Now, we could write a whole post about the level of coordination required to send mini there AND live without constant heart palpitations, but we've done that on smaller scale in years past. Suffice it to say we are now on a first name basis with the head of the grade, the nurse, the head of catering, and might even have a few personal cell phone numbers. It can be done.
In fact, the camp has been so good about accommodating mini at lunch that she is starting to take advantage of it. You see, like many kids, mini is a picky eater. She might be allergic to sesame seeds, eggs, and nuts, but when you throw in the fact that she refuses to eat fruit, doesn't like leftovers, and generally avoids foods that aren't white or brown, you can see how lunch might be an issue.
The counselors and kitchen staff, worried about making something she'd eat that was safe, bent over backwards to try and please her. They sent the camp driver to buy a bag of a safe brand of fish sticks so she could eat what the other kids had (the bulk fish sticks had egg). They made her her own pizza bagel when the frozen pizza bagels had egg. They made a special batch of egg free fried chicken drumsticks on fried chicken day.
Experienced parents will see where this is going.
Yes, that's right, mini declared the safe fish sticks "disgusting". She wanted a plain bagel and cream cheese instead of the pizza bagel, which was "mushy". And apparently she does not like fried chicken, and the kosher kitchen will not serve it with ham and the green eggs...well, you can see how those might be an issue in this case.
The staff, who is absolutely wonderful, offered to make her a bagel and cream cheese or pizza every day, the two things she has eaten that are safe. And truth be told, with the amount of physical activity they get at camp every day, she needs to eat. So it makes sense to just say yes. But here comes the parenting dilemma....when are the accommodations TOO much?
It's one thing to say she can have a bagel and cream cheese on fish stick day if the fish sticks aren't safe, but if she can have what the other kids are eating, why should she be special? After all, if a kid without food allergies declared the fish sticks "disgusting", he or she wouldn't have a special meal made for them. So why should she get special treatment? She's using her allergies to game the system!
So this is where we struggle. She needs the food. And on another hand, with mild sensory processing issues (typically these go hand in hand with food allergies), one could easily argue that she should eat whatever you can get into her. But at what point are we as parents over-indulging our kids and letting them take it too far? At what point do we invoke the age-old rule" You get what you get and you don't get upset!"?
We'd love to hear if other parents with food allergies struggle with worrying about spoiling their child with too many accommodations. Heck, we'd love to hear from any parent who struggles with this in a related area.
Feed the kid and spoil the child? Or do whatever you need to to get them to eat?
What say you, wise peeps?