Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Your Beef?

That was the name of a steakhouse in upstate New York where my college roommate waitressed. I could never decide if that is a great name or, like Homer Simpson's babershop quartet "The B-Sharps," if it is a name that is clever at first but gets less funny each time you hear it.

ANYWAY, here's my beef: one of Weaselsnob's "high octane moms" (I prefer Type A(hole)) has taken over my kids' elementary school.

This mom has a son who has some very serious, very legitimate allergies. Can we please stipulate that I recognize how awful that must be? And how I would never want to put the health of a child in jeopardy? And how I can guarantee that I am in the top 99% of label-readers? Good. Thanks.

The problem is that this woman has conflated the protection of her son's physical well-being with the protection of his emotional well-being. Her goal is to eliminate any possibility of a circumstance in which her son might feel left out (or singled out) because he can't eat what other kids are eating.

So, instead of providing an alternative treat for him to eat on the occasion of a classmate's birthday celebration, she has forced the school to change the policy for all kindergarten classes-- no birthday cupcakes or any other birthday food-type celebration whatsoever.

This is a public school. This kid will be eating in the lunchroom (where four other grades eat as well). And, presumably, he will face the issue of eating with people in public his whole life. Wouldn't it be wise to teach the child to accept his allergy and get on with living? It is what it is-- you don't eat that because it will hurt you, but you can eat this. Don't dwell on it. This is just a simple fact of your life.

We don't cancel recess and gym just because there are kids in our school who are physically handicapped and it might make them feel bad to see other kids run and jump and play. I'm sure it sucks way more for them than it does for you not being able to eat a munchkin. Seriously.

Believe me, I understand the desire to shield your child from any kind of pain. But in this case I can only see the creation of a bigger problem. At some point the mountain will no longer come to this Mom-hammed. At some point this child/teen/college student will have to fend for himself in a world that doesn't care if he can't eat the cake. What's he going to do? How's he going to feel then?

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