What would YOU do?

A friend emailed me recently (along with other friends) with this mothering quandary: What do you do if a child you invited to your kid’s birthday party turns out to have food allergies to a lot of different things, including something in your child’s favorite birthday cake?

To give you brief background, my friend moved over the summer to a new place and invited all of her son’s classmates (he’s in first grade) to his birthday party. Granted, since school has only been in session a month and they are new to the area, she hasn’t gotten to meet all the kids ahead. A week after sending the invites out, one mother called to tell her that her son would be coming and then listed several food allergies and asked that food items with containing the allergens not be served at all. And listed several “preferred” food items that were more acceptable. She said it was hard enough for her child to fit in and she didn’t want him eating “different” food than everyone else.

I feel for the mom who called, I really do. But seriously, I think she was out of line. The fact of the matter is, her child is different, and should hardly start learning as a child that the rest of the world cannot conform to his or her specific needs. By catering to this woman and her child, my friend has also taken away the focus from her son’s celebration, to their wants and needs.

I speak coming from the mindset of a special needs child. I do not ask parents who are having a party at Chuck E. Cheese to move it because my daughter has sensory processing disorder. We just do not attend.

I emailed my friend back and advised her I would call the mother and inform her that for this particular occasion I would not be able to change menu items or provide special food to accommodate her child. She is certainly welcome to attend with her child and bring food that he can eat but if that is not satisfactory then maybe there would be another playdate or time that we could get together when it would be easier to manage her child’s needs. I told my friend that I realize that being new to the area, she wants to meet people and make new friends and be accommodating, but this was clearly above and beyond what the situation warrants.

So, what would YOU do in the same situation?

UPDATE: I just received this update in my inbox:

I called the mother back and suggested again that I could provide some alternate items for her child–as I did in the first conversation–but I would still be offering my original menu in addition. I explained that my child had specifically requested this type of party and these food items and I would be happy to accommodate her in what ways I could but changing the entire menu (and thus theme) was not going to happen. The mother informed me she would not allow her son to attend and “be made to look like a freak show eating different food.” I told her I was sorry she felt that way and that was certainly not my intent, and even offered my sympathies that I knew it could not be easy to deal with those type of things.

I actually had gotten 2 calls from other mothers asking me if this particular woman had called and informed me of her child’s allergies. Both mothers informed me that they had done the same thing that I did and she had reacted in the same way. I feel terrible for the child because as one of the other moms pointed out, he doesn’t really feel different except his mother is making him feel that way by missing out on all the fun.

Thank you for all of your friendly mommy advice. -J

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Survive

Gianna Jessen survived the unthinkable. Abortion. Listen to and watch this beautiful woman. Her life is testament to the truth of God and His mercy and that life will always find a way. God Bless all those victims of abortion.

Tiny Treasures Tuesday

 William–Mr. Will is finally seeing the light at the end of the teething tunnel. It has, however, not come without fever, diarrhea and extreme irritability. On the upside, he is saying new words everyday. He is also very active and enjoying wrestling and climbing. And he is still trying new foods! He ate all kinds of melon and berries this weekend!

Joseph–Our big three-year-old had his 3-year-well-child exam today. He weighs 30 lbs and is 36 1/2 inches long. He is in the 25th percentile for weight and height but the pediatrician is not concerned as that has been his pattern since birth! He was a brave little guy for his two shots. He is loving books right now and his many, many birthday presents!

Shelby–Big Girl is making lots of progress at school. She is making lots of communication progress and loves her class. She had fun at Joey’s birthday this weekend too. She is also getting herself into things around the house: the aquarium, the refrigerator….

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Out of nowhere, twice this week, my pickiest eater, Joey, has eaten meals he has refused to eat before: spaghetti and tacos. When we had tacos Thursday night, he said, “Mama, I love this!” Mama loves being right!

2) So, Wednesday I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It started when I got the baby up and he had a poopy diaper, that leaked down his legs. So before breakfast, he was in the tub. And his bedding was in the laundry. His clothes were changed 4 times that day. As if that whole episode wasn’t enough, Shelby broke a book shelf. (She was climbing on it and the shelves broke.)  And I had insomnia Tuesday night so I was in a great mood to deal with all this.

3) Um, I watch tv now that I don’t work nights and new seasons started this week…I found out that I don’t have anything to watch really on Tuesdays (except Parenthood which comes on at 10) and nothing on Wednesdays. But Mondays and Thursdays are MINE!

4) Facebook outages are not a bad thing. My house is much cleaner as a result. I’m just sayin’.

5) Joey’s first ever birthday “party” will  be on Saturday. For little JoePa what better theme than college football. Go Nittany Lions!

6) I am a total nerd (in case you somehow missed that) and I love NPR (again, for those who might not have been paying full attention) and one of the best things is some of the voices. My favorite NPR voices? Diane Rehm, Jaime Tarabay, Robert Siegel, Carl Kassel, Louisa Lim, Terry Gross, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton and Scott Simon. In memoriam: Daniel Schorr.

7) Sunday is the Second Annual Italian Festival here. We are thrilled. Last years VIP guest was Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, can’t wait to see who they get this year!

Check out more Quick Takes with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Small Successes

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1) I’ve managed two visits with my boys to my best friend’s home to visit her new baby boy. (See the pic from yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday.) And they have not been fighting at all when we go there! Score!

2) I convinced all 3 of my kids to eat all their spaghetti Tuesday. Which is a MAJOR accomplishment in this house.

3) We had a birthday this week! Joseph Patrick is 3. That probably doesn’t sound like a success, but for the first time, Jeff was not here to celebrate with us, which made it a little harder for me to get through the day. But my kids just kept smiling away!

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that. ~Danielle Bean