Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My fear of nuts

Yes, I am afraid of nutty people, but for some reason I am way more afraid of peanuts and tree nuts. Case in point, yesterday we were at the library for storytime. Ainsley and Leighton were sitting in my lap on the floor. A mom sitting next to me with her two girls gave one of them a peanut butter cracker. The girl proceeded to get peanut-butter-cracker crumbs all over the area next to us. The crumbs were like a magnet to my eyes and I couldn't stop looking at them until I had picked all of them up and thrown them away. Am I the only mom like that? I would have done the same with cheese crackers, but frankly, I get a lot more scared when I see peanut butter/peanuts/tree nuts in the area (perhaps it's because Ainsley's never ingested peanuts or tree nuts - only had a horrible skin reaction to them - so I'm afraid of what would happen if she ingested even a tiny amount).

I have had similar incidents involving a peanut butter & jelly sandwich (a little girl was eating one at a meeting I was at with my kids and then, with peanut butter and jelly all over her face and hands, started playing My Little Ponies with Ainsley) and peanuts (at another storytime - a little girl was eating them out of a plastic snack bag and spilled some next to Ainsley). I try not to overreact, but with regard to the peanut butter sandwich incident, I wiped Ainsley's hands really well with a wet wipe as soon as I could (which prompted a mom next to me to say sort of condescendingly, "Yes, kids can't help but get lots of germs when they're playing with other children", and I then had to explain that I was actually wiping Ainsley down because she may have gotten peanut butter on her hands and it would really be sad if I had to interrupt the meeting to stick Ainsley with an Epi-Pen).

Am I the only one who gets "activated" once she sees peanuts or tree nuts in the room? I know it is probably very unhealthy to actually have a fear of certain foods, but I've never known anything otherwise as a mom. (For a cartoon making fun of parents like me, see here ... the cartoon is actually attached to this article, which, the first time I read it, made me so mad that I wrote a very long letter to the writer, with whom I went to law school.)

I do not mean to judge the moms that bring peanut/tree nut snacks for their children - I know that if Ainsley weren't allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, I would be feeding them to her too. Still, I hope that the fact that my friends know Ainsley and her allergies encourages them to not bring foods like that to meetings and other places where lots of children will be congregating, just in case there is another child who, like Ainsley, has a severe peanut/nut allergy.

8 comments:

Amelia said...

My son is not as reactive to peanuts as your daughter, but yes, I'm most scared of the nuts for some reason (and he is much more reactive to the milk and eggs). I'm not sure what it is about those nuts. The other night after he was asleep I was noshing on some tree nuts (which he isn't allergic to), and he called for me - I just couldn't go to him until my hands were scrubbed clean.

Mamma Sarah said...

You are totally right. I am right there with you. With Alex being so allergic and not having ever ingested them I wipe down everything he is going to touch. My biggest fear is the shopping cart at the grocery store. Who knows who just bought peanuts!!

Anonymous said...

I remember the meeting incident... you handled it well. Since knowing you all I am hyper aware of what I pack in Simon's lunch when I don't know everyone who's going to be there (like meetings). I hate to admit that if I didn't know you all I might not think twice about it,... I hope I would, but I don't know. You're doing a great job as 'nutty-radar-lady' (ha)! Elena

Allergy Mom said...

No, you're not the only one with nut radar. Did Slate publish your letter? Would you link to it, or publish it on your blog? (Or was it intended personally for the writer, since you knew him?) I get so crazy every time I read one of those "I let my child have x near the allergic child and nothing happened, so the parent's overreacting" stories! Libby

Leigha said...

Hi Allergy Mom,

Unfortunately, I did not see the Slate allergy article until over a year after its publication. I still wrote an email to the author because I knew her and had to express how upset I was about her position on the topic. I just tried to find my response in my email but apparently I deleted it -- I sent it quite a while back. She did send me a very nice response saying most of the emails she had received on the piece had been like mine. I did recently send an email to Joel Stein over his piece on how food allergies are a yuppie phenomenon -- I will put that on my blog if I can find it.

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter with both peanut and tree nut allergies. Oh I hate it when other parents give their kids nut products. I've seen parents give peanut butter sandwiches at the park. Aren't these parents aware of the world around them, that most likely there could be a kid at the park with a nut allergy.

The worst for me is when we are visiting relatives and suddenly nut/peanut products will appear!!! Our new policy, we're outa there.......

Linda

Leigha said...

Linda,

I am so sorry that some of your relatives have nut/peanut products around your child! I would be furious!

Brittany said...

I'm a fellow allergy mom of a 19 month old (milk, eggs, and nuts) and YES, I AM SCARED TO DEATH of peanuts and peanut products. I can spot the a mile away and start feeling like a momma bear protecting her helpless cub! Thanks for making me feel more normal!! :)

P.S. I love your little girl's name, Leighton. My little boy (19 month old) is also Layton. Just a different spelling!
Love your blog!! :)