While I generally try to keep things positive on this blog, I was very upset by this recent article on the Huffington Post. Entitled, “Why Do Your Kid’s Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have a Birthday?”, already, the author is on a role. Granted, it is an opinion piece and everyone is entitled to their slice of opinion (puns intended). But I found most of what this mom, Carina Hoskisson, had to say about food allergies and Celiac to be downright insulting. This is solely my own opinion, but please make your own judgement. When you start an article like this, you are spitting on the faces of everyone who has no choice as to having been born with a disease or life threatening allergy (like myself and many many others in this community!), and over a piece of birthday cake nonetheless:
Carina Hoskisson wrote: “Last week a friend of mine posted this question as a Facebook status: ‘What is gluten, nut, and egg-free AND also store-bought that I can serve at a kindergarten class party?’ I don’t know, air? All over the country parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of other people’s children thanks to the skyrocketing number of food allergies and food intolerances. (They both have similar symptoms, but intolerances are generally considered less serious and not life-threatening.) We can’t bring in homemade cookies or snacks; we’re asked to buy commercially prepared goods. Even if you agree to bring in commercially prepared snacks, you’re asked to make sure they’re “gluten, nut, and egg-free” or some other combination of scary food exorcism.”
And her one-sided rant goes on and on….I’ll post the link to the whole article again here.
First, Ms. Hoskisson does not understand the differences between food allergies, intolerance, and Celiac disease –and yes, they are ALL serious and damaging to the person living with them with no choice in the matter.
Second, please do not mock the diet that I have to live on. I know I have restrictions. But you do not know the half of what it takes to actually live a life in a constant cloud of anxiety every time food is around. Being allergic to soy, peanuts, and most legumes, with gluten intolerance on top of that, I’d say I have a pretty clear idea of what that’s like. Now, if you would be willing to consider for one moment that kids in school HAVE DIED and DO accidentally DIE from “safe” food options at school lunch or birthday celebrations due to lack of understanding on others’ part of how serious their food allergy is, you might realize that forgoing food celebrations in classrooms is a very fair idea.
Third, YOUR KID CAN STILL HAVE A BIRTHDAY. And so can the allergic kid! Even if they don’t have DOUBLE the cake by bringing a boatload of gluten, peanuts, soy, wheat, or tree nuts at the cost of others LIVES, I think they will still be able to have cake at home or in their private birthday party pretty easily. What about bringing in small party hats, little bracelets, or even sparkly pencils from the dollar store instead? No one is going to risk death by wearing a party hat, unless maybe you live in Westeros under the rule of King Joffrey. If you’re that concerned about your child enjoying their birthday to the max to make fun of other people living with food allergies and Celiac (which is kind of like making fun of someone in a wheelchair or someone with diabetes), I’d say you were a resident of Privet Drive and your child’s name may or may not be Dudley. Just sayin’.
Last, she even acknowledges that food allergies, intolerance, and Celiac is on the rise. Given this factual information, wouldn’t it seem common sense to take the safe road towards inclusion of a growing number of people with legitimate and life threatening conditions rather than stick up a prissy nose, dig in the heels, and fight kicking and screaming over one piece of cake? The Dursley’s are real my friends. And it’s a sad day.
But really guys, make your own decision and opinion here, this is just mine….there are so many other points I could make. I really hope parents like Ms. Hoskisson will realize when they taut like that about this serious and growing problem, their children are watching. We already know there are children who bully food allergic kids by throwing food allergens at them. Please don’t add to the cruelty and problem.
(**Please also see a great response to her ranty article from Gluten Dude entitled, “I’m So Sorry Our Celiac Disease is Such an Inconvenience For You.” Brilliance.)
I say, let them have all the cake (or pudding) they want…..you know, as long as it puts others in danger and stuff.