Petunia had a playdate today. I love absolutely everything about the little girl who came over except (and this is a BIG except) the fact that she is deathly allergic to peanuts. Considering that peanut butter is a food group as far as my kids are concerned, I live in fear that she will accidentally ingest something containing traces of peanuts (off a utensil or glass or dish that wasn't washed properly? After touching an imperceptible trace of peanut butter left on the table?) while at my house and end up in the hospital. I actually chased her mother's car down the driveway today after she was dropped off because I realized that she'd forgotten to leave me an Epi-pen.
This girl happens to have a cousin who is allergic to not only peanuts, but essentially everything else in the universe other than air. (Yes, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.) Because the universe lives to spite me, the boy in question is a classmate and good friend of Thing One's. (Small town small town small town.) There are so few foods this child can eat that he comes over with a bag of his own food provided by his mother, and I watch the kid like a hawk to make sure that he only eats things from his bag. His mother leaves me Epi-pens, too. I do know how to use them, and it's a useful life skill, but being the only thing standing between a kid and death is a little intimidating, especially when it isn't even your own kid!
I have no idea how teachers and school nurses deal with the allergy thing. Even excluding Thing One's friend, his classmates include kids who are allergic to wheat, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, and bananas (of all things), and that's just a quick list off the top of my head. For one class section in his grade, there is literally nothing that the parents can send in for birthday treats other than Popsicles, since somebody in the class is allergic to at least one ingredient of every other common treat. It's completely insane.
I don't remember this EVER being an issue with my classmates or friends when I was a kid, in any country we ever lived in (I also don't remember the high prevalence of kids with learning difficulties or other disorders of some kind, but that's a subject for another post.) Am I just looking back through rose-colored glasses or is this legitimately a new thing??