Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Classroom Treats

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.

Seriously?  Seriously.

How quickly I am humbled by my own self-righteousness gone-awry.  Blame it on age?  Or hastiness to feed my poor child who has already forgotten all about the cupcakes by now who felt left out from a classmate's birthday celebration because of his friggin' peanut allergy?

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?)



  1. The main ingredient of that batter was love - and the flour obviously knew it.

    Love the pic, love the post, love the love that shines through everything you do for your family.

    1. Awww, Cindy, thank you so much! Haha, I *thought* the flour knew it was love! Could you see me? Cursing at myself *after* I just put the cupcakes into the oven? So I didn't tell the kiddos that I forgot the vanilla. DD liked it just fine, but DS could tell something was not quite right. He just couldn't put his finger on it. That's my son!

      You know I only did what every mother would do for her children. Maybe in different ways, but the love we have for our kids is bottomless. We'd reach bottom if we could--and eat all the defective cupcakes we made along the way. XOXO

  2. I get it. We've got the dairy allergy. And FYI, we've sent in a container of cupcakes for her that they keep in the freezer in the teacher's lounge and they pull one out whenever there's a treat in the classroom. We are actually down to our last one, so next time there's a birthday, I need to send in a new container. But they are awesome about it. Just sayin'

    1. Yes, they really ARE awesome about it. I am very thankful. DS loves his fruit snacks, so I really thought that he'd be okay with it. And I know it would be, except that time after time if he keeps getting something different, he's gonna starting feeling that difference. Which is what I suspected and why I asked him. Well, I'll look into the frozen cupcake treats after the holidays. Thanks for the tip, Michelle!

  3. And I thought you carved that heart out! Wow! That's awesome it formed itself :). Aw, my heart woulda broke if my son told me he'd much rather have had the cupcake too! Aw, how wonderful of you to immediately whip up some for him! Sorry you forgot the vanilla. Happens to the best of us! I'm sure he was grateful! And LOL, he prolly forgot about them before they were done. Kids do that huh? It's wonderful how things just slip off their backs! Happy baking! It is better than cleaning, except you then have to clean-up after baking ;)

    1. Hi, Lisa! Yep, I blinked several times just time make sure I wasn't seeing things. I was taking photos because I was going share the cupcake recipe. But I made the silly mistake, so I thought I'd write about the mistake instead. So good thing I had my camera handy!

      Baking is so messy that there was no reason to clean and bake the next day. So it was that day or never. :) Like I said, I've actually forgotten to add sugar before, and that you really cannot eat. I'm getting old... Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I agree with Cindy! Main ingredient was love :) (by the way, I would blame the lack of Vanilla on NaBloPoMo). I love this post! I luckily don't have any food allergies, so it's something I rarely even question when eating, but I never really thought about the treats that are brought to classrooms during a school year. All of the holidays (Valentine's Day, Christmas, Halloween, St. Patricks Day), they usually all come with some type of least they used to.
    Good for you for making DS feel special and oh so loved by mommy. *heart*

    1. You got it, Cassie! I absolutely blame it on #NaBloPoMo. I have lost so much sleep and rest over it. I usually always check my ingredient list twice to make sure, and I really have just lost it this month. We also had a super busy week with violin concert rehearsals and lessons. Yah, excuses, excuses... :)

      And you're right about the classroom parties--they are still the same. I volunteered to help with all of them--Halloween, Thanksgiving Feast, Holiday, Valentine's Day, and End-of-School Year. The kids get fed really well, I must admit. :)

      Thanks for all the love! So glad you liked this post!

  5. The heart in the flour is so cool. It's so funny when things like that happen (and it almost makes up for making a forgetting vanilla :))

    Thankfully my kids don't have allergies so this is one worry I'm spared. We can send in treats for birthdays, but they have to be store bought and unopened.

    I think it was so sweet that you made the cupcakes and tried to make it all better for him. I hope he enjoyed them!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Janna. Sorry I'm so late to responding. This holiday season to-do list is just never-ending! And for the record, DS one exactly one cupcake. I gave away many, and I'm stuck with the rest of my defective cupcakes. :(

  6. I bet the cupcakes are fine with your son. You think that it is no good because you know that you forgot to put an ingredient. :-) Many times, I flubbed a recipe for one reason or the other and I would throw a major fit - oops, I am supposed to be an adult. ;-) Even when my family says that my recipe tasted just fine, I would not believe them. Anyway, one time, I baked some crinkles but used butter instead of vegetable oil. The result - the crinkle did not look like crinkles. I wanted to throw the cookies but my children, for whom I made them, said "they liked it". So we kept it and gave it a name: Grumpy Mommy. :-)

    1. Hahahaha! I like the name of your crinkles! Your kids are funny! I can relate. I'm the one that gets mad when I make a mistake, whilst the mistake is undetectable by the rest of the family. Sometimes I'm just not sure if they are telling me the truth or just being nice. I know--we moms are sometimes a little hard to please? :) Thank you, Imelda!