Refusing Food: Get them used to it early

May 06

Refusing Food: Get them used to it early

“No thank you, that could make me sick.”

mmcakeAt my son’s daycare they celebrate every child’s birthday. On most occasions they are accommodating to nut allergies as there are usually a couple children who suffer from this life-threatening condition.

From an early age, we have impressed upon our son how important it is that he is careful with food that is offered to him. He is five years old and on one occasion made us proud that he is so well aware of his situation.

This birthday was no different than any other that is celebrated. The birthday child gets a hat, they sing “Happy Birthday,” and then there are treats, usually a cake. The cook makes everything from scratch to ensure there are no allergens. On this day, she had a lapse of judgement. Someone had given her a bag of candies to top the cake with.

My son has been brought up with a candy called Smarties. These are candy-coated chocolate pieces that are safe from nuts. On the other hand, he has also been taught that the competition to Smarties, M&M candies, are not safe for him.

When he was handed a piece from the cake, before he even took it, he saw that there were little candies with the “M” printed on them. He promptly said that he could not have any because the candies were M&Ms and they will make him sick. The cook at first thought he must be wrong but our son insisted and would not take any cake.

The cook stopped, looked at the candies, and ran to the kitchen to check the bag. She was in shock when she saw the “may contain” warning that she would let something like this happen and then vowed to never dismiss anything that the children say to her again. She was so proud of our son, and she was so affected by the event that she had to excuse herself from the room to gather herself.

When we picked up our son, the cook, who had been waiting for us to arrive, took us aside to tell us what happened and to ensure us that she would never do anything to put any of the children in harm’s way. We were grateful, and with a tear in her eye we gave her a hug and told her it was OK.

We are so proud of the guy in the banner above. He knew to question the adult and to refuse the treat outright.

This event made us realize how important it is to make sure one’s child is very well educated about their condition from the moment they are able to understand your words.

Just as an aside to this, yesterday the morning snack was rice cakes. Our son loves rice cakes but, sadly, these particular ones were Quaker brand, which recently changed production of these and are no longer produced in a nut-free facility. Because our son knows this may happen, he simply told his teacher that it was OK for him not to have any and went off to play.

He’s fantastic and, as I may have already mentioned, we are SO proud of him.