Last weekend I surprised my husband with a trip to the coast for his birthday. At first it was a no brainer to me that my kids would be joining us. They love the beach and I love to watch them marvel at the ocean and the many things you find on a beach. But, then I got to thinking about how we have never had our children stay the night at the coast. We would be in a hotel room, eating out and strolling along the stores. This may seem like nothing to the normal parent but to a parent of an allergic child, it becomes a scary thing. I decided that this time I would not bring our children but to see what happens and how to approach the next time when we do take them.
The first thing we did was went to Mo's as my husbands "surprise birthday lunch" (Hehe, he thought that was his one and only surprise!) When we had been there in another city on the coast with my son, they had given us an allergen menu. I looked it over and saw that there were actually a few things that he could have. I was too nervous about actually letting him eat though because I didn't know where the nearest hospital was. This time at this restaurant we were seated to where I could see right into part of the kitchen. I was sitting directly in front of the door. I saw that they also had the allergen menu with the children's menus. Although any menus they got back uncolored on were put back in with the others in the same slot they kept the allergen menus. Then I was really baffled. I have gotten my food handlers before and I know at least a small gist of what they are required to do when handling food. There was one waitress cutting up a peanut butter cream pie and dishing it onto plates. She would then take it to the person that ordered it. There was one piece though, that sort of fell apart. So, I guess it was not presentable enough. I saw probably 5 people on the wait staff grabbing forks and taking bites of the pie as they walked to a table or picked up someone's food to take to the table. They weren't careful either. These people used a fork, one dropped their fork on the ground another wiped their mouth with their hand and so forth. Yes, I may sound like I had way too much time, which I did but I also was using this trip as a way to see if I could even bring my son to these places. I was not the least bit impressed. In fact, I probably would not go back to that one.. even without my son.
We did a lot of visiting shops which could be hazard when there are candy stores surrounding them. But, I could keep that manageable. We also went down to the tide pools. I thought about that even and was unsure if that could REALLY be safe. I think that is one thing, though, that we will have to just try and see what happens.
The hotel room was one thing I did not think much about until I saw it. We got a nice room in a nice hotel. In fact, it was labeled a suite. But, I saw that there were crumbs on the floor and I know how hotels can be with cleaning the bedding. Also, if my son could not be eating out at these places, I would need to bring something to be made there. That would mean we would either have to find an even nicer hotel with a kitchen or I would need to bring things that could be made in a microwave or stored in the fridge. I am willing to do that, of course, so that my children can have the experience. When that time comes I will be calling ahead and probably calling around to see what accommodations can be made for him.
Some friends of ours are getting married in June. They are doing so at the coast and since both my husband and my daughter are part of the wedding party we will be staying the night before for rehearsals and such. So, apparently I will be having this coast experience soon! I have no idea what hotel we will stay at but when I know, I know that I will be having some conversations with some of the staff there. I will definitely be blogging about how that experience goes as far as the allergy aspect. But, I am hoping that all will go smoothly and I just may be a bit of an overly protective mom!