Saturday, January 30, 2010


My severely allergic 1st grader has just been invited to sell magazines and - you guessed it - NUTS for an upcoming Daisy Scouts' fundraiser. My first reaction while reading the permission slip sent home involved heart palpitations, sweaty palms and an internal dialogue that went something like this: "Why not just have her sell rat poison? Or maybe a nice set of steak knives? How about some guns and amo?"

Then a few days passed, and I asked myself why I didn't have this sort of reaction when she sold Girl Scout cookies just a few months before. In that situation more than half the choices contained peanuts or traces of them, and yet, she took and distributed those orders just fine. We discussed proper handling of the boxes well in advance of their arrival and she was very clear about which cookies were safe for her to eat and which were not. She did a great job.

So why am I freaking out now? I've read articles about some children who actually have full blown anxiety attacks at mere sight of the word "peanut" or whatever it is they're allergic to. Is this what's happening to me? When parents are told by a physician "your child could die if they eat {fill in food allergen here}, it's hard not to be a tad bit overprotective. But is putting the FEAR OF GOD in her at any mention of the word inflicting yet another type of condition that will require years and years of therapy and psychiatric counseling?

If I'm really honest with myself, my rational side tells me my previous poison/weapon analogy to nuts isn't altogether fair. Yes, nuts are just as life-threatening for her, but so is riding in a car without a seat belt. It's my job as her mother to teach her to live with caution, not live with fear. Ten years from now, that will include speeches about texting while driving and underage drinking and other risky behaviors that, like it or not, exist in the real world.

And let's face it, nuts exist here too. Some days it seems as though they're EVERYWHERE. And they are no doubt here to stay. So while my emotional side would love to boycott this sale out of principle, and call up the head of the Daisy Scout Council to explain why this is not the best product to be selling ... I have a feeling I'm going to let my rational side win out this time. Providing my precious girl with the best tools I can for navigating the situation, can only inspire empowerment and prepare her for the many challenges yet to come.

Am I nuts to let her sell nuts? A big part of me says yes. The other part says yes ... but wish me luck anyway.


  1. Wow, I never would have imagined that would be something children would sell in school. I get nervous just walking past cans of peanuts at the grocery store with my daughter in the cart. It is crazy how we have the fear of God put into us over these little things.

    You are very strong, and yes, I think wise, to let your daughter learn how to navigate the situation. The one thing I didn't see you mention was giving her a choice... I think I would probably offer it up to the child to see what they think first. If she's freaked out, I wouldn't push the issue. Thanks for sharing this experience!

  2. You are right on sister about giving choices! At first, I think the lure of a shiny new patch and a funky new art set for Daisy Scouts' top sellers made her initial choice one in which she wanted to fully participate. (Hence, my heart palpitations.) Since that time, she thankfully has decided to take a pass and I fully support her decision. No nuts for sale in this household after all. (Whew.)

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