2018 That’s A Wrap !!!
This will probably be my last blog post for the year, and boy did 2018 blow past us!!! I've watched Peyton this year blossom into a beautiful young lady, embarking on new chapter in her life.....Middle School. This will open a whole new chapter for Bernard and I to navigate with Peyton and her food allergies. This year I am so grateful to God that we did not have to Epi Peyton (meaning use her Epi Pen), that’s a huge blessing. 2018 opened my eyes a little bit bigger to my friend base, my circle, the people I call “my people”. Until your directly affected by food allergies, a lot of times, it doesn’t really affect you or your family. I will say that my circle of friends (and you know who you are ), really have come together and gone above and beyond to accommodate Peyton when she is in their care so she doesn’t feel left out, or better yet so she can be a part of the meal that will take place. I/we love each of you and we thank you so much for all you do for our sweet girl, we know it’s not easy...again...thank you so much.
In mid September I took a big step and let my daughter join all of the 5th graders at her elementary school and spend 3 days and 2 nights at Camp Champions outside of Lake Marble Falls. Talk about how I was one scared Mama!! Yall, I wanted to gas up Dusty Ruby (that's what I named my 2016 Nissan Pathfinder she always needs a good wash...lol) and head on down there to Marble Falls and just book a hotel room just to be near her. I've never ever been without my child that long, outside of her being with a family member. We waited until the last minute to make a decision on if we would let her go, her teacher reassured me that everything would be okay. The camp was notified not to serve any products with peanuts or tree nuts. Bernard and I did go to the grocery store and send her some safe foods, I always talk about her nut allergy, but she has a mild dairy allergy as well. Peyton has drank organic soy milk made in a nut free facility since she was 3 yrs old. So, for her to go to Camp Champions was a major accomplishment for her!!! This girl made me so proud, her father didn't doubt her, he knew she would do well and ask before she ate....but me being Mommy...I think I was just so scared of the unknown.
2018 also helped me open my eyes to making sure that because Peyton suffers from life threatening food allergies, and because she has a 504 Plan, all accommodations are followed and met for her at school. I have no regrets when it comes to this, and I know I've probably offended others when it has come to making sure her accommodations are met. This school year with Peyton’s teacher I must say she is awesome and heaven sent. But, what I will tell you is this, know your child’s rights....know that because your child has a food allergy they fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act, know that because they fall under the ADA accommodations have to be made for your child to participate in classroom activities, just as a child who doesn’t have food allergies would participate in the same classroom activity.
I’ve never had to experience this before until this year, 🤦♀️ 5th grade her last year in elementary school she was told to either opt out of a "food tasting" (not by her teacher) that the class was doing or bring her own “safe food”. I could have easily brought my own “safe” food, and I thought about opting out. But, I said to myself that’s a violation of her rights, she’s covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and they are required to accommodate for her just as they would for the next child who doesn’t have a food allergy....but instead “WE” was told to opt out or bring our own “safe food”. Peyton’s teacher called me after I emailed her visibly upset after receiving a email from the volunteer coordinator at the school telling me that any student that has dietary concerns may decline to participate , Peyton's teacher bent over backwards to accommodate and she found a “safe option” for her, and I spoke with administration in great lengths and advised that you might want to train your volunteer coordinator on how to handle classroom assignments with children with food allergies, because this was not handled properly. No child with food allergies should ever be told that they can either decline to participate in a classroom experience because of their food allergies or bring their own "safe food". Let me make that choice on my own to bring my own "safe food", but never is it okay for the school to tell you to not participate or bring your own "safe food" to participate in a classroom assignment if they are accommodating for the children in the classroom who don't have food allergies.
I think we as parents of food allergy kids get that bad stigma of being over protective, crazy and outrageous. Lol, I noticed at Peyton’s class Christmas party only one mom talked to me, and that was fine.....I probably made all the other ones mad because of this here incident.....and that’s fine too. This is what I mean when I say, you have to advocate for child, if you don’t do it, then things like this will happen and your child’s rights will be violated and you won’t even know it. People do realize and half the time, they don’t care because as I said before it doesn’t affect them. I have to be so vigilant for Peyton because her last meal, could actually be her last meal if I don’t ask questions. I make no apologies if this blog post offends anyone, I make no apologies if I come across as annoying.....BUT I have to speak up for Peyton, I have to ask those probing question’s for Peyton.....this is a life that by the grace of God I brought into this world with the help of her father lol....but I want to see her grow into a beautiful young woman, graduate from college, get married, and have beautiful children. I don’t want to see her life cut short because someone carelessly didn’t take the time out to think before they gave her food to eat.
Right now we are on a much needed Christmas Break, we braved the Trail of Lights. Our family normally would brave the crowds and make our way down to the Trail of Lights every year......but for some reason we had taken a 3 year hiatuses. We made our way down to Zilker with friends and family, and Peyton was so determined to have a funnel cake before leaving. All she kept saying was “Mommy, don’t forget to get me the funnel cake” lol. So, we get in line to get the funnel cake, and I ask the lady what kind of oil she uses, she says it vegetable oil, but she then says why.....do you have a food allergy ? I said, yes....her husband comes to the window and says, we fry the fried Snickers in the same oil. OMG!!!! Yall, tears just started streaming down my sweet girls face.....I walk up to Bernard and he say’s what’s wrong? I said she can’t get a funnel cake, they fry the fried Snickers in the same oil....Daddy hugs her and says it’s okay. Jayden told her, there’s another funnel cake stand under the Zilker Tree....we can try that one. Just the simplest things like a funnel on a Christmas outing...and she can’t have that. I try to calm her and tell her, don’t cry....you already know when you come out to festivals like these you can’t have everything to eat. Well, she ended up trying something new....a Beignet....and she loved it!!!! Only, thing about it is, I asked the lady what kind of oil she used to fry them in and she told me clear cooking oil....lol. I told her I’ve never heard of that, I need you to be more specific. Then she repeats herself again......clear cooking oil. I said NO....my daughter has food allergies, what kind of oil do you use, is it vegetable, soy, canola, sunflower.....which one....but I've never heard of clear cooking oil....I need specifics. Turned out it was clear vegetable oil....lol.
I also learned how to make goats milk soap!!! If your friends with me on Facebook, then you know that Peyton suffers from eczema really bad, and this year she's had some of the worst flare ups this year that she's ever had. My good friend Shellie previously made our goats milk soap, great thing is Shellie taught me how to make my own soap!!! I'll tell you, there's something very therapeutic about making soap...lol. But, I will do anything for my daughter in order to help heal her, to help not hear her cry because her skin is itching her...plus we also save on the costs of buying soap.
In closing, this year I wouldn’t change it for the world....it opened my eyes to some very new things that I want to branch out into and learn more about in the field of this crazy world of food allergies. I stated earlier, we have to learn to navigate that tricky world of middle school now (since she will be in the 6th grade next year). If I can leave you with any advice....research and know your child's rights, know what your child is entitled to. Be your child’s voice, they are children....don’t be afraid to speak up for them.