Your Child Still Has a Birthday Even if My Kid Has Allergies!

I was totally flabbergasted over a recent headline on the Huffington Post: “Why do your kids allergies mean my kid can’t have a birthday?”   Seriously…… do people really believe this crap? 

I was a little late joining the party on this article, it coming to my attention when a family member promoted it via social media.  WOW!   All I could think of was how ignorant and uncaring the author was in her article.

I didn’t realize that K’s allergies (and so many children like him who suffer from life threatening food allergies) were actually a bullet, stopping birthday’s dead in their tracks!

Now, if I was being honest with myself I would say that she is a journalist… is her job to write titillating articles to grab people’s attention, outrage them and get them talking.  It worked!  When I initially read the article last week, it had over 300 comments from people like you and me.  It is getting the masses talking ~ and not all of it is good!

I have one question for her……

What right do you have, Carina Hoskisson, to celebrate your child’s birthday at school?

It is not the school districts responsibility to give your child a birthday.  No,  that is your responsibility!  Celebrate it however you want in the privacy of your own home…..or the public establishment of your choice.  In fact, you can even invite whomever you would like. 

Kids with allergies….. don’t invite them!

Kids with food intolerance….. don’t invite them!

This is YOUR personal choice!  School districts cannot tell you what to do outside school grounds!  I don’t envy you explaining to your kid how you don’t want to be bothered to invite his or her best friend because they have allergies/food intolerance’s that you can’t be bothered with.  Good luck with that!! 

Schools have one common goal—-to make the school a safe place for students to learn!!  If you look at the mission statement of any school district in our country, I can just about guarantee you that statement is predominantly in it.  No where will you find that school districts are a place to hold birthday parties!

Shouldn’t parents share in this goal?  Don’t all parents want every single student safe when they are in the school setting?  Even if this means bringing food items that don’t contain peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, gluten (and whatever other allergies and intolerance’s are out there)?  Better yet, don’t bring in any food at all to celebrate your child’s birthday.

Remember these words…..It is not your school districts responsibility to give your child a birthday!!

I am not a teacher, but I would think most teachers find it disruptive if they have to stop what they are doing just to dole out cupcakes.  Do this 25 times a year and that is a lot of wasted minutes eating and cleaning up cupcakes (and yes, they are messy so there will be a lot of minutes cleaning up) when they could have been learning. 

Have you seen the statistics on where America ranks worldwide in education?   According to the Secretary of Education we rank 36th!   Behind the likes of China, Singapore, South Korea, Finland and the United Kingdom! Let me repeat that…..we rank 36th!!!  

Hmmmmm, could we rank so low because our students are celebrating way too many birthdays in school instead of learning?  Even I know that statement was over the top and not true…..but I am certainly feeling over the top at the moment!!  =)

By the way, what are we teaching our kids when we spout off the craziness of, “The fear of one shouldn’t outweigh the rest”? We shouldn’t fear the death of one child because you want to bring in your homemade or store-bought goodies?  Really? 

Our kids learn what to do and how to act from us ~ there ears pick up everything we say these days, no matter how much we think they aren’t listening to us!  What example are you setting for them?  Where is the compassion and empathy?   I know you wrote this article to ‘stir the pot’ and deep down don’t believe it (at least I hope you don’t), but based on some of the comments I read there are those (many) that truly do feel entitled to bring cupcakes (or any sweats for that matter) to school.

All a child wants on his birthday is to be recognized and to feel special.  They don’t need sweets brought to school to feel this love!  Why not send in stickers, pencils or even those cool stretchy toys that stick to the walls when you throw them?  Why not donate a board game to the class?  They can use it every time they are stuck inside for recess on rainy days! 

Unless it is not about your child at all and you just want to ‘one-up’ your child’s classmates or friends.  Is this the truth?  Do you want to show the class how awesome and caring you are by bringing in the best looking cupcakes???

For those of you that have held a child turning blue and gasping for air… get what I am trying to say!  If Ms. Hoskisson had ever held her child, not knowing if that child would make it through the night, she would not be making such heartless statements!  What happened to the statement that it Takes a Village to raise a kid?

At least her child gets to celebrate a birthday ~ too many do not!

Celebrating birthdays at school

** Just for the record, K suffers from a few life threatening allergies, but I never once made his class support system (aka: other parents) feel guilty or ashamed if they wanted to bring in treats that he couldn’t eat.  I provided all of his teachers (K-5) with a couple of boxes of approved snacks for the ‘just in case’.  Very rarely were they necessary.  =) Thank you to all of the parents and community members who looked after my son, and for not making him feel that he was infringing on their personal rights……

4 thoughts on “Your Child Still Has a Birthday Even if My Kid Has Allergies!

  1. just for the record, i highly doubt that classroom parties are the reason we’re 36th. i would place that more on a culture that ridicules *nerds* and the *smart kids* while celebrating the athletes. our entire culture shuns and taunts the academians and hales the sports enthusiast as the be all-end all. proof? how many referendums go through for increasing fields, football clinics, etc? now how many go through to improve the chemistry lab equipment?

    our entire country does this. and this is probably the number one reason our schools are behind. there is no support or encouragement for kids to be *smart* or *geeks* or *nerds*. the entire system has been gamed to dumb down and teach to the lowest common denominator rather than encouraging and offering advanced classes to those that can handle them successfully. i’m having to homeschool my child to ensure that he has the same access that i enjoyed to AP classes more than biology and english language and comp, much less chemistry, spanish, calculus, history–us and world, english LIT and comp, physics, micro and macro econ, government… Most people don’t even know these classes are available. thankfully, i went to one of the top 5 high schools in the US and was able to have access to most of these… my entire junior and senior years were 100% ap classes. how many does your local high school have? these are the things that are dragging us down… not birthday parties.

    this lack of access–they could offer these classes online even.. just offer them– this is a huge problem in our schools also. new math? have you seen this? i can’t even figure out what they’re talking about, and i have dual degrees in chemistry(which is highly math) and biology. what in the world was so wrong with just teaching kids to add and subtract? they’re going to need those skills in the real world… after graduation.

    instead, we use spiral teaching instead of mastery, the thinking being that the students will *circle back around* and maybe pick it up next time. but heaven forbid, in our highly mobile society, you move and your new class mastered it last time, or has already passed by that place in the spiral again, so you never even have the chance to master it.
    true story: i’ve never ever had a geography class. we moved every year military style and i either had just missed it the year before… or it was the next year and we didn’t live there anymore. (and while i find common core to be onerous at best, i do understand that it’s to prevent things like this from occurring. there was more emphasis on the state’s history… for 4 years, in every school i went to, i was *just in time* to have their particular state history class. I’ve had texas, florida, georgia, alabama history. and no geography.)
    there’s so much wrong with our schools today… birthday parties don’t even make the list… they just don’t. but our attitudes toward the *geeks* *nerds* *teacher’s pets* *curve blowers*…. we have words used so commonly that we don’t even recognize that these words are intended to ridicule, taunt, make fun of, and yes… bully. it’s the same as calling someone a retard…or any other slur… because the intention is the same. to cause emotional distress to the person on the receiving end.
    these kids, instead of getting one on one attention to grow and push farther academically, get bullied on the playground, have the stronger, tougher athletes corner them in the locker room demanding that the smart kid writes their paper, they get laughed at as they run the mile in gym because they don’t run as fast as the other kids. because they’ve been focusing on what’s important.
    each of those things happened to me. ( and because i was well endowed, the very football player that cornered me outside the locker room, demanding that i let him copy from my english test that afternoon, also ran backwards in front of my slow self so he could watch my 9th grade boobs bounce… and called more of the boys over to show them…)
    and everything… media, tv shows, newspapers, literature… all of it. it holds the *geeks* as losers and the jocks as the goal…

    i can see your side with allergies. i’m one with those life threatening allergies. i have to carry an epipen with me everywhere i go. a balloon in the party store and i can’t breathe. no party city for me. and i have to avoid the grocery stores with floral departments because they usually carry balloons also. yay for latex. and it’s in more that balloons. most bandages have it. the only bandage brand guarenteed to not have latex is nexcare. all the others do. and an adhesive allergy. you’d be shocked at the blistering where the bandaid does touch… even without latex. unfortunately, i have to wear a patch for round the clock pain medications and the only way to keep it stuck to me for the 2 days is to cover it with the same thin sheet of tegaderm the hospital uses for IVs. and even that leaves blistering. my husband joked the other day that after 3 years now of using the fentanyl patch that he could play chess on my body between the scarring and the current healing blisters as we move from one spot to another to stick it to me somewhere. i can’t even use regular soap and toothpaste because it makes my skin blister within minutes and my mouth blisters and sheds because of how severe my sulfate and sulfite allergy is. and forget those stores that spray perfumes. there’s a store in our mall i actually pray goes out of business. every time i walk by, i get a sudden migraine, complete with stabbing eye pain migraine, nausea, and have even had to lean over the trash can in the center of the mall and vomit, all while hives popped up all over my body and i hyperventilated, in a dead panic while my husband dug the epipen out of my bag.
    but i don’t get to demand the mall close the store. i don’t get to demand that store to stop having samples of their products out simply because something (probably sulfate or sulfite) is aerosoled and released into the aid. those things aren’t even recognized as being as potentially severe as someone’s peanut allergy. everything in my world has to be researched. we can’t even trust the list of ingredients. i don’t go to the mall. it isn’t safe for me.
    i went to the hospital for some testing and the ingredients didn’t include the ingredients for the dye they used on me… only the name of the dye… i was coated with this powdered dye for a procedure, head to toe, and then put in a heat chamber, with 110 degree temps and 67% humidity to measure my sweat output for a neuro condition i have. we researched what we had. we asked the pharmacy before we let them put it on me. an hour later, my skin was already blistered. and it was worsened because of the heat and humidity in the chamber. they had it clearly in my records that i had the allergies and no one caught it until we were in the ER, having shots of epinephrine pumped in me and considering a breathing tube to keep my throat open. turns out red dye #whatever (we now consider all dyes unsafe because there are no msds sheets for them) has sulfate listed as it’s #1 ingredient.
    so i do get it. i really and truly do. it’s terrifying. as terrifying as it is for you as a parent, it’s even more terrifying for your child… who suddenly can’t breathe. you can see the panic on her face. and the fear in the eyes of the person who accidentally exposed her. and your own fear.
    i get it.
    and yes. i know that not going to school to avoid potential allergen exposure isn’t an option. i’m not stupid or unfeeling.
    but also see the other side.
    there weren’t this many allergies years ago. there has to be a reason. but to expect the entire world to stop and cater to my allergies? i don’t have the right, either, to expect that.
    schools could, instead, require that birthday treats not be cupcakes but instead a healthy treat of fresh fruits and veggies for dipping. lots of schools also just to one big 20 minute party during the month to encompass all the birthdays that month. birthdays are important and many kids parents’ don’t have the funds to have a big party and invite the kids, including your child who is also very likely to be important to that other kid, over to celebrate. but they can provide something small in the classroom. that just might be the only acknowledgement they get on their birthday. and in a economy that still has such a high percentage of unemployed/underemployed/just plain impoverished, should they not get to experience having the kids they spend 8 hours a day with celebrating that they even exist?
    there’s got to be some kind of compromise. and there doesn’t seem to be any offered compromise when parents of non-allergic kids are railed at by parents demanding that the entire school ban peanut butter in someone else’s sandwich.
    offer up a compromise instead of angrily screaming at us, and non-allergic children’s parents might be a little more willing to take your child’s allergies into account. (and no… having every child be forced to eat the crap that is school lunch to avoid brown bag lunches from home… that’s not an option. sorry. that stuff is trash and full of chemicals that while you might not be allergic to are some of the worst chemicals people can put in their bodies. and i’ve lived–and moved from–school districts who considered not allowing packed lunches at all to be the only solution for this)

    but can’t there be some kind of solution finding? rather than all the angry rants from all sides? it’s not helping. it’s just causing angry articles like the one you read. and angry response posts like yours…

    what we need isn’t more finger pointing, name calling, and demands… we need compromise. a solution. from one side or the other.

    and honestly, as it’s the allergic side asking for respec of their dietary needs, it would be nice if they offered an alternative. rather than just *no, no, no, bad*, how about a little more *we can’t risk this, but would you consider this or this?*. Giving people options lets them feel like they still have control over their own life and choices.

    and in the end… isn’t that what you want? control over the safety of your child?

    all the other side wants is control over their own lives and choices, also.

    a little less, how dare you, you insensitive clod, and a little more *my child is allergic to peanut butter, and i know your child will only eat peanut butter. would you be willing to consider another nut butter, such as almond or sunflower butter as an alternative?* or *i know your 5 year old will only eat peanut butter on tuesdays and fridays. could we maybe ensure that on those two days, our kids are seated at different tables in the lunch room to avoid exposure for my child?*

    • I totally understand your point of view, and agree 100% on the downward turn in our education system. There does need to be a stronger emphasis on academics versus athletics. I was joking when I said that there was a correlation with celebrating birthdays in school and us ranking 36th in the world. I should have made that very clear, and I did not. My apologies. Although I agree that there needs to be more emphasis on academics and the core education, I do believe that after school activities play a vital role in a child being well rounded. These not only include athletics, but drama, band, chess/speech/lego/Model UN clubs. There are so many clubs that schools sponsor that generally there is something for everyone. We are lucky that our school district does a fantastic job of promoting all avenues….

      You are right that people need to work together instead of bashing each other and taking firm sides either way. Although it obviously didn’t come across this way, my point was that it is not the school district’s responsibility to celebrate birthdays. If they do decide to let parents send in items, it can be something non-food related OR something healthy. My co-worker is sending in caterpillar’s made out of grapes for her daughter’s birthday. I have NEVER asked for accomodations for my son’s medical issues. I have always worked around the current policies and made do with what I had for his well being in the classroom setting and in society! I have never used his health as a crutch or to garner something that he/we did not earn or deserve.

      I am in awe of all of your experiences navigating through your health issues. I remember spending hours in the grocery store, and online, trying to figure out what was allowed and what was not. As each year passes, the research has lessened….but I know that at any moment something else might come to fruition and the search for the best products and care will begin again.

      I wish you all the best, and look forward to hearing from you again!!

  2. Ugh! I saw the same article and was as disgusted as you are! I worked in the school for 10 years, and I can tell you it’s CRAZY what people think their child is “entitled” to! Also, while this parent doesn’t want to be bothered by someone else’s child’s allergies, if HER child had the same allergies, she would expect everyone to cater to them! Selfishness, entitlement, me-attitudes, unwillingness to support each other, and all of the other characteristics displayed by this parent tell you why we rank 36th. Sad.

    • You know I agree with you 100%. As you worked in a school, you probably saw way more disheartening situations than I could ever imagine. Our society needs to work together more for the better of everyone. If we don’t stop this ‘entitlement’ trend, we will only spiral downward even more. Unfortunately…our thoughts seem to be the minority!

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