Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Poker Chick Hates Your Kids' Birthday Parties

"You're lucky you're not here. You'd be livid".

This is what Poker husband said while he called Poker Chick from his first solo birthday party. She heard her kid screaming in the background, and, after all the conversations that had happened, was floored.

So now we're asking you all: is it too much to ask for a parent to at least consider food allergies when planning a birthday party for their kid? *

At the very least, tell Poker Chick if "make your own cupcake" is an integral part of the event. Perhaps before she has called the place twice to verify the safety of the "make your own pizza" and emailed with you about it as well?

Is it too much to ask you to let her know that even though the "make your own pizza" is safe, and everyone assumes the kids will eat it, you've decided not to cook it and to serve "real" pizza for food instead, which is not. And is it too much to ask that if you do let her know this, you might want to let her know before the event, so that you are not calling the pizza place on the fly with a patient and sensitive child eagerly waiting the "it's ok!" and then watching her explode into tears when she can't have the food everyone else is having and there is no backup because you called the place ahead of time to check what food would be there and determined it was going to be okay to eat?

Seriously, any feedback would be appreciated here. Maybe asking for consideration is too much. If a kid makes a kid cry that's life. But if a grownup makes a kid cry, it's maddening.

So while mini does ABCs, Poker Chick is learning some lessons of her own in school: parenting a food-allergic child is hard. Because the real challenge isn't keeping them safe. It's making sure they don't feel "different" so it doesn't affect social development either. This is the greatest challenge by far. It's made infinitely easier with a supportive school and teachers, and many parents are thoughtful and considerate and concerned and Poker Chick is beyond grateful to them.

Sadly, others are simply not. Others are full-on resentful of the annoyance her child has added to their lunchbox-making. Shocking and sad but true. Unfortunately, it's these people that create the unnecessary social consequences that the kid has to face on top of an already overwhelming condition.

So whether you think it's too much or not, hear this: Your insensitivity can do major damage. So please act like a grownup here. ONE minute of thoughtfulness on your part can help a kid feel like a normal kid. So think about that. And pass it on, will ya?

*It's a rhetorical question, peeps. The answer is "no".


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm speechless.

Ms.Athena said...

As a teacher, I do make sure that I share the food allergies with every parent who asks to bring in food for birthdays....

Anonymous said...

I think it's less about helping a kid feel normal and more about helping a kid not have to be rushed to a hospital. If it was their kid with the allergy, they'd want the same courtesy.