Today was Orthodox Easter and my parents came to pick up my girls for an Easter Egg hunt at their church. We then met for dinner, and on the way home in the car, Bean was telling me how her sister and her each got chocolate Easter Bunnies. She said that Bubbles’ chocolate bunny was not safe, but that the white chocolate bunny she got was safe! Woohoo! When they got home we went through their bags and found that the white chocolate bunny had peanut butter in it. Most of the other goodies also had peanuts or were unsafe for her too. The thing is the white chocolate bunny had peanut butter as an ingredient, so it did NOT state on the allergen warning that it contained peanut butter. My daughter looked at the warning, but not the ingredients themself.
One other thing, if peanuts or peanut butter is in the ingredients list, it does not have to be included in the warning portion. Always, always read the full ingredients list AND the warning label.
When I told her she could not have the bunny after all she got really upset and said “I can’t have anything!!” Unfortunately, so many things with chocolate are unsafe for her. By then I pulled out her stash of candy and showed her all the candy that she CAN have. She was not having it and proclaimed that “none of it is chocolate though”. She looked so sad. I told her that we can get her special chocolate that is peanut free. She slowly replied, “I know, but it’s not the same. I can’t have a lot of things and I would really like to try them.” All I could say was, “I’m sorry. I am sorry that you have a peanut allergy. If I could make it go away, I would.” Then she asked me a question she never asked before, “Do you think I will outgrow my peanut allergy, like I did my egg allergy?” Based on what our allergist said, that since her allergy is so severe, she will probably never outgrow her peanut allergy. I told her, “Baby, I’m sorry, but you probably will not ever outgrow it.” The look on her face broke my heart. I hugged her and smoothed her hair and started to cry. I started feeling sorry for her, and said, “I’m sorry you cannot try everything, and I am sorry you couldn’t have that candy. I am sorry you have to bring your own treat to birthday parties, and I am sorry this will be something you will have to deal with the rest of her life. You know what though? Having a peanut allergy makes you a very special little girl”. She got up and ran and got her book, “The Girl Who Cannot Have Peanut Butter” and read it to me. She changed the name to her own, instead of Sam (the main character). Then she looked me square in the eyes and said, “It’s OK Mom! Everyone has something they cannot have, besides I probably wouldn’t like the taste of peanuts anyway and I would just spit them out.” She is such an amazing little girl, and it took her to remind me to not feel sorry for her or her allergy. It’s OK, she really can have so many other things, AND like the book says, “Everyone in class has something special or different that no one else has.”
Also, always, ALWAYS, read all the ingredients, not just the warning labels. If the allergen is listed in the actual ingredients, it does not have to be listed in the allergen warnings!