On my 30th birthday I got to go see Louis C.K. perform live with about 20 of my best friends from college. It was pretty sweet. At the end of his act, he did his now infamous “Of course… But maybe” bit about kids with nut allergies. We all laughed. I laughed. I felt ashamed, but I still laughed. Fast forward two years and that no good bitch karma caught up with me — my daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy.
After that, I did a 180. I went from feeling like a complete ban on peanuts at schools was overkill, to being so thankful it exists. While my daughter is well aware of her allergy, and will avoid anything she knows contains peanuts or peanut butter, she could easily mistake a peanut butter cookie for a sugar cookie and end up in a very scary situation. I know it sucks for everyone else. I get it. But it helps me feel much more at ease when I drop her off every morning. So I’m grateful to those who follow the rule, even if they do it begrudgingly.
I really hate being one of those moms – the allergy mom.
I really hate being one of those moms — the allergy mom. I have to bring it up at birthday parties, play dates, and restaurants. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that one of the most painful things for me to do is ask for special treatment. I don’t like asking for help, special favors, or to be made an exception. I hate to haggle. Just tell me the price, and I’ll pay it, because that’s fair to everyone. I know, I’m a wimp. So when I have to jump in as someone is handing my daughter a treat, “That doesn’t have peanuts, does it?!” I do a full body cringe and recoil shamefully. “Sorry,” I think to myself. “I’m not trying to be a pain.” But I do it because I have to. It’s a better alternative to spending 20 minutes begging her to take some Benadryl as a rash spreads across her cheeks, or even worse, having to stab her with her EpiPen.
I feel this way partly because allergy moms get such a bad wrap. Most of us are normal people, but then there are people like this asshat:
You’ve probably seen this flyer already as it’s making its way across social media today. I can’t think of a worse way to get people on your side than to chastise them for giving out candy most people like and can eat. We took Biscuit trick-or-treating last year, and yeah, she got a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers bars. But she also got plenty of Skittles, Starbursts, Hershey’s, and even a few small toys. When we got home, I said, “Ok, I need to go through your bag and remove all the
best candy for my mommy stash stuff with peanuts in it.” You know what she said? “Yuck! I don’t like peanuts.” Devastated, she was not. She knows what peanuts do to her, so she’s totally cool with giving that stuff up. Whoever posted this flyer sounds like a narcissistic drama queen douche bag (pardon my French).
This year, I heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and thought, “Hey, that’s cool!” We’re participating this year, and here’s how I did it: Step 1, I went to Target (enter at your own risk) and I bought a bunch of candy. I also bought a couple bags from the peanut and gluten-free section (yes, Target sells assorted allergen-free bags of non-gross candy in a very prominent and well-labeled section). Finally, I grabbed a bag of assorted mini Play-Dohs for kids that just can’t have candy at all. I also bought a pumpkin and a bottle of teal acrylic paint. Step 2, I painted the pumpkin teal (which was fun!) and placed it on my doorstep so the allergy parents know they can get some allergen-free stuff at my house. Pretty simple.
If you can grab some allergen-free candy or toys, that would be totally boss.
So here’s what I’ll ask: If you can grab some allergen-free candy or toys, that would be totally boss. it’s an easy way to show kindness to someone who has been deprived of the glory that is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Paint a pumpkin teal so we know where to find you. Or don’t. Maybe you just don’t have the time because, shit, you got a life of your own. That’s cool; we’ll knock on your door anyway.