Children’s birthday parties are a bit of a minefield for us. I inevitably have to be that annoying mother who stays for the duration, lurking behind my children with a filled lunchbox and darting out at lightning speed should either one of them win a prize (always milk chocolate). Of the usual food you encounter at a typical UK children’s birthday party, my children can eat nothing. There will be sandwiches (always spread with butter or margarine), probably crisps that contain milk (pom bears/hula hoops/ cheese puffs etc), sausages and sausage rolls that you can’t count on not containing milk/eggs, chocolate and chocolate biscuits and then cake! Ok, there’s a possibility that the crisps might be the safe ready salted variety, but grubby little hands that have just eaten a cheese sandwich or dipped into the cheese puffs will dart in and out making them a non-safe option – who wants to take any risks and have an allergic reaction in the middle of a birthday party?
My 8 year old can kinda safely go to a party alone, but there is still the rigmarole of dropping off the Piriton and epi-pens (with necessary instructions to the terrified looking host), the full lunchbox which will no doubt be entirely different from what everyone else eats and the non-inclusion in the obligatory food based games. Even when people have been kind enough to offer to cater for her, she’ll end up with nothing to eat due to another child taking hers and refusing to give it up, cross-contamination of foods placed so they are touching or simply forgetting in the chaos of party preparation. She doesn’t mind at the moment, but I wonder how she’ll feel as she gets older?
My 5 year old is very sensible and would never accept food off anyone (sad isn’t it), but I still can’t trust some kindly Grandma coming along and placing an unsafe foodstuff on her plate and assuring her it’s fine to eat. Also, I’m not sure but I think that due to her long list of allergies she often doesn’t get invited – the other parents are scared witless at the thought of the ‘allergic child’ at their party.
Anyway, they have a party this afternoon, and of course I’m staying! So here’s the packed birthday tea for them to share (there were obligatory crisps too, they just didn’t fit in the box)… let’s hope the others eat something similar and not lasagne!