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Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008
Birthday Party - *Warning-Major Rant*
I know I've been a bit MIA this week - and I even have an award to post about. But getting back into the school routine has been a bit tough (the girls like to sleep in & school is making Kayla exhausted), so I'm a bit behind on EVERYTHING!!!

But...today, I had a birthday party. It was the 1st birthday of a very close friend. We've been best friends since college and she means the world to me. She's one of the few who stuck by me through my Infertility depression.

As I do with all parties, her and I spoke ahead of time on a couple of occasions and she told me her whole menu so I knew what to expect. Overall there wasn't much risk there - cheese on the hamburgers and a taco dip with cheese (which most kids won't touch anyway). Everything else was very low risk, if there was any dairy in it, that is of course excluding the cake. She had also e-mailed her other friends ahead of time to let them all know up front of Kayla's allergy. But despite this, I was feeling physically sick over going to the party. I guess I was having some Mother's Intuition and some foreshadowing over what was going to happen.

Things were going smoothly - the girls, although cranky from no nap or rest, were having a blast in the moon bounce. But then the food started coming out. I spoke to a couple of Moms who were more than willing to wipe their kids hands down after eating (and I didn't even have to remind them). My Mom (who came to help manage the food situation) also spoke to a couple of parents. At one point she got into a conversation with one of the fathers (who is very nice) about Kayla. She told him about her and one of the other fathers there, whose name is Glenn asked what her reaction was and showed surprise that she was contact-reactive. I will also note that Glenn is a firefighter - which means he is trained in emergency medicine and is no stranger to an emergency medical situation (which also usually includes training on epi pens). About 20 minutes later, Glenn had gotten his daughter, also named Kayla (a 4 year old who is a very rude child I might add), some food. Part of it being a cheese burger. So I nicely said, "Glenn, if you wouldn't mind, when Kayla is done eating, could you wipe Kayla's hands with a wipe? I have some here that I brought." He, without even looking up at me said, "What for?" Let me stress the absolute nastiness in his tone of voice. I simply and nicely explained why - Kayla has a dairy allergy and she is contact-reactive, blah...blah...blah... Well, he completely IGNORED me. It actually took me some time for it to sink in that he was doing just that. I kept asking him if he heard me. It sunk in when he proceeded to talk to his daughter (who doesn't fall far from her Daddy's tree). I was floored. I turned to my Mom and said, "We have to leave. It's not safe for Kayla here". I looked around and found my girlfriend and asked her to come over. She did and I told her I needed to talk to her in private. I explained what happened and told her I couldn't stay and put Kayla at risk. She understood and agreed that Kayla's safety came first, and she was totally apologetic. I told her she had nothing to apologize for, I appreciated all she did and that I was in no way expecting her to get involved. She was close to tears as I was leaving and I was shaking with rage as I had to practically drag an hysterical Kayla to the car. We had to quickly drive away as both my Mom and me were very close to going back and telling him off. But...I didn't want to make the birthday party any worse for my girlfriend.

Is wiping your child's hands really such a big deal that you must make an issue over it? It's not like I was asking him to not feed her, or change what she was eating or have her move and eat somewhere else. Last I checked, clean hands was not on the list of things that constituted child abuse!

I'm no longer shaking, but the rage is still there, as well as the despair. I can never take Kayla to another party at their house as long as they are there. How is it fair that my daughter get left out because of an Ignorant ***???

I'll say I pity those people whose lives are held in his hands on the fire calls he answers.

posted at 3:51 PM  

At 7:12 PM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

Oh Sue, I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry that Kayla was so upset about leaving and I'm sorry that the man was an ignorant A$$. And I'm to trust that he'd drag my unconscious body out of a fire? Great.
He behaved like a donkey and I'm sorry that his daughter has to grow up with him and will probably turn out the same. But enough about them.
At least Kayla was safe and has you to thank for it. I know it isn't easy and I know it's frustrating and I'm sorry you have to be one that has to field all the cr@p. But at least your baby is fine and I'm sending you 1000 HUGS and bad, evil thoughts going Glenn's way.

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

I was with Sue at the party & Sue was "grace under pressure". She handled herself beautifully. Her only concern was Kayla's safety. I couldn't believe the absolute callousness and cruelty of Glenn. In a previous conversation with him that day, I answered questions he had about Kayla's allergy. He indicated surprise when I said she was contact reactive. He certainly couldn't claim ignorance since I was very specific. I have never in my life encountered someone as uncaring and uncompassionate as him. My heart broke for Kayla as we left the party.

Sue's very proud mother

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Mike Zemack said...

It takes a person of self-respect and self-esteem to be respectful and considerate of others. This Glenn is obviously lacking in both. One “quality” he obviously does have though…self-loathing. How anyone can take personal offense at or be so disdainful of another human being protecting her own values…and the most important one at that, her child…is utterly evil. This is an example of a very small mind in action. I can only echo the above comments by chupieandj’smama (an ignorant a$$) and Kathy, my wife (Sue was "grace under pressure".). This is about as restrained as I’m capable of in this instance. Any further comments here by me would be unprintable.

Sue’s very proud DAD

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Sue, I could cry just thinking aobut Kayla having to be torn away from the party, where she was having fun.
I'm just SO sorry that our girls have to sacrifice so much because of the ignorance or lack of caring of others.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger gg said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Sue said...

It amazes me how people think it's OK to come to someone's space to
attack them (especially with them hiding behind anonymity). Yes, my blog is public and it is on the internet. I fully understand anyone can read it. But, I do not write any personal information and I do not write anything I am ashamed of. This blog is my space on the World Wide Web to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with friends and family. I have decided to use this as a chance to respond to some of the more ignorant aspects of the comments I received. It is actually a perfect opportunity to share the truth about food allergies. I am not responding to all of the things said to me because, to be quite honest, most of what was said was outright lies or just plain nasty and I won't dignify it with a response, nor will I stoop to their level.

Those that know me know that I do not attack children. Any comment on a child's behavior comes from observation. I have never, nor would I ever, put a child in harm's way nor try to hurt them emotionally or physically (Glenn did the former and tried to do the latter). Alysa was in tears at one point because of what was said to her by the other little girl and that is all I have to say about that.

For those that read Kelly's comment, (Kayla R's godmother) you should know that she does not know me or my children. She was not at the birthday party and knows nothing about food allergies. This is glaringly obvious in her comment of "...you are now in the process of teaching your daughter that if she does not get her way, or people do not do what she wants them to do, to pack up her toys and go home" - this just highlights her ignorance of food allergies. Putting a child in the direct path of a food they are allergic to is putting their health and possibly their life in danger.

As for Glenn - I deleted his comment immediately. This blog is a happy blog, one about my life with my family. There is no room for childish insults against me, my parents and my children. His insults just proved my point as to what values and behavior he is teaching his children.

But, since he decided that his emergency medical training gave him the ability and expertise to not only treat an emergency but diagnose the level and risk of a reaction, I will dispel those myths for both him and Kelly since she is so concerned over the kind of person and mother I am.

I am a mother who fights every day to keep her daughter safe, as well as give her as close to a normal life as possible. She is 4 years old with a very severe and potentially life-threatening food allergy. She is anaphylactic to dairy products and reacts on skin contact. Every day when we leave our house we take the a risk that she could come into contact with dairy and have a reaction and possibly end up in the hospital...or worse. I would not be a mother doing all I could to keep her safe if I let her knowingly come into contact with a child that had been touching cheese and had not washed her hands.

Before someone can presume to get into a discussion about food allergies, they must first learn something about them. I live it every day. They can not fathom what it takes to keep my daughter safe. Glenn is the first person I have encountered in the 3+ years since Kayla was diagnosed who completely disregarded her safety. Until Saturday, I have received nothing but understanding and compassion and have been lucky to have both friends, family and strangers work to help my husband and I keep Kayla safe.

Food allergies are not like other allergies (i.e. environmental). The
level and type of reaction one day does not give any indication as to
what the reaction would be the next day. Reactions are very
unpredictable - a seemingly "benign" reaction of hives today could be
anaphylactic shock tomorrow. And sometimes the only way to protect
Kayla (or any child in her situation) is to remove her from the known danger. If I had stayed and let her play with his daughter, it would have been the same as playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.
She would have definitely had a reaction.

We are teaching Kayla how to advocate for herself. She is 4 - she can't take care of herself yet... But...she knows of her allergy. She knows she can't eat anything unless her Daddy and I approve it. She knows those in her life who can and do keep her safe. She knows how to administer an epi pen and knows that it is something that can "make her feel better" if she ever comes into contact with dairy. The more you are exposed, the worse the reaction will be and her only hope in outgrowing her allergy is to avoid ALL contact with dairy. Sometimes, in our situation, the best way to protect her is to remove her from the
danger. We are not talking about being around someone you do not like or being hurt by a bully. We are talking about something that can potentially kill her! This is not about "getting her way", it is about protecting her health and life!

Glenn says he believes that all Kayla suffers from is a "minor reaction to dairy with a rash on her skin". First this is completely false. She is anaphylactic to dairy and her reaction history is hives and vomiting and she also has a biphasic reaction (someone trained in emergency medicine would know what this is). It is also completely untrue that she has "tested negative many times for this reaction". Quite the
opposite, she has had 3 skin tests in the past year and all 3 were very strongly positive. It's a shame that people think they can come online and speak lies that they can not back up. I can back up my daughter's allergy and reaction. I've done the research and know what I am talking
about. These people that made comments do not. And, even if it were true, (which it is not) that Kayla would have had a minor "rash on her skin", that would still have caused her pain and discomfort. What kind of person would think it is OK to let a child suffer on any level? Especially when it only takes something as simple as just wiping your child's hands down.

They have never had to live the life of knowing that their child is at risk every time they leave their house. They do not have to carry two needles with them everywhere with the hope that they will never have to use it to save their child's life. Every food allergy is potentially life threatening and must be treated as such.

He may be a trained fire fighter, but it is not up to him (nor does he have the knowledge or experience) to determine who is at risk for the most severe reaction and who is not. It is his job to protect. He refused to protect my child. And if I had simply wanted to "bring attention to myself" I would have caused a scene instead of pulling Angel aside and leaving quietly.

Now that I have responded to the harshness that has been slung at me on my blog, I am putting this to rest. Kayla is safe, thanks to my actions, and she is oblivious to the fall-out from the actions of one person. I will no longer be dignifying any further insults with a response as those people are not welcome here. I have blocked anonymous comments and, for now, have enabled comment moderation. I will not allow any further negative comments. I will continue to follow my doctor's orders and my intuition to keep Kayla (and Alysa) safe.

I have much to blog about and none of it is negative. Thank you to
those who support and love Kayla. All you do is much appreciated!

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Blessed said...

Sue - when you mentioned on my blog that you had been going through an issue with this my immediate reaction was "oh no!" Now I'm just sad - these individuals surely could have used some lessons in civility...

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

oh my goodness! I can't belive the audacity of that father - especially to blatantly ignore you like that! I'm sorry you had to experience such rudeness and that it caused such a negative feeling on the party :(

I just read your comment! I had no idea Kelly or Glenn even commented here - how did they even find your blog?! I can't belive Kelly said you were teaching Kayla "if she doesn't get her way to pick up her things and leave" What?! This is not about "getting her way" it's about keeping her safe as you've tried many times to explain, I can't believe they were finding it that hard to understand the seriousness of his actions, or nonactions as it appeared to be. It was such a simple request to wash his daughter's hand, noting that should have put him out. And he presumes to know all about Kayla's allergies and her reactions? I'm sorry they felt compelled to come here and attack you on your blog.

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow considering the amount of comments deleted I can tell these individuals aren't the greatest of people.

Anywho regardless of food allergies I have asked other parents to wash their childrens hands at parties, and they always gawk at me as though I asked them to posion their child. Those who know me tease when I ask but the others apparently do not teach good hygine at home.


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