Friday, January 28, 2011

Partying with Allergies

Well, birthday party season started tonight and will come in full swing in June. Living around a school, everything--including the births of planned children--revolves around the school calendar! June is awful on the wallet when it comes to birthdays. Tonight we attended the first birthday party of the year. Last year I got away with taking an Oreo or something and my daughter not caring because she was too busy playing. Now, she's getting a better understanding of birthdays, presents, and yes, cake. How do you tell a child, "We're going to a birthday party, but you can't eat anything because you're allergic,"? Well, I do, all the time!
To try to make parties more relaxed and comfortable for my daughter, I prepare party-type foods that she can enjoy with her friends without appearing too different. Preschool parties are pretty simple, but add into the equation the older siblings of her preschool aged friends, and my daughter becomes more aware of the fact that her food is different. She knows foods will make her sick, and she'll tell people that, but it's highly frustrating when an older child makes negative and mocking-sounding comments about the fact that my daughter isn't eating the same thing everyone else is eating. It makes me want to find the parent and tell them to correct their child! That kind of negative peer pressure could be the cause of my child trying a food that would make her sick!
Okay, off that horse! Today we went to Toys R Us and picked out every imaginable boy toy under $10 and put it in the cart. When we were done, we lined them all up on the floor, and my daughter picked out one toy for her friend. To her credit, she picked out the cheapest toy of them all (she doesn't get that from me!). Then we put all of the toys back, and I let her pay for the gift.
We came home, and while the girls ate lunch, I made cupcakes for my daughter to take to the party. Well, the weather today was GORGEOUS! (72!) so we played out in the dirt--attempting to dig my garden plot--while the cupcakes baked and then cooled. During nap time I frosted and decorated the cupcake so that looked all nice and party-ish. She was so excited about the party tonight.
We got to the party, and she told several people that she had cupcakes because the other food would make her sick. One of her food-allergy buddies was there tonight. It has helped her understand her allergies to realize that she has friends who can't eat certain foods either. Tonight's party was easy, I only had to supplement cupcakes. Most parties require a full meal! Pizza, chips, crackers, cheese, ranch dressing dip, ice cream, cake, cookies--so many party foods and she can't have any of them! But she's just as satisfied with her pb&j and home made cupcake or similar treat.
I'm looking forward to her birthday, and not needing to worry about a single food item on the menu. I'm also eager to see what people think of the food selection available when you have to eat such a restricted diet!

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