Dear parents of peanut butter-loving kids,
Mmmmm, I love peanut butter too. My favorite breakfast is peanut butter on toast. I like to cut a banana up and mush it into the oozing, warm deliciousness. I might even mash some pecans on top of the banana so that when I bite into it it’s a triple layer of melty, crunchy orgasmic yum.
You know what I mean—it’s revolutionary. I like to call this little mouth-bomb a double death threat because I have a kid who is anaphylactic to most all nuts and peanuts. That little bit of heaven I just described would put her in a grave. A teeny, tiny grave.
My girl was diagnosed with anaphylaxis when she was 12 months old. We found out two years later that this was a very serious issue when an accidental bite of a cashew granola bar turned her purple for lack of oxygen. She was 4 years old, and I almost lost her.
The incident happened at her school, and up to that point, the school’s nut policy was to have the allergic kids sit at their own lunch table—the island of misfit toys, exiled for their own safety. Soon after cashew-gate, a “no-nut” policy was instituted for the classrooms of all kids ages 3 to 5. Most parents were empathetic and supportive, which I’m so grateful for, but I began to hear loud grumblings from a select few:
“My kid is so picky; the only thing he’ll eat is peanut butter. Ugh. This is so lame—one kid with a peanut allergy making life difficult for the rest of us.”
“God, this is so unreasonable. The whole class has to change for one or two kids? Why can’t those kids just stay away from nuts?”
“Whoever thinks this is a realistic solution to a much bigger problem is living in a fantasy. This won’t solve anything or keep these kids safe. They need to learn to navigate the real world, which has nuts in it; you can’t shelter these kids forever.”
First off, I get it. I really do. Secondly, if this is your mindset, fuck you and your peanut butter. Before you tell me how ridiculous I am for asking a whole community to change for the tiny minority of those who have a peanut allergy, like my little girl, I’d like you to ask you one little question:
Is your child’s peanut butter sandwich more important than my child’s life?
Before you open your righteous mouths, I want you to think about the precious little heart beating in your child’s chest. What you wouldn’t do to keep that heart beating, yes?
That is exactly what this issue boils down to, and if you’d like to say otherwise, I’ll ask you to save your bullshit. I’ve held my child down with my entire body while stabbing her with an EpiPen as she turned 50 shades of purple. I have physically heard my child’s airway closing, her breath squeaking like a mouse. I have seen my daughter stare death in the eye.
If you still think I’m being “unreasonable,” fuck you and your peanut butter sandwich. You can save that shit for an after-school snack; ham and cheese is on the menu today, bitches.
This is not about “living in the real world.” Outside of a school setting, where else would you find 30 or more kids having lunch together, 80 percent of whom are consuming peanut butter and smearing it on all surfaces within a 12-inch radius? In the “real world,” you find people who can eat a fucking sandwich without getting shit all over their hands and face. In the “real world,” I, or another informed adult, will be close by to help my 5-year-old girl navigate the world of anaphylaxis.
This is also not about me teaching my kid to manage her allergies. Of course we are teaching her to manage her allergies, but she is 5. I don’t know many 5-year-olds who have the capacity to keep themselves alive in terrain laden with tasty nut-filled treats. After round one with an EpiPen, you can bet your ass she’s careful, but her 5- and 5-year-old peers will happily attest to the fact that the peanut granola bar or cookie they’re about to share with her is nut-free.
If I had it my way, the whole school would be nut-free, not just the little kids’ classrooms. Have you seen kids eat? They still spill shit, get it on their fingers, and wipe it on the chair or under the table. That glob of PB&J on your kid’s fingers just ended up on the door handle, or a book, or a chair, and when my unsuspecting kid comes along and touches it and then rubs her eye or picks her filthy nose, will she die? I don’t know, but dammit, I don’t want to find out.
Can’t you just leave the fucking peanut butter at home?
I’m sure I’ll be hated for this letter, as I know the importance of that peanut butter. I know I should be ashamed for asking our community to band together to help prevent my little girl’s demise, but I give zero fucks about your need for the free will of PB&J. I’m a mama bear, and I’ll fight for my child when you don’t care. I’ll piss off any number of people to advocate for my child. I’ll impose on your lunch-making routine to ensure that my daughter has the best chance at surviving the day when I send her off to school.
So yeah, fuck you and your peanut butter. Leave your peanut butter at home.