Allergies in Middle School

By Heather Legg

Today at my daughter’s middle school, there was reward lunch for the honor roll students with a big, yummy looking dessert buffet. Parents had sent in desserts, either homemade or store bought and the students got to choose a few to have as dessert while they enjoyed a less structured lunch with their fellow honor students.

I know of a few kids there with food allergies, along with my daughter. She knows her allergy quite well, and knows what she can and can’t have. I was also there as I work on the committee that puts the dessert buffet on. I did see another student who I know has a peanut allergy, and I watched her and tried to help her out a bit.

She finally settled on some candy that was allergy free. She was comfortable with that and knew it was safe. She did look at the baked goods, and while other parents tried to offer her some things that they thought were safe, she declined, and went with the Valentine candy. I’m sure the sweets were tempting, but she knew to be safe and even though some things probably would have been safe, she stayed on the cautious and safe side – good for her.

It is always interesting to talk to moms who do not have kids with food allergies. Many of them often have kids with friends who have food allergies, so they are familiar, but they don’t know it like we do. I saw some of the moms offering her things like sugar cookies and chocolate covered pretzels (neither had nuts), even a chex mix type thing. But I know her mom and her allergy is pretty severe, so I was sure she could not have those things, especially the chex mix. Like I said, she declined, and I was proud of her. I think I would have stepped in, too, by the way, even though this is middle school. It was just a little sad to see the longing look in her eyes.

This food allergy thing is tough. There is such an emotional side to it that most people don’t see. It’s hard to stand out and not be able to partake in something like that, while other kids biggest struggle is which cupcake or brownie to choose. But I was proud of you, kid, stay strong!

I did her mom pop in to give her some allergy free cookies a bit later.

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