May Contain Traces of Nuts

Sunday Funny

So it’s #sunfun Sunday funny day this week hosted by actuallymummy where you can link up whatever makes you laugh. Events this week had already caused me to write the below but I thought I’d save it up for Sunday……

*Puts up ‘Rant Alert’ sign*

This week one of the Mums at Boy’s school got in trouble with them. She is a good Mum. Her school-age daughter’s name is prefixed by the word ‘lovely’ by everyone from the teachers to Boy (who may have a secret crush on her) while her younger daughter goes to the same toddler group as Baby. They’re the sort of family you’re glad to have as friends and yet the telling off was a serious one as she transgressed something that had Previously Been Put In Writing. Specifically she put a peanut butter sandwich in her daughters packed lunch.

Now I grew up in the 70s and I’m not about to write a long essay about how we should return to an era when football violence, sitcoms based on casual racism and guitar solos were socially acceptable. However I am about to write the ultimate fuddy-duddy phrase. This wouldn’t have happened in my day.

When I was at Infant School there were only about 3 kids who had packed lunch and each of them brought in a fish paste sandwich and a packet of Monster Munch because that was what constituted packed lunch in the 70s. The rest of us subsisted on grey gristle, vegetables that had been boiled since yesterday and semolina. When I moved on to Comprehensive school and could choose my own food I had chips and baked beans for lunch every day for 5 years. At no point did Jamie Oliver pop up over my right shoulder and offer me a tasty mousaka, nor did the school write home to our parents despite the dangerous afternoon methane levels and noxious classroom odours. And I’m pretty sure at some point there would have been a nut or two around.

When I got home there certainly was. Almost every day of his working life my Father (who was a music teacher) would celebrate the departure of his last pupil with a can of Webster’s Yorkshire Bitter and a packet of dry roasted peanuts. The dangerous lunatic bastard. Except not really since I’m still alive and writing this.

Boy’s school is Ofsted Outstanding. One thing you will come to learn should your children be lucky enough to attend one is that you get a LOT of information from them. Everything needs permission. Newsletters come out twice a week and you drown under your own weight in text messages. The ‘no peanut butter’ missive came out in September and we are now in February. How people who are generally juggling work (or trying to find it) with demanding little ones are suddenly supposed to remember all this shit when they get up after 2 hours sleep with only Peanut Butter in the larder is anyone’s guess.

But it’s good right? We’re protecting vulnerable kids aren’t we? Nut allergies are potentially fatal. Well I sort of agree and sort of don’t. The only way you can fully protect children from peanut related peril is to ban them altogether – at which point, of course, the Columbian cartels would ditch the marching powder and start cultivating legumes. The rule exists mainly to protect the school and the local authority from being sued by ambulance chasing lawyers. Yes I know in the most serious of cases the allergy can be triggered by touching a peanut but then isn’t the danger of that present anywhere and everywhere? Perhaps one of the properties of an ‘Outstanding’ school ought to be to properly supervise lunch times so that children who don’t have allergies don’t share their food with children who may? Just a thought.

I’m not advocating the ditching of Health and Safety per se. Lots of it is very necessary and little of it falls in to the stuff reported in the likes of The Sun, most of which is apocryphal. Just reading this back makes me feel I’m being a bit David Cameron and this makes me want to hit myself with a hockey stick. But are we in an era where greed and paranoia are getting a very good parent in to trouble for something mine wouldn’t have thought twice about?

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  1. #1 by fivegoblogging on February 12, 2012 - 8:38 am

    As a mother of a nut allergy sufferer.. (at this point you are probably thinking “Here we go. Rant in retaliation time”) … I completely agree!
    Supervise lunch times appropriately. What if someone has a fish allergy? Ban tuna sandwiches? I am lactose sensitive. BAN CHEESE SANDWICHES placards at the gates.
    Sensible hats on please.

  2. #2 by seasiderinthecity on February 12, 2012 - 9:24 am

    I have a very severe nut allergy and at the moment we are unsure if my son has it too, however I totally agree with you! He knows not to ever eat any nuts and as long as the school dinners he has do not contain any I don’t see a problem. He’s in reception and understands so I think it’s ridiculous that we should impose such strickness every family. The school are clearly just protecting themselves.

  3. #3 by Helen Neale on February 12, 2012 - 9:31 am

    Someone hitting themselves with a hockey stick – now that I would like to see – great post!

  4. #4 by bottleinfrontofme on February 12, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    i’m not sure how we actually survived the seventies / eighties, lol
    my daughter’s school won’t even give them butter to put on their bread, I mean FFS !

  5. #5 by slightlysuburbandad on February 12, 2012 - 3:22 pm

    @fivegoblgging and @seasiderinthecity – thanks, I’m glad you understood what I’m getting at! I feel they’ve switched responsibility from themselves to other parents. Used to be ‘in loco parentis’ in my day.

    *realises he’s used ‘in my day’ again* *hits self with hockey stick*

  6. #6 by Alice Treherne on February 12, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    What, this is crazy?! Is it not? I think I’m with you on this one, you know that you SHOULD comply and understand the schools wishes, but as the previous comment say’s…FFS! akamuma.blogspot.com

  7. #7 by Love All Blogs on February 12, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    There is a child with a ‘fruits with a stone in’ allergy at Kits Nursery…no idea why I told you that though!

    I’ll be honest that’s the kind of silly thing that I would do….
    Loving the grey gristle fish paste – remember the good old days well!

    • #8 by slightlysuburbandad on February 12, 2012 - 7:07 pm

      It’s the kind of silly thing any of us who don’t have children with allergies would do which is kind of the point. We split the school run depending on when I work from home but whichever one of us does it, it’s a result if we get the correct number of kids in to the playground 30 seconds before the class door closes!

  8. #9 by anna tims (@ageingmatron) on February 12, 2012 - 9:35 pm

    Total agreement. At my kids’ school pupils are forbidden to bring in cakes on their birthday in case they’ve brushed against a nut so there’s an almost daily dispensing of Haribos which have probably helped cause my small son’s two fillings. In my day…!

    • #10 by slightlysuburbandad on February 12, 2012 - 9:51 pm

      I am once again thankful I have the only child in England with a Haribo phobia!

  9. #11 by Alex on February 12, 2012 - 10:34 pm

    My Mum and my brother both have a severe nut allergy (linked with asthma) and I’m with you… Supervising lunchtimes would seem like the way to go…

    My brothers girlfriend can’t eat nuts.. if she kisses him it’s a disaster!!! She once ate a nut and kissed him 48 hours later (they were living apart at the time) and his face swelled up.. we can laugh now!

  10. #12 by Actually Mummy... on February 18, 2012 - 10:13 am

    You are funny! How do you write a serious post so that it makes you laugh?? At our school they are also threatening to ban handstands for girls unless they wear leggings under their dress. Boys can do as many as they like though 😉

    • #13 by slightlysuburbandad on February 18, 2012 - 8:06 pm

      Thank you *blushes*. Honestly I don’t know, it’s just how stuff comes out of my head.

  11. #14 by Laura @Chez_Mummy on February 19, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    I can understand why a school would ban peanut butter – not because of allergies but because it’s totally yukky. To be honest, I’d go one step further and ban marmite too – there are no words for how grim that splodgy goo is.

    Seriously though, it sounds to me of a real case of pushing things too far. I’m with everyone else; if lunchtimes are supervised properly then there shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, we all know how fussy children can be and if your child is going through a phase of only wanting peanut butter (God forbid) then it can be very difficult to persuade them to have something else.

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