My eleven-year old daughter wrote a series of poems as part of a poetry project. This was my favourite.


You do not know what it is like to check what is in everything you eat.

You do not know what it is like to sit aside and watch kids eat tasty treats.

You do not know what it is like to refuse a treat that you really want to eat.

You do not know what it is like to have people say “this is the best treat ever” right in your face.

So why don’t we make a rule that stops me and everyone else with allergies from being left out?

If you think this is unfair for everyone else try being me for the day.



About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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15 Responses to Allergies

  1. Lynn says:

    Doing the ugly cry right now. SO PERFECT. Thanks.

  2. Eileen says:

    Niamh darling, that poem touched me in the deepest way. How I’d love to have a magic wand to wave over you and banish your allergy.

  3. skylark says:

    Sometimes when I play outside in the summer I get all stuffed up.
    Sometimes when I mow the lawn I get itchy all over.
    After reading Niamh’s poetry my eyes watered up…
    Damn allergies!

  4. Finola says:

    Thanks for the supportive comments. Yesterday she had a class potluck as part of their history program, and of course there were tears at the end of the day. Even though we sent her in with treats of her own, she couldn’t have what everyone else was having. I’m glad her teachers will get to read her poem.

  5. Pamela says:

    My daughter and I enjoy visits to Thimble cakes on Bank street together for a special treat….it takes the sting and the pain out of being left out at school events…..I long for the day when found is not used as a reward or any other way in the school environment…..her allergies are peanut, tree nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds.
    We understand and sympathize with you…..

    • Finola says:

      Thanks Pam and sorry you have to deal with allergies too. We’re lucky in our neighbourhood to have two nut free bakeries too and it helps a lot.

  6. Sasha says:

    That’s really really rough. I remember when I was a kid, I thought that if you were allergic to something that you also didn’t like it (don’t ask me where I got that idea). I hope the other kids get to read it, too. I’m sure that a lot of kids without allergies really just have no idea. Heck, some of the parents (and I’m including myself here) can be pretty clueless at times too.

    • Finola says:

      There is truth in that. My daughter can’t stand the taste of peanuts, however a cupcake that has no actual peanuts in it but may contain traces of nuts or peanuts is still not OK for her to eat, but it would taste good to her. Thanks for your understanding.

  7. Tudor says:

    This just so takes me back to my time on the allergy committee at my kids’ school (I think I’ve mentioned this before, so please forgive) but, honestly, the starting point was a real “us and them” mentality and the parents of non-allergic kids felt like the “allergic” group was trying to deprive the other kids of great things (pizza, etc.). I’m proud (and still sometimes surprised) to say everyone eventually did come around to a place of compassion instead of standing on rights and that made discussions so much more productive.
    After all, if you don’t want pizza at lunch hour taken away from your child, how do you think the child (and parent) feels who can’t have that pizza EVER? It’s not a black and white issue but it doesn’t hurt to at least try to understand.

    • Finola says:

      Listening and understanding are so important because it really isn’t easy. I like to think I’ve been tolerant and I haven’t asked for much, but I’m just tired of all the exclusions when no one needs to be excluded. Thanks Tudor.

  8. allison says:

    I think the parents are often worse, honestly. At this point, my kids take it in stride that they can’t have allergen-containing food at school or sports – it’s the parents that get up in arms about it, as if the parents of food-allergic kids are being overly demanding instead of just trying to keep their kids from DYING. Deep breath.

  9. Finola says:

    Thanks Allison 🙂

  10. coffeewithjulie says:

    I think it would be super tough as a kid. My nephew has a nut allergy and I still sometimes forget and show up to a party with something from a commercial bakery. I feel like a total heel when I do, of course. I really don’t do it on purpose. This was a very powerful poem for me. Thanks for sharing.

  11. kelca says:

    Niamh, thank you. I’m an adult and have developed a severe food allergy and am just learning to watch for the hidden sources and cope with giving up some favourite foods. Your poem is an excellent expression of what it means!

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