As a food allergy mom, you never want your child to miss out — on learning and social growth, on the fun of just being a kid — because of food allergies. Sometimes it takes an extra step or two, but you can find workarounds that keep your child safe and included. A new-to-food-allergies preschool mom shares how working closely with her son's preschool teacher made a craft project a 'go' for her little guy and a win for food allergies (and the birds).
I want to share an experience I had with my son’s preschool, to help those of you who’s kids with food allergies are either in preschool or are headed there in the near future. I’m hoping my experience will help you.
My small son is allergic to peanuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, and eggs. His food allergies were discovered at six months, and he is now one of 18 children with food allergies in his preschool class.
His preschool teacher has always been proactive about checking in with me about his allergies. She was thinking of doing a class project using birdseed and asked if it would be ok for my son to touch bird seed.
Of course, I wanted my son to participate and not feel left out!
I am new to the allergy world and it never even occurred to me that bird seed could contain his allergens. Some online research quickly revealed that bird seed often contains allergens like peanuts and seeds (like sunflower seeds.) I found a peanut & tree nut free bird seed brand and offered to supply it for the project.
My son’s teacher was thankful for the ‘donation’. It gave both of us peace of mind that my son could participate safely. I was grateful I would not be forced to keep him home from school that day and that he would be able to learn from a fun, hands-on project with his classmates.
I want to encourage everyone to not feel defeated when situations like this happen. There’s always a way to work things out. Most of the time teachers are willing to work with you to make things possible for your little one.
"Don’t ever be afraid to ask and explore possibilities."
—Piyanetra Gomolvilas, preschool food allergy mom
About the Author: Piyanetra Gomolvilas was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She graduated from Indiana University and now lives in Chicago, Illinois. After twelve years of working for an IT company, Piyanetra decided to leave the corporate world to focus on her son. She is currently a stay-at-home mom. She loves to travel, spend time with her family, and cuddle with her fluffy friend, Wonton (although, he could pass for Chewbacca.) She also enjoys trying new Thai restaurants, though it has been quite a challenge since peanuts are an integral part of Thai cuisine!