Dear Classroom Treats,
You can make the life of a peanut allergy child's parent so full of worry. People who don't know much about food allergies do not know that certain foods are poisonous to allergy sufferers. It's not an allergy like sneezing and itchy eyes. If they ingest the allergen, they can suffer from severe systemic reactions that can cause one to stop breathing.
I didn't know much about peanut allergy until we found out about Dear Son's. We didn't know how severe it could be until we landed in the ER after he had accidentally ingested a cookie that had peanut butter in it. He had vomited right away, but apparently he hadn't ejected all of it, so it went through his GI tract, and more hives, vomiting, and wheezing began, three whole hours later. At which time I knew we had to go to the ER, which was only five minutes away. The doctor later told me that I should have already given him the Epi-Pen--another fact that I learned and just have to live with now: just give him the shot if he ingests any peanut products. It could be a life saver.
DS is now old enough to know about his peanut allergy, but one can never be too careful. Anytime his kindergarten class has a birthday treat, he doesn't get to have one--just in case. He gets to have a pack of fruit snacks instead. I had sent in a bag of five at the beginning of the year, and he just told me today that I need to send in more.
DS: Can you send more fruit snacks to my teacher because there's no more?
Me: Sure. Did you have the last one today?
DS: Yes. There was a birthday treat today.
Me (out of curiosity): What was the birthday treat?
DS: A cupcake.
Me: What kind of cupcake?
DS: I don't know. I didn't get one.
Me (feeling a little bit sorry for him): Oh. Did you want to have one or were you okay with eating your fruit snacks?
DS (with a resigned smile): I wanted a cupcake.
Me: <Cue motherly heartache> Well, how about if I make you cupcakes to eat?
DS (beaming): OKAY!
So, instead of my regularly scheduled kitchen cleaning, I made cupcakes this afternoon. (No one even had to bend my arm to do so; after all, it makes so much more sense to bake, then clean, no?)
DS is a vanilla kind of guy, so I searched for a recipe with sour cream in it, since I know that kind of cake batter bakes to be fluffy, light, yet flavorful cakes (I've previously tried a chocolate version that was heavenly). I found a sour cream pound cake recipe that I can use to bake cupcakes instead. I was ready to go.
I creamed the sugar and butter. I got out the eggs and vanilla extract. I measured the flour and baking soda. Then I sifted the flour. And whaddaya know. This is what I saw when I sifted half the flour, I kid you not:
Do you see it? It brought a smile to my face! I knew I was doing this for a reason! A mother's love for her poor son who couldn't have a cupcake at school because of his peanut allergy. Well, I was going to make the bestest cupcakes for my DS, with no trace of peanut products, freshly baked out of the oven. I was going to knock his socks off with these cupcakes and he would be glad that he didn't have any at school so I would make these for him.
But, of course, Murphy's Law "takes the cake." I realized it as soon as I set the cupcakes into the oven.
I had forgotten to add the vanilla. Fother muckers.
How quickly I am humbled by my own self-righteousness gone-awry. Blame it on age? Or hastiness to feed my poor child
In the end, the cupcakes were not entirely inedible. In fact, they were pretty okay, although I'll probably end up eating most of it because there's just something missing... But better I forgot the vanilla than, say, sugar, right? (Oh, yeah--I did that once, too.)
So, Dear Classroom Treats, you are the reason why I volunteer at every school party--to make sure that the foods DS is served has no chance of containing any peanut products. Or else, he can only have his "standby" snack. I could send in something else, but it's still just not quite the same. And to our school and teachers' credit, everyone there is extremely careful with food allergies, so I am very grateful for that. But a mom just tries to do what she can at home to "makeup" for this unforgiving allergy.
After all, it is what mothers do. (A little bit of forgetfulness can be overlooked by a lot of love, right?)