Food Allergies in the Social World

I know, the title is a bit strange.  I just need to write about something that has been on my mind. 

I have written previously that my son with the life threatening food allergies started kindergarten this year.  I have been amazed at how wonderful his teacher has been about following our guidelines in regards to keeping him safe.  She has called me several times with questions when she wasn’t sure about something.  I think this is great.  It makes me feel like she is really on top of things.

It is not really anything to do with the school that bothers me.  It is that meeting new people with children at the school who are new to the world of food allergies. 

I didn’t realize until recently that I have been living in a “safe” world of friendship for quite awhile now.  A few years ago when we moved into our new house, I went through the exhausting task of teaching our new friends in the neighborhood about little R’s food allergies and explaining to them how his life can be truly threatened in a matter of minutes.  They have all come to truly understand the situation and are very supportive.

Just recently, through school, we have started making new friends.  They are wonderful people.  I really enjoy the company of these moms, and my son likes playing with their children.  I have found, though, that I have had a hard time making it clear that little R’s food allergies are pretty severe.  There are many other children at the school who have peanut allergies and they do fine there.  I think that it is too easy to get lumped in a group in which it seems easy to assume that we are all the same.  As a food allergy mom I know that each child’s situation is different, though.  What may work for these other children may not work for us.  It is hard to explain that to someone on the outside.

I have made the final decision to homeschool starting next year.  Though the food allergies play a part in my decision, there are many other reasons as well.  The point is that I have made the decision known, and I think some of these other moms may fell I am being overprotective.  I am sure that looking in from the outside, it may appear to look that way.  But, when it comes to my dear chlidren, I feel that my ultimate job as a parent… before anything else… is to keep them safe.

I know that parents in the food allergy world will understand where I am coming from.  I guess that is why I needed to write this post.  I sometimes feel very alone in this world of food allergies, and right now I could use some words of encouragement.

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8 Comments

Filed under food allergies and friends, food allergies and school, food allergy support, Our personal journey

8 responses to “Food Allergies in the Social World

  1. Noone but another parent of an allergic child can understand what we go through. You take it day by day and do your best to make sure your child is safe.

    You’re not overreacting – you’re doing your job as a mother! You’re definitely not alone.

    My family and friends think I overreact all the time, and I really don’t think I do at all. But as long as my daughter remains reaction free I don’t care what they say 🙂

  2. Amy

    Thank you Gabrielle, for your words of encouragement. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes I need to hear someone else reinforce what I am feeling 🙂

  3. Amy,

    I think it’s wonderful that you plan to homeschool the children. Truthfully, you have helped me in our decision to homeschool as well! So you are an inspiration to me!! 🙂 Keeping our children safe from harm is the only way to go…anyone who thinks otherwise is being selfish to some degree. I know that if I could prevent a life-threatening situation (with my children) I would do it in a heartbeat. Even though the school has been super, the unknown is not enough risk when it comes to your children. Take care and we will pray for your family, always.

  4. Amy

    Jessica, you are so sweet! I had no idea that I was part of the reason you chose to homeschool. In a funny way, that is encouragement to me…lol! I am starting to get very excited about next year. In fact, I want to start right now. I love working with my children. As much as I have come to love little R’s kindergarten teacher, I have truly missed having him with me during the day. I think he feels this way, too. I sometimes think that maybe the food allergies were something God handed us as a blessing in disguise, because I think it is the icing on the cake, so to speak, in regards to our decision to homeschool. I look forward to hearing all about your homeschool experience. It is a true blessing that we have the freedom to make that choice.

  5. oh, it is hard to explain to people on the outside. Oddly, I’ve seen people just not get it *and* overreact. A friend explained it to me: “sometimes, a little paranoia is helpful.” Since he was talking about cooking for my crew, I was inclined to agree.

    But the people who brush FAs off? grrrr.

    Homeschooling is a wonderful idea! You’ll give little R a chance to grow up in an environment that’s normed to his needs, and to relax inside his own skin. What a gift to give – to you both.

  6. allergysense1

    I actually had an incident a while ago. I too have food allergies and it can be difficult as an adult when an allergen is present to step up and say you are allergic. I told the group I was with about my own allergy and I think a few people were surprised that adults have allergies too.
    The important thing to remember is exactly what you said. Each child is unique with unique needs. Congratulations on making the decision to home school. Clearly, it is the best one for your family.

  7. charitie

    I’m considering homeschooling too. I’m suprised that more parent are not doing this.

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