AIBU wrt to my DC missing out because of his allergies?

(127 Posts)
WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:03:03

I have a toddler with many many allergies. Mostly quite serious.

We attend a brilliant music group which he loves, the woman who runs it is absolutely brilliant. Its one of the few toddler things-to-do that I actually quite enjoy and not cringe my way through.

Since starting last summer, my son has changed from a very shy, frightened child who'd cry if another child or stranger tried to engage with him - to a happy, confident, outgoing toddler. Ive no doubt regularly going to this class has helped (theres a lot we cant go to because they have children walking round with food).

2-3 times a term, the lady uses feathers in the class for 3-4 minutes. If my DC goes anywhere near feathers he breaks out in hives, let alone handles them.

We used to leave the room during this time. But now he gets upset, he doesnt understand why Im dragging him away from all the noise and fun.

So Ive asked her to let me know the week before she uses feathers and we'll not come that week. She agreed and said she email me.

Except I was secretly hoping she'd say she'd just not use them. Theres so few groups we can go to, now 2-3 times a term we cant attend this one.

I dont want to drag my son out the class, its making him feel excluded. I hate that. I hate that fucking, bastard, bastard allergies means my lovely son see's and feels excluded from things.

AIBU to wanted, slightly expected, her to just say she'd not use them?

I really need to know if AIBU because this is just the start of situations like this, I know. sad

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:05:19

To add, I did not feel I could ask her outright not to use them. I felt that was her decision to make, or notion to arrive at by herself.

YABU - I think the best idea really would be for her to tell you when they are going to use them and then you can give that a miss. In all honesty, she is being nice by agreeing to do that - surely sometimes these things are winged and she doesnt have a meticulous plan for each session.

Really, why should everyone else miss out just because one child is allergic to feathers. What if another child is allergic to say the shakers, should she ban those as well???

I do feel for you, it must be a nightmare but really, it's not fair to expect her not to use them.

belfastbigmillie Thu 07-Mar-13 13:08:43

Speak to her in advance - find out what props she plans to use and get allergy-appropriate versions. My son has mild epilepsy so I know what it's like to feel like your child has been cheated out of a normal life. All the best x

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Thu 07-Mar-13 13:09:13

Hmmm... I think Yabu. But understandably so.

With time your son will learn about his allergies and come to understand that he just can't touch or play with certain things. Especially when he starts school.

Could you take in something he could have instead when the others are using the feathers? Maybe some sort of fabric, shaped like a feather?

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:10:06

All the other children would 'miss out' on 2-3 minutes. My son would miss out on several classes.

Honestly, that sounds fair to you Betty?

That doesnt seem fair to me at all. sad

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:10:34

3-4 minutes, sorry.

Dannilion Thu 07-Mar-13 13:12:15

YABU, but it must be very hard watching your DC go without over something no-one can control.

It's not unreasonable to want the world to revolve around your DC, but it is unreasonable to expect it.

SarkyPants Thu 07-Mar-13 13:12:29

I think it is fecking ridiculous that she is not prepared to make a tiny adustment to accommodate your child.


Of course your DS will have to learn to make adjustments WHEN NECESSARY.
But a feather doesn't come into the category of "necessary adjustment".

It's a feather FFS.

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 13:13:21

YANBU. Feathers are hardly an essential tool. Somehow my children have survived their early years without ever attending a feather-play session at a playgroup.

Why can't this lady use artificial feathers? Would they be okay for your DC? They're easy to get hold of from craft shops. If I were you, I would find some and then email her suggesting using those instead (possibly offering to pay for them yourself if you can do that).

It's just silly to exclude one child for no fault of their own, when they could easily make small changes to accommodate them. I expect this lady has not thought about it properly - until you've come across / dealt with a few allergies/intolerances, people tend to be unaware.

Betty - yes, if a child were allergic to the shakers, I would imagine something else could be used. I have two coeliac children. Pre-school makes their playdough using gluten-free flour (which I supply) for everyone, rather than exclude my children from the playdough area. It's not a big deal.

No Nancy it isn't fair...but then life isn't always fair is it!!

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:14:29

"over something no one can control"

Except in this situation we can control it cant we?

Thanks for replies, even ones saying AIBU.

LoopDeLoops Thu 07-Mar-13 13:16:34

Of course YANBU.

Has she actually emailed you yet to say she'll be using them? Maybe she just won't?

Yabu. She has agreed to do exactly as you asked. You are upset with her for not being able to mindread. Why not ask her not to use the feathers and see what her response is?

SarkyPants Thu 07-Mar-13 13:18:38

"but then life isn't always fair".

so let us make it as fair as is reasonably possible smile

Am shocked by the "suck it up" attitude on this thread.
I'd hate to think that we are doomed to live in a society where people can't be bothered to make small inconsequential changes to their lives to make someone else's life a little bit happier.

OxyMoron Thu 07-Mar-13 13:18:45


Worth a small adjustment for the sake of not excluding a child.

EyeoftheStorm Thu 07-Mar-13 13:20:29

This is going to come up again and again and you have to frame it positively for yourself and your son even though it is horrible and unfair for you both.

I have two friends with DCs with allergies - both very serious ones. One of my friends makes passive aggressive comments about what other children are doing/being given and the other one takes it in her stride and makes the best of it. I like them both, but I know whose DC is going to grow up with a better attitude to their allergies.

I don't know how she did it, but my friend is able to be completely on top of what her DC is doing and what contact she might possibly have with her allergens without making it a drama/issue for anyone including her DC.

You have a chance now to steer things in the right direction. You cannot rely on other people to always do the right or kind thing. They won't. You could follow the directions here and take your own things in on a feather day or just not go and do something else special on those days. Take it into your own hands.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:20:30

I only asked her last week. She replied and agreed, said she'd let me know. Then this morning we had a class and on my way out she said let me know when the feathers are coming up.

Shes a really lovely, kind woman. I feel guilty about starting this thread.

But more so, I feel guilty that I cant keep my son included in normal toddler things.

He cant attend the majority of toddler groups round here. I want 3-4 minutes to change, thats all. And Betty 'lifes not fair' is just a terrible retort, all things considered.

Pozzled Thu 07-Mar-13 13:24:07

Yanbu. And I would have thought the other parents would be happy to miss out the feathers bit. I'm sure with a bit of imaginationshe could replace them with another prop.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:25:04

Eye I juggle allergies in situations on a day to day basis, some situations pretty 'dangerous' for want of a better word. And drama never comes into it. Its my personal mission for my son to not see panic, worry and see situations as normal as humanly possible.

Im definitely not turning this into a drama, and wouldnt dream of it (I realise you werent suggesting that I was smile), inside my head and on MN I can bring it up as an issue.

Of course your not being unreasonable I can't believe she just won't say well I won't use feathers then, I mean 3-4 minutes it's not as if it's something she really needs to use as part of a music group.

EyeoftheStorm Thu 07-Mar-13 13:31:18

Of course you can and I realise 'drama' is an emotive word and I didn't mean that was what you were doing. I was just trying to imagine how it would be to have the drip drip drip of coping with these situations all the time and how you won't be able to change how other people react.

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 13:35:05

It is hard work dealing with situations like this - I deal with it from the point of view of coeliac children who must avoid gluten, and allergies must be even worse, as I don't have the anaphylactic shock risk, at least.

You really notice the people who are kind and accommodating. And tbh, you also really notice the ones - like a few on this thread - who think it's better to exclude children from something rather than making tiny adjustments. Madness.

Eye said what I was trying to say but put it so much better.

Didn't mean my life isn't fair to be taken as a horrid retort, was just being truthful. Shitty situation and of course in an ideal world then yes, everyone should make it as easy as possible for your DS to enjoy these pleasures.

Anyway, won't dig a bigger hole so apologies, I didn't mean the comment how you took it.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 13:37:37

Go next week. At the beginning,when everyone is sitting down, but before it starts, say to the group "I'm really sorry, but little X is allergic to feathers. Would anyone mind if we didn't do the feather song?"

Everyone will say "No, of course not"

Problem solved.

pinguwings Thu 07-Mar-13 13:41:13

Seeker has the answer!


WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:42:09

Im not putting anyone on the spot like that. There will be mums there, no doubt that will agree with Betty and wonder why their child had to miss out in feathers just for my one child. Im not willing to make a lovely enjoyable class awkward.

If the class organiser just stopped using them, no one would notice. She has so many props that the children love.

If it was going to stop, it needs to be the organisers decision, not my demand IMO.

Dannilion Thu 07-Mar-13 13:43:46

Well no, you can't control your DC's allergies. Which is what I meant.

These sort of situations are going to come up again and again. It's going to be heartbreaking for you I'm sure. However I still stand by my opinion that YABU to expect people to accommodate your child's allergies. Of course, the world would be such a better place if we all bent over backwards to help one another. But we don't, and it is a waste of time and emotions to get upset about every injustice we face.

Take it in your stride, your DC will benefit from you having a PMA and it won't be long until they understand why they can't do certain things.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 13:44:38

You wouldn't be putting them on the spot. You would be asking a group of reasonable people a reasonable thing. Which nobody could possibly mind. And anyone who was weird enough to mind would be drowned out by the reasonable voices of everyone else.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:48:37

Look above Seeker its because of replies such as Danillon that I absolutely would not ask a class to do that.

Dannilon out of interest, do you also think schools should allow tree nuts and peanuts in their pack lunches, school dinners and snacks?

DeWe Thu 07-Mar-13 13:49:57

I think you should have asked not to use them rather than saying "tell me". If someone said that to me, I'd assume that they were happy for that. If they'd just told me that their child was allergic, then I'd probably offer not to have them.

I think asking everyone at the start of the lesson is probably a way to get bad feeling, because people will be put on the spot.

Could you ask her if they could be done at the beginning, and you arrive 5 minutes late?

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 13:51:12

Yabu to expect her to read your mind. You want her not to use the feathers. So ask her not to use the feathers!

YANBU to expect her not to use them for all the reasons you have outlined.

ImAlpharius Thu 07-Mar-13 13:51:46

YANBU, to all those that say you are, no life isn't fair but a tiny change to group meaning that all can have a lovely time where is the harm, why not?

I don't see the problem for changing things slightly so all the children can enjoy it.

I there was an short element of strobe lighting in the odd session and a child had an adverse reaction would the parent be unreasonable to ask that not be included?

valiumredhead Thu 07-Mar-13 13:52:34

As it's only 2 -3 mins I would expect her to use something else or adapt the session so he could be included. It's not like you are asking her to change the whole session and your son is seriously allergic.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 13:55:51

Anyone who would prioritise their precious child playing with feathers for a few minutes over another child's suffering due to allergy is, to be frank, a twit of the highest order.

No child needs to play with feathers. They are not a significant or integral part of each session so they will not be missed.

fallon8 Thu 07-Mar-13 13:57:45

Then all the other mums stand up. "Hallo my name is xxxxxx and we are allergic to xxxxx". End of group as every knife is "allergic" to something...presumably he is allergic to every known feather do you manage to walk along the street ?

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Mar-13 13:59:38

YABU to expect her to read your mind, yes.

Ask her not to use the feathers and then you can post an 'AIBU she wouldn't stop using the feathers?' or 'lovely lady at singing has stopped using feathers'.

I would carry on going on the 'feather weeks' and continue to take DS out. Make the going out bit fun, maybe give him a snack or a ball or blow some bubbles or something. If he has a lot of bad allergies it's something he needs to get used to, the younger the better I think.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 07-Mar-13 13:59:59

I think you should ask her not to use the feathers. I don't think anyone sane would mind going without feathers so your son doesn't have to leave the room. If I was running a toddler group I would try to arrange things so it was safe for your son to attend. Sorry so many things seem to be barred to you.

Floggingmolly Thu 07-Mar-13 14:00:53

I'd go with Seekers advice too. I doubt there actually would be any parents wondering why their child had to miss out on feather time because of your child.
It'd certainly be a non issue for me.

erowid Thu 07-Mar-13 14:01:29

I think bedhopper's suggestion of bringing in artificial feathers for everyone to play with is a good one.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:04:16

fallon eh?
Every knife is "allergic" to something?
How do we walk down the street? Yes he is allergic to ever known feather, but where we live, the buildings, streets, roads and human beings are not made from feathers. Can I ask, are you suggesting Im making up his allergies?

Outraged I hear what you're saying.

Catsdontcare Thu 07-Mar-13 14:06:30

I think it's fine to ask if she can stop using feathers there are plenty of other props she can use.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:07:10

Yes, the artificial feathers idea was an excellent one. Sorry I should have thanked you for that. I looked on ebay for some. But also practically next door to the class is a craft shop. This would be an excellent situation.

Humphrey things dont seem 'barred' to us. They ansolutely are. I cannot attend a baby group which gives out toast and cake. One touch of a child, crumb or butter fingered toy and its anaphylaxis. Theres no 'seeming' to it. Its absolutely real. hmm

Catsdontcare Thu 07-Mar-13 14:07:54

Fallon8 is on fire today, best ignored OP

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:08:09

Also, the person who suggested using them at the start. Again, brilliant suggestion. One I hadnt thought of. If I cant find fake feathers, I'll ask her about that.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 14:08:15

My dd is was terrified of clowns. There was a clown doll at a play group we went to and she didn't want to go in the room if the doll was out. I talked to the organiser, and she put the clown in a cupboard on the days we went. I don't think anyone though their child's inalienable right to play with clowns was being violated. Or if they did, they, very sensibly, kept quiet about it. The same will apply to the feathers. If the organizer is dithering, go straight to the other parents.

SarkyPants Thu 07-Mar-13 14:10:11

"Of course, the world would be such a better place if we all bent over backwards to help one another. But we don't, and it is a waste of time and emotions to get upset about every injustice we face. "

missing out on a song with feathers does not count as bending over backwards.

Tailtwister Thu 07-Mar-13 14:13:54

I don't think YABU OP. For the sake of 3-4 minutes a few times a term, it would just be easier to stop using the feathers. If I were the teacher, that's what I would do.

Do you pay per term or per class OP? Are you having to still pay if you need to miss a 'feathers' class?

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 14:14:22

but this is a situation so easily solved!!!!!!

OP I think you area being very U not wanting to ask the other mothers. You seem to be paying more attention to the one or two who would have a problem with this, (and who I bet wouldn't have the guts to repeat the stupid things they are saying on where in real life) than to the overwhelming majority who wouldn't.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:15:13

I just called the first craft shop I googled in my town and the woman told me the feathers they had were fake. I said really? "Yes definitely!" Would you nind checking? "Yes but they are fake. Coloured feathers!" .... "Oh the pack says 'hen feathers'"


OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Mar-13 14:15:14

The organizer isn't dithering seeker, she hasn't been asked.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Mar-13 14:17:10

Try hobbycraft or Wilkinson's for fake feathers. I'm pretty sure they're properly fake, although tbh it's not something I've ever actually checked. They feel fake!

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:17:32

Tailtwister, I pay per term. But the last two weeks paid each week in cash.

Dannilion Thu 07-Mar-13 14:17:32

"its because of replies such as Danillon that I absolutely would not ask a class to do that." .....Ok.

I'm not even going to dignify your OTT questioning about peanuts in school dinners with a response. You're clearly on the defensive and want to attack me, whatever.

You asked if YWBU to expect a teacher to read your mind and make accommodations for your child without actually being asked to do so. You are.

Either ask her outright to stop using the feathers, take seekers advice and ask the rest of the parents, or stop expecting people to automatically have your child's needs at the forefront of their mind and then throwing a strop about it on the internet when they don't.

Karoleann Thu 07-Mar-13 14:17:52

Poor little one...have you got to know any of the other parents yet? If you can identify the slightly louder mum (like me) and mention (during normal conversation) that it was a shame that you couldn't come last week because of the feather thing.
She may then bring it up with the teacher.
I agree that you can't really do it yourself, especially when she hasn't already taken the hint.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 14:18:44

Oh, I though she had. Is this a non story then? AIBU to think person X should be psychic?

I'm already a bit cross that the obvious solution has been rejected......

Catsdontcare Thu 07-Mar-13 14:19:17

I am surprised that it hasn't occurred to the organiser to stop using feathers as soon as she knew the op's child had an allergy.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:20:05

I'll Google my nearest one, thank you.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 14:21:43

Dannilon- just as a point of information.(I'm pretty sure i know the answer)If you were at a playgroup, and another mother said to the group "would you mind very much if we didn't do the feather song because my dc is allergic to feathers?" What would you say?

Blatherskite Thu 07-Mar-13 14:22:18

I would say go to the organiser again.

Not only is it more likely to get things sorted but you're less likely to make anyone feel like they're getting their toes stepped on. You've asked her to let you know when the feathers are being used and she's agreed. She probably runs lots of these classes a week and it just hasn't had time to think it through and offer the no-feather solution.

You haven't asked her if she would do the feather song first/use fake feathers/not do the feather song at all so it seems a little unfair to be assuming she wouldn't do any of these things.

As far as she knows, she has agreed to what you'd asked. If she were me, I'd then feel quite offended if you took it upon yourself to ask the whole class if they wouldn't mind not using feathers. It makes her look like she's refused what is a reasonable request.

KindleMum Thu 07-Mar-13 14:22:58

I've bought fake feathers in Tesco previously from their child art and craft stuff.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:23:08

Dannilion, hand on heart my reply to your post was absolutely not to attack you.

I dont mind being told AIBU, this is genuinely the reason I wouldnt ask the class.
But I really would like to know (not for a row) if you were ok with nuts being in lunches etc. Because you said people shouldnt be expected to accomodate for my childs allergies.

Katnisscupcake Thu 07-Mar-13 14:23:31

Another who thinks YANBU. If I was her, I would just swap the feathers for something else and check with you what was suitable.

If I could adapt a situation to help a DC who has to avoid so many things that other DCs enjoy, then of course I would.

In her defence, maybe she didn't really think about her response. Difficult though to approach her again because you may come across as pushy... A real shame though sad.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:23:40

Im going into Tesco after school, I'll check thank you.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:25:42

I havent assumed she wouldnt do them at the start Blather. I clearly said upthread that was a brilliant suggestion and I will be asking her if I cant track down fake feathers.

ImAlpharius Thu 07-Mar-13 14:26:07

People SHOULD be expected to make reasonable accomodations and modifications to their surroundings and behaviour for others, in one place it may be toning down the walls for children who are upset by overloading sensory issues in another in might be not using feathers for a child with severe allergies.

I would re email the teacher and see what she says.

Dannilion Thu 07-Mar-13 14:26:11

I'd say "of course not".

I stand by my opinion that the OP is unreasonable because she EXPECTS people to make accommodations without actually ASKING them. Sometimes people don't 'get' hints and need things spelled out to them. No point getting het up about it.

I don't understand how this is such a wrong perspective to have.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 14:27:42

Op, why can't you just ask the teacher not to use feathers?

Apologies for bolding but lots of people have suggested this but you haven't acknowledged or responded to this point.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 14:28:31

There you go, OP.

Anybody in their right mind wouldn't have the slightest problem with the group being feather free,

BUT YOU HAVE TO ASK!!!!! Just because this is in the forefront of your mind doesn't mean it's in the forefront of everyone else's.

crunchbag Thu 07-Mar-13 14:30:04

Rather than you tracking down fake feathers, speak to the lady first about her not using the feathers at all or do it at the beginning of the lesson.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:31:08

You've changed your tune Dannilon.
You said I should not expect people to accomodate for my childs allergies. In your opinion, why would I ask them if AIBU to?

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 14:31:48

I wouldn't ask the other parents in the class, actually. It's a bit awkward standing up and asking, and it puts the organiser in an odd position - she would probably think, why has OP not asked me?

But I would talk to the teacher/leader about it. However, I don't agree with all the people slamming you for not yet doing that. It is a big learning curve working out how to deal with all these situations, and you are not going to get it right every time. Having everyone criticise you for it is not going to help.

I think it would have been better if you'd asked the organiser not to use feathers. And it would also have been better if she had offered not to use them. Best thing is to try another conversation, or even one over email.

I totally sympathise with the difficulty of trying to balance not putting other people out with allowing your child to have a normal childhood. You will constantly have people thinking that you are too pushy, or too reticent - often both at the same time! Just keep doing your best. Your DC will be learning how to deal with situations naturally by watching you deal with them. There's no magic answer, and people who think there is, don't deal with these situations daily like we do.

<still a bit cross with the canteen worker at the hospital who made a sarky comment about me buying a cooked lunch for myself while giving my DC a packed lunch - well, if the hospital could be bothered to provide gluten-free food for coeliac patients, then I wouldn't have to bring him a packed lunch, would I?! And it was much nicer than the congealed foulness they sold to me. Not that I said that, of course.>

Dannilion Thu 07-Mar-13 14:33:06

I'm not spelling it out anymore OP or answering your ridiculous question. (Here's a hint, DB has a peanut allergy).

I said you shouldn't expect people to accommodate your child's allergies. By that I mean if you want something done, ask/talk/write/whatever. LET THEM KNOW. Don't expect people to automatically think of and do kind things for others.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:33:32

dannilon sorry but you are hugely back tracking and contradicting every single thing you said in your 13.43 post. Since I asked your opinion on 'not accomodating' nuts in pack lunches actually.

Blatherskite Thu 07-Mar-13 14:33:53

You seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill imo.

You've asked if she could let you know when she uses feathers - She said "Yes".

Now you're getting all worked up because she isn't a mind reader and hasn't worked out that you wanted fake feathers/no feather song at all.

Just ask her. If she says "No" then it will be worth getting upset over.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:34:22

Katiemiddleton I have answered that before it was even asked.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 14:36:29

confused I don't think you have?

VenusRising Thu 07-Mar-13 14:36:33

I think what eyeofthestorm said is perfect.

From a family with life threatening allergy, and multiple sudden deaths from asthma, I can safely say they the world does not spin on a dime to suit your allergy, and nor should it.

How you handle your son's allergy will be the most important take home message he has about how to handle his allergies when he's older, and you're not there.

There is a lot of silliness about what should other people do because of your allergy, but life doesn't work that way: it's your allergy, so own it and get on with your life, and I'm saying this as someone who can't shake hands, handle metal or coins, go anywhere near grass, and up to recently had to move if someone had cat hair on their clothes.

Maybe investigate your DS's diet and an allergy clinic? I know it's all a bit woo woo, but I find homeopathy to be fantastic for my allergies and asthma- of course I still carry my blue dilator inhaler...

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:38:01

Im not getting worked up Blathe.

I have a good plan of action now, fake feathers or asking her to use them at the start.

Dannilion I feel you're going to emplode. Fact is, you basically said 'suck it up'.

I thought that allergy experts didn't necessarily favour nut-free schools so I am a bit puzzled by your question to dannilon, how did you expect them to answer?

Just ask for what you need.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:40:06

My son has been referred up to a specialist hospital in London because the situation is so severe. Sorry to hear you suffer too.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 14:40:35

Really, just ask her out right. The worst she can say is no. If she says no then I would think she was bang out of order but you really cannot expect her to know what to offer as well as you do.

It is very likely it either has not occurred to her or she thinks you would prefer what you have suggested because, well, that is what you suggested!

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:41:12

Thats a thread all in itself Chaz. One that was ar

Dannilion Thu 07-Mar-13 14:41:15

Yawn. I'm not playing this game any more OP. I need to go and buy some easter eggs for my lactose intolerant children.

AThingInYourLife Thu 07-Mar-13 14:41:59

I think YANBU

Your son is a regular at this class, which means you are a good customer of hers. So I think she owes you something as small as this.

Your son is a pupil of hers and she has been involved in his development. I think she should do whatever she can to make sure he doesn't miss classes.

Losing one prop amongst many will not ruin the experience for the other children. They'll barely be affected, if at all.

I can quite see what you expected her to say. I think that was a very reasonable expectation, and I can see why you are disappointed that she thinks it is acceptable for a little boy who goes every week to miss class for the sake of some feathers.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:52

around recently actually. Not started by me. It went along the lines of this one.

I really want to point out, that Im honestly listening to all of you. Even if you think I am not. Even those I appear to be engraging. wink

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Thu 07-Mar-13 14:44:24

I'm sorry but what exactly is your gripe about. You asked the lady to let you know about the feathers,she agreed she would. What am I missing?confused

wannaBe Thu 07-Mar-13 14:49:05

"Dannilon out of interest, do you also think schools should allow tree nuts and peanuts in their pack lunches, school dinners and snacks?" the anaphylaxis campaign have actually recommend that nuts and nut products not be banned as this creates a false sense of security in children who then fail to learn to manage their own alergies effectively. Children who simply have the risk factors removed from their environments never actually learn to be aware of them because they never have too and are far more likely to come into contact with the things they are alergic too and suffer as a result.

I think that feathers aren't a necessity and if I were a group leader I would probably be inclined to remove them from the environment. However ultimately it is yours and your child (as he grows up) responsibility to be able to manage his alergies effectively and sometimes that will mean being in an environment where those alergens are likely to be present and having to deal with that.

It is not unreasonable to bring the alergies to the attention of the group leader, but it is unreasonable to expect that she would automatically think not to use the feathers.

There used to be a child in my ds' preschool class who had a nut alergy. His mum was totally on the ball and knew exactly what foods he could and couldn't have and once even attended a party where peanut butter sandwiches were being served. She quickly moved them out of his reach and the mum was horrified when she realised. But there was never any expectation that people motify things for her child - she, and ultimately he, learned to deal with it. When I had a party for ds I deliberately didn't include peanut based things because I didn't want anyone's anaphylaxis on my conscience, but it was never an expectation on her part, in fact she never even made it public knowledge that her ds was so nut alergic unless he went for playdates.

Op - I realise this is hard but unfortunately your ds' alergies are part of life now and this is just the beginning of having to get used to dealing with them in a world where not everyone will be able to accommodate them by removing alergens from the vacinity. As a matter of interest, how do you indeed walk doown the street as there are birds everywhere?

Shelby2010 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:52:05


But does the lady realise the extent of your son's allergies & that this is the only group he can attend? If I were you I would explore the fake feather avenue, but wait until she tells you the next session is a feather one before you say anything else to her. I suspect that she will think twice about doing that song anyway if she needs to phone you before hand.

Also can I recommend Tumble Tots if there is one in your area - my toddler loves it & no food or feathers in sight!

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:54:35

Thanks Wannabe. Much for of that will apply when he is older.

We walk down the street just fine thanks. Luckily it doesnt rain feathers and pigeons arent known to dive bomb toddlers grin

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 14:55:08

Where do you people live who can't walk down the street for feathers? Just out of interest wink

In all my life I have never had a feather touch me on the street. I have been crapped on by a bird a couple of times. I've also seen feathers lying on the ground but never, ever been touched by one.

BaconandEgg Thu 07-Mar-13 15:00:42

This thread is getting too heated. I'm sorry to sound preachy, but the threat combines the best and the worst of Mumsnet. I'd prefer the former without the latter. My take, FWIW, is this. OP is understandably upset that DS misses out on so many things due to his allergies. But she isn't so confident about others being willing to accommodate his needs that she felt able to ask outright that feathers not be permitted henceforth. So she gave the organiser information which some might use as the basis to conclude that further use of feathers was inappropriate. Organiser didn't take the hint (and I'm not judging her one way or the other for that). What is required is sensible suggestions for a way forward. Many of those have been given. Feathers at the outset/fake feathers are both great ideas. Approaching the organiser and/or the other mothers are slightly more problematic, but must be preferable to OP's DS missing out for the sake of a few minutes of "feathery fun". The thread might also have given OP more confidence that others are, by and large, more understanding of her DS's needs than she previously expected, and put her in a position to be slightly more forthright in her requests in the future. All good. The rest is just noise. Anyone who has had to deal with a child with a health issue which limits their experiences comes at this sort of question from a dark and emotionally difficult place. Please let us not make that any worse by getting carried away with negativity.

CatelynStark Thu 07-Mar-13 15:00:53

YANBU I have no idea what feathers have got to do with music anyway. If I were the class leader, I would just automatically not use them if I knew one of the children was allergic. It's a no-brainer to me <shrugs>

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 15:03:22

Many of the mums you all praise for being so good at not letting their DCs allergies bother anyone else are probably quite stressed and hyper alert inside, you know, not super-relaxed and managing to be 'totally on the ball' with averting problems without any trouble. I know, because some people think I am one of those mums, but they don't see what's going on under the surface. OP might well be one too, in this thread you are simply getting to see under the surface. A bit more sympathy wouldn't go amiss.

Higgledyhouse Thu 07-Mar-13 15:11:48

Yanbu simple as that.

You are not asking too much at all, I hope the session leader does the right thing and avoids the feathers when your little fella is taking part. Maybe she will (fingers crossed) x

wannaBe Thu 07-Mar-13 15:16:46

the op implied the child cannot be in the same room as feathers.

there are birds everywhere, and yes, feathers fall on the ground, but surely, if the child cannot be near feathers, then he cannot be near birds either.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 15:38:45

I thought she had to take him out because he'd want to join in and it's not much fun watching others playing? At least that's how I interpreted it, which illustrates the issue quite well; unless the op expressly says what the problem and solution is, it is very hard to know what is an effective course of action and what isn't. The teacher isn't an expert on the op's child's allergy but the op is, which is why telling instead of hinting and hoping is going to be more effective.

Pandemoniaa Thu 07-Mar-13 16:11:12

OP, please stop trying to fight other people on this thread. Instead, take the following action:

1. Ask the teacher if she could avoid using feathers because the use of them means that your ds has to miss the whole session that they will be used in. Point out that he is already very limited to the groups he can attend and her group has been so beneficial so you'd hate to have to reduce his attendance.

2. If the answer is no ask whether fake feathers can be substituted.

3. If the answer is still no, consider asking the other parents in the group whether they'd be prepared to forgo feathers.

I'm willing to bet that you won't ever get to the third option.

ErrorError Thu 07-Mar-13 16:20:19

I lived with a group of friends, including one lad who had a severe peanut allergy, so none of us had peanuts in the house. Pretty simple really, we didn't miss the presence of peanuts at all. So what is special about these feathers? Is it integral to a particular song, and can it be substituted for some other song without feathers? I don't see a problem with removing them and if I was the group leader I would have suggested that first. I can't see why she didn't.

What I think has happened here is that because you broached the subject first and offered to remove DS from the feather sessions, she was probably pleasantly surprised by your reasonableness (i.e. assuming you meant the other kids need not miss out on feather session because of your DS), that this has remained the status quo.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 16:26:06

"Maybe investigate your DS's diet and an allergy clinic? I know it's all a bit woo woo, but I find homeopathy to be fantastic for my allergies and asthma- of course I still carry my blue dilator inhaler..."

Oh,ni wish people wouldn't say things like this. It's the sort of thing that makes life incredibly difficult for the parents of children with allergies and asthma.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 16:32:36


"Mrs Organiser person, I know I said I'd take little X out when you do the feather song, but I've tried and it's not really working.i've made these paper feathers -do you think we could use those instead? Or maybe we could just not do that song- there are so many other lovely ones you do, and little x so loves coming"


D0oinMeCleanin Thu 07-Mar-13 16:44:06

I'm allergic to feathers. I'm allergic to most things I love sad

I'm fine with colored craft feathers because it is actually the dust/coating thingy stuff (it's waxy, despite my allergy I adore picking it off my parent's Macaw) off of natural feathers which most people are allergic to, which is removed during the washing and dying process.

Could you buy a pack and do a small skin test with one, maybe?

EyeoftheStorm Thu 07-Mar-13 16:47:45

I have been thinking a lot about this thread because the advice I gave to the OP is the advice I give to myself. I do know that 'dark and emotional place', BaconandEgg. DS2 doesn't have allergies, but he does have a condition that could be life-threatening if things go wrong.

I think sometimes when you are in that place, you can't see beyond it. The OP was talking about a particular situation and I was trying to say that if you get upset (and understandably) upset every time something like this happens, it will eat away at you.

I have had moments of extreme rage at the unfairness of what happened to DS2 and other people's reactions to it, but these moments got fewer when I stopped expecting people to react a certain way and was responsible only for my own reactions.

Funnily enough I unloaded on a thread on here a few years ago and someone gave me this advice. It helped.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 16:48:15

Thank you BaconandEgg. You have no idea how much I needed to read that, and have things put into perspective.

For those asking, I have to leave the room because he's 21 months. Hes not old enough to understand that he cannot touch the lovely colourful feathers that all the other babies and toddlers are playing with. In theory he wouldnt react if he sat and watched them do it, which would probably be fine if he was 2.5-3 yrs + but hes too little to understand.

He has half a face of hives right now because I just came back from parents evening and he laid down on a pillow in the class room. I dont even think that contained feathers so feck knows what thats a result of!

Im glad I posted, my action plan is to seek out some fake feathers, if thats a failing Im toying between asking her to not use them, to asking her to use them at the start. The problem is with the latter, is that the start can change by a good 10 minutes so we could potentially end up missing a chunk, or (more likely) arriving too early and having to sit outside and wait which is no different from what we have been doing.

Fact is, I have a 'plan' which I didnt before starting this thread.

Thank you for the replies, suggestions and most of all understanding and empathy from those who gave it. Much appreciated.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 16:49:22

Doinmecleanin coloured craft feathers is exactly what she uses.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 16:50:27

Thanks eyeofthestorm.

EyeoftheStorm Thu 07-Mar-13 16:53:13

Hence the name, you see, a calm still place when the world is going mad around my little boy wink

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 16:58:37

I have taken on board what you said. I am calm most of the time but the unfairness of it all does overtake but onky occasionally. It comes when Im writing about it, or having to explain it all. It makes me realise how serious, indepth and all encombassing the situation is and it makes me think "I fucking hate allergies."

But day to day its just normal, part of life, being angry or resentful doesnt feature.

It does rear its ugly head though. Not too often and less than this time last year.

KindleMum Thu 07-Mar-13 17:07:51

Another thought if you can't get feathers - I attend a probably similar music group and our group uses bits of tissue paper for some songs, would that work? We have huge amounts of tissue paper on the parachute and so on.

WellSlapMyThighAndCallMeNancy Thu 07-Mar-13 17:12:02

Possible Kindlemum, its one to keep in mind thanks!

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 17:13:23

Oh, for goodness sake, OP, just ask her not to use them.

wannaBe Thu 07-Mar-13 17:14:55

ok, so he's only alergic to the feathers if he touches them? well can you then not just make him a replica out of paper or something? something which will look the same as the feathers but won't provoke the alergic reaction? that way it doesn't become a big deal about feathers - if he's too young to understand he can't touch the feathers then he's too young to realise that his feather isn't a feather at all....?

I've had a search for you online. "Fake feathers" turns up nothing; likewise "vegan feathers" (they're aparently used in vegan jewellry where you can't use bird feathers).

A search for "artifical feathers" on eBay found a few pages, mainly fake feather birds, or things that could be either grasses / feathers so not suitable for what you want at all. This seems to be the best option on eBay - maybe you could e-mail them to ask if you could get a larger scale order?

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 17:30:15

Ask the organiser to please not use feathers.

I am going to keep posting this til everyone stops being bonkers and accepts that it's the only sensible course.

lougle Thu 07-Mar-13 17:40:53

Coming to this late. OP, imagine this was about a different Special Need.

DD1 has a brain condition. We didn't know that when she was younger. However, when she started preschool I said 'oooh you leave that door open and it goes straight out onto a ramp - she could go over that!' The preschool worker said 'we do know how to look after the children!'. That afternoon, she said 'I see what you mean!'

From that moment on, the door was shut. If it wasn't shut, someone stood by it to guard it. Within weeks, DD1 had 1:1 support because anything else was too risky.

Now, if it had been something which was fundamental to the group, I'd say 'you have to deal with this and accept your DS can't go.' Something like....if DD1 had been absolutely unable to cope with group activities, then a group activity such as preschool is not really modifiable.

A feather? Come on.

YABU for expecting the group leader to take the initiative, especially if you've indicated that you are 'happy' to miss it.

YWNBU to ask her to remove a known (optional) allergen from the group.

MrsLouisTheroux Thu 07-Mar-13 17:45:54

YABU. You should continue to take him out when the feathers appear. If he gets upset, distract him.

BaconandEgg Thu 07-Mar-13 17:56:10

Sorry to hear about your DS EyeoftheStorm. I'm in that place (hence the sensitivity). It's still relatively new to me, and I hate it. And I'm still rocked by the realisation that the world is harder and meaner than I knew. One of the few things that makes a real difference is the kindness and understanding of others.

teacherandguideleader Thu 07-Mar-13 18:31:58

I haven't read the whole thread so apologies if someone else has said this.

I run a group for children, several of whom have allergies. It is very difficult to stop doing things that are associated with allergies as you end up not being able to do anything.

Whilst I will not stop doing activities (as I don't think it is fair that those who can take part can't have a go) I think it is important to explore all ways that an activity can be adapted so that they can all take part.

I would really appreciate a parent offering me a solution to their child's allergy (that wasn't to stop doing the activity) - it makes my life a lot easier when trying to adapt what we are doing.

Inevitably there are a couple of things that can never be changed without stopping the activity but I keep these to an absolute minimum, or at least ensure that there is an even balance so it is not one child always missing out.

crunchbag Thu 07-Mar-13 18:46:44

I am with seeker

Ask the organiser to please not use feathers!

sensesworkingovertime Thu 07-Mar-13 19:59:01

YANBU. I don't see why the feathers are essential in a music classs, surely she could find something else?

If it were a cookery class and you were complaining about her using milk or flour or whatever that would be a bit different but feathers? Music?

Bottom line is live and let live but consider others whilst your living in my book.

sensesworkingovertime Thu 07-Mar-13 20:01:20

I take your point too teacherandguide, everything has to be weighed up as to how it effects everyone and to try and find solutions.

eragon Thu 07-Mar-13 20:09:58

wonder if this thread could move to allergy section? as parents there have quite a lot of experience in this sort of thing!

p.s ask her to remove the feathers. and consider dustmite allergy and other environmental allergies, as my son has them all and regular hive ups etc, on these types of occasions was his norm for years!

MammaMedusa Thu 07-Mar-13 20:24:01

I ran a group like this and I think you need to discuss it with the organiser.

We had a way of doing Old McDonald one way which was upsetting one child. If it had been many of the other songs, we could have just dropped it, but Old McDonald - oh boy, it was the weekly staple and we would have had toddler uproar if we didn't do it! We found a way to eliminate the problem though by chatting it through.

I think, unfortunately, you have been less than clear about your wishes and muddied the waters somewhat. But there is no harm having another conversation.

Would scarves like these prove a good alternative for how she is using the feathers?

We used them in lots of our songs and they were lovely. I personally wouldn't have used feathers with toddlers due to the pointy ends - though that may make me paranoid!

tempnameswap Thu 07-Mar-13 21:17:15

YANBU but you probably need to accept that most people haven't a clue how hard it is to manage multiple allergies. I am often disappointed at how unwilling even family members are to adapt to my dd's allergies. We don't have nuts or dairy or sesame in our house ever and just live with it. Is it too much to ask not to put out a bowl of cashew nuts when she is around??

The music teacher probably doesn't realise how wonderful it is when you find a safe haven for an allergic toddler. Maybe she thinks you have a whole series of classes he safely enjoys. Over the years I have stopped expecting people to understand and spelled it out a bit more - pleasantly.

And btw OP the toddler years are really stressful when you are dealing with allergies - IMO it gets loads easier as they get older. Good luck!

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 23:11:43

yes, ask her not to use the feathers. she doesn't need to. it is not an unreasonable request at all.

Disappearing Thu 07-Mar-13 23:18:16

Could you buy and gift her some fake feathers, or equivalent, craft feathers or something, for her to use, that your son could tolerate? It might cost you 20 quid or so.

ENormaSnob Thu 07-Mar-13 23:46:48

If you don't want to ask about not using feathers or using fake ones could you not just remove him for a few minutes and distract him?

At least he doesn't have to miss the whole session, only a few minutes.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now