Browsing Archives for May 2010

Rubber Cauterized Undies

May 22nd, 2010

Dear Ms. Principal of Warren Harding Elementary,

Hi!  We are so excited to be starting school next year!  I have a very bright, energetic boy who is eager to start!  He is already starting to read a few words on his own!  And boy is he excited about meeting the other kids! I am sure that you encounter moms all the time who are a little nervous about sending their kids to school.  I too have a few concerns, but they are a little more important than your ordinary concerns.  Because there is nothing ordinary about my kid! So I hope you will read this letter extra carefully, distribute copies to everyone in the school and have it enlarged with the enclosed photo of my son and hung up in the lunchroom where everyone can see it.  

My child is allergic to tomatoes.  We discovered it when he was only eighteen months old!  We were eating pizza and I gave him a bite the size of a pea and suddenly – out of nowhere – his face contorted, his eyes rolled back in his head and he began bouncing up and down.  I had never seen anyone having an actual seizure before – but this is what I had always imagined one to look like.  So I scooped up my tender baby and took him to the emergency room and after months and months and MONTHS  of testing ( I swear I drove my doctor practically insane!) I had to conclude that my son was deathly allergic to tomatoes.  If he comes into contact with a tomato, or any type of tomato product – he begins to exhibit a set of behaviors that can only be described as ‘seizure like’.   If he doesn’t get his Epi-Pen injection within ninety seconds, we have no idea what could happen to him!  So in order to prevent a fatal tragedy from occurring, we ask that the school please remove all tomato products from the school.  This includes salsa, spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, pizza, lasagna, side salads and yes – ketchup.  Also any pictures of Bob the Tomato that might be displayed in a classroom must be removed prior to my son’s first day of school.  I am sorry to tell you this,  but the image of a poorly drawn cartoon tomato scares the bejeezus out of my little boy.  What were those Veggie Tales people thinking?

Sadly  – our worries do not cease with tomatoes.  Two summers ago we were visiting relatives in northeastern Idaho.  All my son’s cousins were happily devouring a huge pepperoni pizza (unfeeling jerks!).  In order to protect my son from the dangerous tomato contaminants in the air, I took him to the back bedroom and tucked a towel between the door and the floor to keep any seepage from getting at us and I gave him his usual dinner – a bowl of bran flakes covered in raw milk.  He took two bites and then out of nowhere, he threw the spoon on the floor and refused to take another bite!  He was thrashing around and screaming that he hated me and he hated everything!   Of course, I reacted like any good mother world!  I bundled up my writhing child and took him to the ER.  Once again – after hundreds more lab tests (my baby has been poked more than a grand champion cake at the county fair) I have successfully diagnosed my child with a severe lactose intolerance.  Well… ‘intolerance’ isn’t really the right word.  It’s more like ‘lactose toxicity’.  If he even hears a cow moo -he could die!  His body stiffens, he screams in agony, he rolls around on the ground and will gnash at the nearest person (usually me) with his teeth.  As a result, we must insist that the schools eliminate milk and all milk products from the school lunch program.  He will also not be able to share a classroom with a kid who lives on a farm.  Farms have cows.  Cows make milk.  I know it may seem strange to take away milk, cheese, and yogurt from the ‘ordinary’ children’s lunches, but for my kid this is a matter of life and death and I don’t see how it really matters if it is a slight inconvenience to everyone else.

Finally – we need to talk environmental aggravants.  My child is a rare and fragile ball of fire!  He sure keeps me on my toes!  A few months ago, we were at the grocery store and I was carefully reading every food label like I always do, when I heard a wrenching clatter behind me.  I turned around and saw that my child had stripped himself naked right in the middle of the gluten free aisle! He had torn off his helmet, his outer vinyl protective layer, his face mask, his inner layer of 100% organic cotton and his galvanized gloves!  I raced up and down the aisle looking for anything that could have caused such a violent reaction.  While I was frantically reading labels, my son threw his oxygen mask at me and began stomping on his cauterized, rubber undies!   I take protecting my child very seriously  and I had that kid sealed up tighter than the last girl baby in a polygamous compound!  It’s for the molecular rhizomes!  They are everywhere!

Once again, I rushed him to the local emergency room (where we are on a first name basis with everyone – even the hospital administrator!)  I could plainly see that he had a few red bumps where the rubber tubing met up with the sheet metal shirting.  In a matter of months (and long sleepless nights researching deadly allergies on the internet) my worst fears were confirmed.  My baby is allergic to clothes. Even the SITE of clothes can set him off!  The worst reactions seem to occur when he sees his old travelling outfit hanging by the back door.  He begins to writhe like the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  He dances around like all of his limbs are ablaze and he comes at me with whatever pointed object is close at hand!  As a mother – this is excruciating to watch.  I have had to stop wearing clothes too.  It was the only way I could be in constant non-stop contact with my son.  His father can’t touch him either – even if he takes his clothes off after he gets home from work (because he still has the deadly fabric excretions all over his body).  Of course these days we don’t see my husband very much.  He’s taken a second job… and a second house… and a second wife.  

So I am going to have to ask that my child’s class be clothing free.  I have thought long and hard about this and realize that the most difficult part might be finding a teacher who is willing to stand at the black board buck naked eight hours a day.  Trust me, I understand better than anyone  the difficulty to adjusting to full time nudity.  The stories I could tell you!  There was this one time at the park… I was just pushing my son on the swings and this mother of four year old twins came up behind me and just started screaming!  ”FREAK!  FREAK!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU LADY!  PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!  GET SOME CLOTHES ON YOUR KID!”  But you know what?  I just launched into my long litany of allergy hell and before I knew it – we were sitting on a park bench drinking lattes and talking food reactions.  Turns out that her twins are allergic to shell fish and they get hives if they even smell an orange!  Can you imagine!  She comes over twice a week for nude playgroup now.  Our membership is up to twenty three members and growing every month! 

You might think that implementing these new policies into your school will be difficult and that a few hardhearted parents will balk at having their kid in my child’s classroom.  But in my experience, people really don’t mind taking certain choices away from their own kids in the name of safety.  I find that people will tolerate just about anything if you demonstrate how to stab a child’s thigh with an Epi-Pen the correct way.  Make sure you hold the Epi-Pen like a dagger and swing down hard and fast towards the child’s thing while screaming, “BREATH! JUST BREATHE BABY!  C’MOM BABY!  FOR MOMMY! BREATHE!”  The weak arguments to protect their own child’s food and clothing ‘freedoms’ to save my kid from certain death will evaporate as quickly as the nurses at the local ER do, whenever me and my boy show up.

Always Safety First,

Carlotta Bullocks

(Mom to one very excited kindergartner to be!)

No one knows why peanut allergies are on the rise, but they are.  As a result, every party invite, classroom activity and school picnic lunch seems to come with a stern warning regarding unsafe food items containing peanut products as well as the operating manual for an EpiPen. At a recent school board meeting in my small town, one discussion revolved around peanuts and how deadly they can be. An administrator had been told by the parents of a child with peanut allergies that if their child was even touched by a hand that had recently been in contact with peanut butter – their child could DIE!

That’s right!

DEATH by peanut butter hand!

How come Agatha Christie never used this in one of her books?

I guess because no one was allergic to peanut butter back then!

So the board had to decide if it was okay to risk the death of a student (by peanut butter hand) or if they should just make all forms of peanut butter in the school completely and totally against the rules. There would be no more snack items containing peanuts. No more PB and J on the lunch menu but most importantly no child would be allowed to pack a peanut butter sandwich in their lunch box from home.

And if you were caught packin?

You’re Outta Here!

The board decided to wait to make a decision until more facts could be gathered. They needed a few peanut butter pie charts and some more intel from the peanut gallery before they made PB and J a criminal offense.

Of course allergies can be very serious and even fatal and I have no problem with taking some precautions to keep children safe.

But really?

Outlawing peanut butter for everyone in the entire school?

Fortunately, it turns out that there is no such thing as death by peanut butter hand.

A child with severe peanut allergies will only experience a rash even if they brush up against a classmate that has been completely coated from head to toe in peanut butter.  Kids with peanut allergies also do not die if they smell peanut butter.  Smelling peanut butter is perfectly okay for everyone! Just don’t stick your nose into the peanut butter and don’t lick the spoon and put it back in the jar!  Because GROSS!   

So what do you think? How far should a school go to keep kids safe from allergic reactions?

Should certain foods be barred from the lunch room because a few kids are allergic to them?

Is anyone else craving a peanut butter sandwich now?  

How about a peanut butter smell?  

What’s your favorite brand?  

Smooth or crunchy?  

Off to make a PB and J,

(smooth Jif, with blackberry jelly on whole wheat)