Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I'm Back! Summer Vacation Allergy Adventures Edition

Wow. Would you look at that? It appears that the blog took a summer vacation.
(That's my story and I'm sticking to it).

So, what did you do on your summer vacation? We took two trips - a Caribbean cruise and a short weekend in St. Louis.

Managing Olivia's allergies on the cruise was pretty easy - we had an amazing head waiter in the Main Dining Room (on Oasis of the Seas) and he went ABOVE AND BEYOND to make sure Olivia was safe every night at dinner. Heck, he even cut her steak each night (LOL).

The one negative on our cruise was when we visited the ship's ice cream shop and the crew member told us that they "don't serve people with allergies." Um, 'scuse me? You 'don't serve' people with allergies? How about if you EDUCATE YOURSELF about food allergies and actually offer something that would be safe - or even TRY to make an effort to help passengers find an answer when it comes to allergens in the ice cream.

And then, St. Louis. We had some good and some bad. Let's do good first.

Since we were visiting St. Louis I decided we HAD to eat at Imo's Pizza - the home of the 'St. Louis-style pizza.' I emailed the company and told them we needed to avoid peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame seeds and within a couple of days I had an email in return! They assured me that the crust was safe but to avoid the sandwiches as the bread contained sesame seeds.

My review: pizza was great! We'd definitely go back - they made sure to note Olivia's allergies when we ordered.

Then the not-so-good - Angelo's Taverna in St. Louis. We decided to stop here for lunch since it was connected to our hotel. As we were being seated I noticed that the rolls were covered in sesame seeds so I knew those were off limits!

I told the waiter about the allergies - peanuts, tree nuts, and SESAME - and he assured me that he told the kitchen. We ordered calamari - but not before asking the waiter to again ask the kitchen if the breading was safe and free from allergens. He left the table and came back with an assurance that it was safe.

Olivia ate a piece of calamari and then she saw them - sesame seeds IN THE BREADING. Yes, seriously. She immediately stopped eating. When the GM stopped by our table I told him about the calamari and he said "there's no sesame in the breading." Then he checked with the kitchen and GUESS WHAT? They use their day-old bread that is COVERED IN SESAME SEEDS to make ALL the breading in the restaurant.

I told him he's lucky I didn't need to Epi-Pen my kid in the middle of the restaurant.

Seriously - train your wait staff to understand the severity and seriousness of food allergies.
Total fail for Angelo's.

On a brighter note: we also stopped at Culver's on our way to Missouri and they were WONDERFUL when it came to Liv's allergies. They actually type in the allergies as you order and Olivia was able to enjoy chicken tenders and fries. She didn't feel comfortable with the frozen custard - which was OK with me. I was just happy to find another spot that takes allergies seriously.

I hope you had a safe and allergy-free summer too!

Monday, May 2, 2016

No Nuts = NO Nuts

Over the weekend Olivia was part of a ballet production here in town.

A few days before dress rehearsal a set of production notes were sent out and in those notes was a sentence (in bright red text and all caps) that basically said do not bring any kind of nuts backstage for snacks.

This directive was due to the fact that there are a couple dancers (Olivia included) who are allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts.

So...the first night of rehearsal I saw at least one dancer eating a peanut butter snack. 

Night two of rehearsal one of Liv's friends came running upstairs to tell me there was an open bag of almonds backstage in the dressing room. So...we told the production manager about it and she quickly went downstairs to repeat the NO NUT directive.

My one thought was: SERIOUSLY? And then I thought "Can people just not read"? ... or do they just not care? And I decided it was mostly the latter.

Parents of kids without food allergies see the "don't send nuts" directive and either choose to ignore it or think it only means PEANUTS. Or (again) maybe they're just clueless and don't care.

Over the course of the weekend I had to tell another dancer she couldn't eat a doughnut that was coated in peanuts (!!!!!) and she then threw out TWO MORE doughnuts that were swimming in nuts (WTH?) and then ANOTHER dancer said "Can I eat pistachios? They aren't peanuts."

Um....NO. You can't eat pistachios.
Or peanuts.
Or hazelnuts.
Or Nutella.
Or almonds.
Or walnuts.
Or anything that is a peanut and/or tree nut. 

Honestly people - if your child is involved in dance or theater or sports or anything where food might be involved and you get a note sent home that asks you to NOT send in any snacks that contain/might contain peanuts and/or tree nuts please FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY listen to that request and honor it.

No one is trying to deny your child's God-given right (insert eye roll here) to eat a PB&J or a bag of almonds. We're just simply requesting that it isn't done in close proximity to our kid who could get sick (or even die) from a reaction to said PB&J or bag of almonds.

You think we're kidding?
Watch this video and then reconsider sending those peanut and tree nut snacks.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say...

It's been a while since I've been here on the blog so I'm not thrilled that today is a vent rather than something useful.

But when someone says something to me and it sticks in my brain all day buzzing around, I suppose that means I have to write it down. Damn bees in my bonnet.

So today at school it was the dreaded "muffins for moms/doughnuts for dads" annual nonsense. I truly detest this event but that's a whole different post.

At the end of the event we were trying to figure out what to do with the dozens of left-over doughnuts and someone suggested saving them for the 5th graders to enjoy after their field trip.

Now, it should be noted that I had already combined the "nut free" doughnuts with the "regular" doughnuts because I assumed the whole tray was going to the teacher's lounge.

Me: Do we have any peanut or tree nut allergies in the 5th grade? Because if we do I already mixed up the doughnuts so that wouldn't work.

The responses ranged from:

"No I don't think so."

"We only have one that MUST sit at the peanut-free table and he's not in fifth grade."

"We have a few kids but they have to ingest the food to get sick." (Really? You know that for a fact, do ya?)

And then this gem from someone on staff at the school: "We don't have any issues ever since your daughter left." And then she LAUGHED.

What. The. F*ck. (Language, I know. But seriously.)

I just looked at this person - a hard stare, actually - and then walked away.

How dare you be so stupid to deem my daughter's allergies a "problem".
How dare you be so arrogant to find that funny.

There is nothing funny about food allergies. Ever.

I probably could have said something but in this case you just can't fix stupid.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Food Allergies with a Tween

Olivia turned 12 a few weeks ago and overnight she became a tween.

Mood swings. Attitude. Drama.
It's apparently a complete package as soon as they blow out their 12 candles on the nut-free cake.


Tonight is Olivia's first junior high dance. OK, it's being advertised as a "get together" for the 6th grade (and ONLY the 6th grade) but there will be a DJ so it's a dance.

Liv is going with two of her friends because THANKFULLY (as far as I am aware) boys are still gross at this point in time. OK, I'm hoping they're still gross. ;)

Last night she asked if she could "just" take her wristlet with her iPhone and some money to pay for admission to the "dance."

Honey, you need to take your EpiPens. 

But they aren't serving food. 

You need to take your EpiPens. 

Silence. And tears. Many, many tears.

And so it begins - the push back about the EpiPens.

Look I get it. There isn't going to be any food at the event but what if there IS? What if they have a concession stand open? You need to carry your EpiPens at all times when you go somewhere. I know it's not "cool" when you're 12 and want to be like all the other kids but you aren't like all the other kids. 

You're different. You have food allergies. And you need to carry your EpiPens. 

After the tears last night I tabled the discussion until this afternoon. I don't want to start down the path of not taking the EpiPens when she goes somewhere. It's not a good path to take.

Here's hoping reason will win out over "being cool."

Update: Olivia took her purse AND her EpiPens and all was well with the world. ;)