entirely unnecessary. Think of all the food allergies, diabetics, PKU kids, etc. I am so discouraged that my oldest is constantly coming home with information on the ice cream, pizza, McDonald’s, holiday, parties as rewards for everything from grades to behavior to attendance. I work in the public school system and I find other ways to reward! Why can’t they? It breaks my heart but my multiple food allergic child will not likely attend school for these reasons. I strongly feel that the teachers, principals, and counselors should allow the FA and non-FA kids to have open guided conversation on the topic of food and food restrictions. All of the children have emotions regarding this topic and should be guided in non-hurtful ways of expressing them. “I’m sad that we can’t have cupcakes today but I’m so happy that I can help keep my friend safe and we get to do XYZ fun thing to celebrate” Such a simple thing to address but seemingly so difficult to get others to embrace. Prayers and encouragement to all of you FA mama’s and daddy’s!

  22. Kelly, I am so sorry to hear that your son felt so bad. My son is 8 yrs old and has a severe dairy allergy too. We tried summer pre-school just to see how his allergy would be handled and that was enough for us! There was milk everywhere along with the idiotic cupcake celebrations, cereal for counting math, whey protein for science experients and etc. Right there and then we knew he would be homeschooled. It was the best decision we ever made and we’ve never looked back. We try very hard to get him around kids but he does a lot by himself and is very social. He is also a year ahead in academics. I knew i just didn’t have the energy to take on ignorant teachers, parents and kids constantly. I am a lot more at peace lnowing he is safe. Please remind your son that he is not alone and that there are a lot of people who care about all our special FA kids. They are stronger than they know!

  23. Hang in there. Things are changing. Our school district has a new Health and Wellness Policy that does not allow any candy or treats in the classrooms for holidays or any time. I teach and it was so nice to see parents send stickers, kazoos, rubber ducks, seeds and other fun items instead of candy. It is less stressful for everyone when holidays aren’t revolving mostly around food. I feel it levels the playing field for our allergic kids, too.

  24. Oh, my! I can relate to ALL of the comments and scenarios here! :o( My four year old son is allergic to peanuts, eggs and dairy. He is in a pre-K program twice a week and it seems like every time I turn around there is yet another reason to have food IN the classroom! My son’s teacher has done a great job at checking with me, texting me photos of food labels when she is shopping for treats for the class, etc. The director of the program has also done a great job at sending out “NO PEANUTS or products that might contain peanuts” letters to all of the parents, which is great. And, another parent with a peanut allergic child in my son’s class texted me to confirm my son’s allergies before she prepared treats for the Valentine’s Day party. I feel so blessed when anyone tries to help in any way or ask questions about my son’s conditions — at least that means they are TRYING and that is all I ask! I am so blessed that all of my close friends and family really understand the stress and they understand that an anaphylactic reaction can mean an ER visit, misery and even death for some kids. Having said that, for all of the kind, supportive, compassionate parents and students there seems to be triple the number of uncaring, rude parents who always have something snarky to say or a way to sneak a mini Snicker’s bar into my child’s Valentine bag. Ummm…HELLO? Snickers are NOT peanut free! Grrrrr! They didn’t EVEN try. :o(

    Kelly, thank you for all you do to for the other food allergy mamas of the world! :o) Your recipes (I don’t even have to THINK because you have done it for me with all of your AWESOME recipes LOL), encouragement (nice to know my family and I are not alone with this FA stuff) and honesty (you tell it like it is, whether it is “pretty” or not) mean the world to me!

    Keep on keeping on! Lots of love from Texas!

  25. I am a public school teacher and I am shocked at the difficulty that food allergy parents have in securing proper accommodations for their children. All public schools make accommodations for students that cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of 100 thousand dollars per year per student with different types of disabilities. Much of this money is spent for the purpose of including all students in every activity in school if there is any way possible to include a student with different abilities. This is not only because it is what is right but it is the law.

    So why do parents have such a hard time when all they are asking for is a modified menu for classroom parties or parties that do not involve food? Other parents would not question the much more costly modifications made to include children in that same class with different disabilities.

  26. I wish there was no food in the classroom, period. The FA acceptable options are laden with preservatives and GMOs that I do not want my non-FA child eating. I have learned that allergy friendly is not healthier.

  27. I attended a conference not long ago and the most significant thing I came away with was the “by-law” to “accept the things you cannot change.” We can change to food-free classrooms. That day will come if we continue the cause, not only because it helps our allergic children but because it is simply sensible. But you cannot change that your child will be hurt or excluded at some point in their lives. You can teach them how to accept it, you can remove her from the situation, you can teach him how to respond but it will happen. It is part of the human experience. It happened to you, it happened to me and we are all pretty well-balanced adults in spite of or, in some cases, because of it. It seems to hurt a lot more for my child than I remember it hurting for me but maybe that’s the “time heals” kicking in.

  28. So sorry another child has to be blamed, held in ill-favor by peers, and their parents. My son is in 7th grade now, and has been through many incidents like this through the years. Even at times when the school decided on its own to eliminate treats at parties for a time for wellness, nothing to do with the FA students, we were still the scapegoats. The funny thing is, is that whenever there was safe food planned and prepared by FA parents exclusively, you never heard a single complaint from students, actually the opposite–rave reviews! And even when the kids were young and new to school, if there were no food treats, they still had fun, as they had no prior expectations. But it is some of the parents who usually cannot handle the situation positively. It is probably a combination of disappointment they didn’t get to show-off their latest recipe and a strange sense of what they perceive as their children’s God-given rights being violated in some way, more a sense of entitlement than anything else. Honestly, after years of working with some of these groups of parents for many years, in many settings, school-related and not, I can say without hesitation that some of the parents live vicariously through their children and their activities to the point that if they are not a huge, crucial part of events, or those events are not quite elaborate, they are really upset, which often comes out in angry and vindictive comments. Kids hear this from their parents sometimes, or occasionally a teacher, and parrot what their parents say. It is tough, but a fact of life, that some people do not care if allergies can kill, they would rather leave our kids out than include them. The one hope I can give is that in secondary school, though in some ways there is less control over allergens, more widespread eating across unmonitored settings in school, there are generally less celebrations as well…Not every birthday and occasion seems to be celebrated with a party or treat.
    One of the reasons the kids at our school parties did love the allergen-free foods served at parties is because of recipes of yours, and many others who post them online to share with others, and for these I am very thankful!

  29. I completely agree that food should not be allowed in classrooms. Not only is it threatening to FA kids, but its become a health concern for all other children as well. Schools are for learning, not promoting poor dietary practices that result in child exclusions.

  30. I’m very sorry to hear this story. I need to say, you children are very lucky to have such a bright intelligent mother who can articulate the situation in a non-emotional, yet passionate way. I’m sure the folks receiving your email were just as heart broken.

    Interestingly, my 14 year old son and I had a discussion about some comments from his friends recently and he realized that they are afraid of his allergies and this is how they are coping. Needless to say, he spent the day giving them the details of life with food allergies.

    Thank you for sharing!

  31. Unfortunately everyone is excluded from some event. It is inevitable and it does not do a child a favor by making by overreacting. Are you going to email the parents who do not invite your child to a party or a coach who does not choose Johnny for the varsity team.

  32. Oh, Kelly! I feel for you. My 5-year-old has severe food allergies, and we are just now entering the whole “dealing with school” issue. I feel your mama’s heart. It’s devastating to look into your son’s hurt and disappointed eyes when he is excluded at a celebration. And I agree…food allergies aside, is it really that awful to cut back on the sugar and junk we give our kids throughout the day? I’ve been SHOCKED at the amount of junk my child receives at school. We are so careful at home to monitor treats, but I can’t monitor everything at school (or friends’ houses, etc.) Thank you for your post…keep up the amazing work !

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