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What do you do about birthday parties?(11 Posts)
DD2 (just turned 3, allergic to dairy and egg) just got her first birthday party invitation.
It's at a soft play nearby. DD1 had her 5th birthday party there and we've been a good few times. So I'm not completely unfamiliar with the place. But we rarely have any of the food there.
Obviously it won't be a drop-and-go party so I'll be able to supervise. But:
- do I ring the mum and let her know? (I'm thinking yes?)
- offer to bring food and cake for DD2? I can see the cake part causing a massive meltdown
- ring the venue and ask can I come in and talk about what they will serve?
- just not let her go?
I hadn't really expected to have to deal with this for another year or so
The first two of your list of 4 suggestions sound like the way forward to me. It's what many Mums I've known have done if their children have allergies. It takes the worry out of the situation for the parent(s) hosting the party too ie you alert them to the issue, but solve it by saying you'll bring the food your dd needs.
Most children with allergies that I know tell the birthday mum (partly so she doesn't cater obviously inappropriate foods, but also giving her the opportunity to offer a allergen free meal). But offer to bring their own food for the snack/cake - and hopefully you can source similar party foods to what the other children are having.
Depending on the severity of the reaction to allergens, you may not be comfortable with the mother catering anyway... she may not be aware of some foods having allergens if it isn't obvious. It seems fairly standard that allergic children bring their own food... unfortunately it is something they have to deal with.
I always reply to invites and say "as DS has multiple food allergies is it ok if I bring his own food?"
Everyone has always been ok with this and always say no problem at all.
Most also check if what they are planning to put in the party bag is ok for him and some people have even asked what he can have and bought it especially for him.
I always take "treats" with me to swap for sweets etc he can't have.
DS isn't too bothered about cake so it has never been a problem and if people ask I ask for him not to have any or ask the people running the party - if cake is in the party bag I just take it out. When he was younger I would bake some cakes and take them so he had the same but now he is older (6) I just pack his favourite foods and he is more than happy.
DS also knows to let me check his party bag before he eats anything.
I always stay with him at parties and they have all gone without any problems.
I contact the mum and ask what is to be served, often it is fine, or adaptable. I always take an egg free cake alternative and stay at parties as well and check exactly what is on his plate.
Hummus is a big concern for me as he is anaphylactic to it, and i have seen it served at several parties and in some cases we have left early due to hummus (going everywhere) on kids hands or a nut encrusted cake being served out.
I always take food for ds including cake. I think it is the easiest way and means you don't have to worry about it.
in my experience these soft play party venues tend to know very little about food allergies and intolerances, let alone cater for them, and your safest bet is to inform the party mum and take your own food, as we always did. If you can know in advance what the other children will be having and try to match it as close as poss, I'm sure your DC would appreciate it.
party bag treats and prizes for games may also need to be substituted so have a few safe sweets to hand!
I generally contact the host & say about my kid/kids and then say I'll provide them with some food anyway (even if I know the party venue can cope, it's sometimes just easier to take your own).
My kids get a take away tub to go to a party with!
I squash silicone cupcake cases in it to make little compartments for all their foods. They think it's great! (It's the only time they have it, picnics are served differently, so these are special party boxes!) it's mainly salady things (toms, Cu, olives, pepper, sugar-snap peas), fruit (grapes, orange segments), breadsticks/pretzels, mini pepperami type thing or cocktail sausages (m&s ones are now gf to!!) & a cube of "allergy cheese". Maybe a wrap with ham or jam, but they get messy, crisps (hoola hoops) as a treat are my preference!
My bag always has an innocent smoothie pouch, mini bags of haribo or mini chuppa lollies to swap out during games or add/change a party bag. I found individually wrapped marshmallow sticks in home bargains the other week, 9p each, so they are now part of the "party kit" too. I normally have mini muffins of some flavour in the freezer, so will take those out & along incase they eat cake while they're there, otherwise they get it as a pudding that evening for 'being good & behaving' at the party!! As long as it's something a bit special they don't normally get as a treat, they think that's what "party food" is :-)
Even when they're 4/5 & realise that they eat very differently at a party to pretty much every other kid, because they are used to having the 'special box' they know it's special to & just for them.
Get them used to not helping themselves from the table (start this at play/toddler groups that serve snack - you always take it to them, not them help themselves off a table), only eat what you provide, make them check with you(or other trusted adult) that they can eat what is in front of them & to politely say to someone that hands things round "sorry I have allergies, I can't have that".
It's ultimately for their own safety that they need to learn the words to say. Even if you stay (& I always have so far), you'll be catching up with friends yourself, if you've got two kids to watch, it'll be standard birthday-party chaos, you won't be able to keep eyes & concentration on your child 110% of the time, so they need to learn to be a little bit independent as soon as they can really start talking. My 3.5yr old is now having to be independent for himself, as his big bro (now in P1) is not there to say it for him! And he's figured it quite quickly & says to people he cant have wheat or 'cow milk' & always comes to me for food, never takes off a table.
It becomes part of your way of life and you get used to it, just keep smiling sweetly and never pity them, it'll get you know where. They don't know any different, they don't normally know what they are missing, they don't get why 'its a shame' all the time, so just stop saying it & stop others from saying it too.
Chin up, it gets easier!
Take your own food. Most people who are not used to dealing with allergies have no idea how careful they have to be nor about 'hidden' ingredients. I have had incidents where another parent has fed my child and there have been problems even after explaining to the other parent and them saying they were Ok about it all.
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