When parent bloggers trend, they trend all over the media. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon, demonizing the most irrelevant things for the sake of posterity–and something kitschy to write about. I know; I’ve done it, too. Remember the yoga pant?
This year, the trend is criminalizing the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I mean, aside from it being deemed racist, parents are being prosecuted (without trial, might I add) as psychopaths for sending their child to school with a PB&J.
If anyone is scratching their head because they haven’t heard, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich may kill children with anaphylactic peanut food allergies if they consume that product, and they do not seek medical treatment in time. Yes, it is a scary, real issue. It’s not an airborne allergen, though. The peanut must find its way into the child’s mouth.
There are hundreds of thousands of allergens that cause anaphylaxis–milk, bees, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, chemicals, dogs, cats, mites, ants, wasps, fruit, fish, honey, shellfish, and only a few hundred, thousand more. But, because a child may die in school from cross-contamination with peanut butter, a parent who sends their child to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a psychopathic serial killer.
The crazy thing about this anti-PB&J trend is that it’s only the peanut butter allergy causing waves. No other allergen is as important in the food allergy, parent-blogging world this year. Every other reaction has taken a backseat to parents who pack peanut butter-covered anything, and send it to school.
Eggs, anyone? Anyone packing an egg salad sandwich, or tuna fish with egg?
Well, my child has a PB&J sandwich at school today. I’m now accepting the fact that I hate everyone else’s child, someone may die from my carelessness, and I should die a slow, rotting death because I didn’t join the bandwagon. My lack of acceptance for bandwagon mentality should be widely known by now. It’s nothing new.
Better pack me up and send me off, now, seeing as I’m not leaping on, head first.
First, I’m poor, and I can afford peanut butter and jelly for my child when the pantry is bare. Second, out of the two-to-three hundred children in my son’s school, I know of one who is “mildly allergic”–the teacher’s description–to peanut butter, and that child is not in my child’s class. Third, there are three, huge, nut-free designated tables in the lunch room, and I have never seen a child sitting there. Fourth, the school has never made a statement concerning peanut butter.
To me, as a parent, that speaks volumes.
If this peanut butter sandwich is such a pandemic, I should be receiving notes, letters, flyers, and thousands of other documents from the school concerning the PB&J.
But, maybe the school just leaves it up to the outspoken parent bloggers to solve the problem of peanut butter.
Yes, yes, I can hear people from miles away shouting that if I had an allergy that caused anaphylaxis, I wouldn’t be so cavalier. Well, I do. I have both anaphylactic and mild allergies, along with pesky seasonal allergies. It doesn’t deter me from moving around in the free world.
Mr. M has an anaphylactic allergy to stinging insects–we found that out the hard way this weekend. Tiny has a mild allergy to milk and milk products. Not once have I made demands for people adhere to my allergens, nor have I asked people I do not know to make special accommodations for me or my child.
However, if we’re standing around, joining bandwagons (“I never send my child to school with ANYTHING that another child would be allergic to! He only eats and drinks air at school!”), criminalizing and demonizing parents for sending food items to school, I will join in, jump on, and be an outspoken mom blogger for a second. Why? Because every day my child comes home to tell me about cupcakes, cookies, donuts, or brownies he has consumed, at school, for someone’s birthday.
Awww, how sweet. Parents bringing dessert to celebrate their child’s birthday.
No. No, it’s not sweet. It annoys the hell out of me, and I want it to stop. I mean, seriously, why the hell are parents sending junk food to school every damn day?
I think right here I’ll make a statement to the fifteen or so peanut butter blogs I’ve read: if I’m an asshole who should be sent to jail for sending my child to school with a PB&J, even though he’s nowhere near your child, your school, nor is he around any other kid with a peanut allergy in his classroom, and he’s in a school where he is allowed to bring PB&J, then you’re an asshat who should be sent to jail for sending an overabundance of sugar products for my child to eat.
Did I make my point clear, yet?
What these parents don’t know–much like the parents of a child with anaphylaxis–is that my child has been classified borderline obese because of the crap food his dad feeds him, and continues feeding him after countless rants, pleas, and threats on my end. Yes, I’ve even threatened the father of my child for the poor decisions he makes regarding my child’s health. I already battle the choices my ex-husband makes for my child every Thursday and every other weekend. I fight that fight so much it may drive me insane.
On my time, on my watch, however, I should not have to continue to battle food. This is why I am proactive, and send my child to school with a packed, healthy lunch, including healthy snacks. He doesn’t eat the school-provided lunch; he eats the me-provided lunch. Which, for the third time since school started, included a PB&J, sliced apples, and a low-fat cheese stick. The difference? I’m making the peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my child, not for any other child. I know the accommodations made for the children with food allergens in the school, and I know that the one child with a peanut allergy is not only not in my child’s class, but he also doesn’t have anaphylaxis to it. If my child has a child in his class next year with an anaphylactic peanut allergy, yes, I’ll change to a cheese sandwich.
I’m not an asshole.
But, can the cupcake-giving parents change? Can they stop being asshats?
Will they stop providing sweets for every birthday their child has? Why, when other parents don’t give two shits about my battles with food for my child, am I the asshole?
For the seventh time this year, my child has eaten a birthday cupcake, a birthday brownie, or a birthday cookie provided by some other child’s parent, and I didn’t approve. I don’t approve. By the end of the year, minus his own birthday–because I will not provide extra sugar at school–my child will have eaten over twenty “birthday” desserts, along with holiday parties, and end of the year parties. That’s OVER 3,000 extra calories in dessert food, in just one year. I mean, good God, where does it stop? How am I supposed to battle my ex-husband AND every parent in my child’s school?
Where is the junk food free table for my child? Where are his special accommodations?
That same passion the peanut bandwagon has concerning the criminalization of mothers like me–the one who packs a random PB&J–is the passion I hold against parents who dutifully pack twenty-five, icing-covered, diabetes-in-a-crinkle-cup snacks for their precious child’s birthday, and send them to school for all the other children to eat. So, I’ll make a deal: if other parents start caring as much about my child’s health problems, which is my main focus, I’ll start paying more attention to the one child in my kid’s school of two-to-three hundred who has a mild peanut allergy, which is probably that parent’s main focus.
Do we have a deal? Because, if I “should be finding anything other than peanut butter and jelly” to send to school for my child, other parents should be finding a way to not help my ex-husband give my tiny human Child Type 2 Diabetes before the age of ten. As of right now, I’m fighting that battle all by myself, and I’m the only one who cares.