Oh nuts.


So, I really screwed up this time.

I know I tell you about my parenting mistakes all the time…  about how I yelled at my kids and called them brats. Or about how I took away “reading time” as a punishment. The sugar cereal for dinner… the screen time… the impatience… all of that. But this time, it’s a doozy.

Two days ago, I gave my kids’ peanut butter cookies. This wouldn’t sound like such a big deal except that two of my kids are allergic to peanuts.

They are both fine and we didn’t need to use the Epi-Pen, but I cannot stop thinking about the whole thing, because well, WTF? Who does that??

I bought the cookies from the bakery section of Whole Foods. They looked very much like chocolate chip cookies and I never checked the label because it was on the bottom of the package.

Wait, that sounds like the World’s Lamest Excuse for almost poisoning my kids  – the label was on the bottom – ugh. I didn’t check the label because I have gotten lazy and complacent about these allergies and to be honest, I just didn’t think of it.

Now, if the label had been on the top, I probably would have noticed he words PNUT BTR CHOC CHUNK COOKIES, but since the label was on the bottom, I didn’t.

I swear the cookies I bought  looked like the one on the left.

I swear the cookies I bought looked like the one on the left.

We had friends over and all the kids were sitting around the table, excited for dessert (which in case you haven’t been reading carefully, was PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES.) As soon as The Loud One took a tiny bite, she said, “my tongue feels weird.” I spun around and told her to stop eating it; looked at the Nibbit, who also had a bite in his mouth, and yelled at him, “Spit it out!”

Side note: Isn’t the human body amazing? That tiny bite had barely hit her tongue before rejecting it. CRAZY.

I grabbed the Benadryl, poured a dose for the Nibbit, gave him the cup and then pushed the bottle at the Loud One and told her to “CHUG THIS (words I have never pictured saying to my daughter)!”

Then we waited. I’m so thankful that my friend was there – she was the perfect combination of calm and reassuring (AND it bears mentioning that her three kids were real troopers about having their desserts RIPPED out of their hands) and while I may have appeared to keep my shit together, I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest.

We stared at the LO and the Nibbit for the next few minutes… talking to them about how they felt and monitoring their speech for signs of anaphylaxis. They continued to say that their tongues felt itchy and weird, but never showed any signs of swelling or labored breathing. The Nibbit broke out with hives all over his face, but after a few minutes, the Benadryl kicked in and they seemed to feel better.

I let them watch TV for the next hour while I stared at them and annoyed them by asking “How do you feel now?” every two minutes. Aside from being really pissed about their cookies being taken away, they were OK.

KJ came home in the middle of the whole scene and to his credit, he was nothing but supportive. He even took it upon himself to test the cookies himself to confirm that yes, these were definitely PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES. Whatta guy.

At that point, the Loud One started complaining that her stomach hurt. Huh. She hadn’t really stopped complaining about the fact that she was still hungry because she never got dessert (the HORROR), so I wasn’t sure if her stomach REALLY hurt or if she was just being whiney.

I brought the Nibbit up to bed and then came back down to read to LO. We were 28 seconds into our book when I heard “Mama? I NEED YOU!” and then the oh-so-distinctive sound of vomit splashing all over his bedroom carpet.

Yup, that happened.

Guess it serves me right for doubting the LO’s stomachache.

The next hour was a blur of vomit, clean-up, and trying to get the now-exhausted kids to sleep. The LO never threw up but she also never stopped crying about how she was wronged (ya know, no dessert). She finagled that injustice into an opportunity to sleep in our bed, but at that point, I felt so guilty, I would have given her a pony… or Squeaky and Pip back.

Then Happy Dude decided to get in on the fun by complaining about how HIS throat was really hurting and how he needed to have “a wot of water” to make it better.


Like I said, I REALLY screwed up.

So, at this point, most of you are probably thinking, WTF? How could you not check the label? Why didn’t you rush them to the doctor’s office or the ER? HOW COULD YOU GIVE YOUR KIDS PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES??

I know. I’m nodding my head. I agree 100%.

Yet, if I were telling you this story in person, you’d probably say what I heard from a handful of people yesterday:

We all make mistakes.

Stuff like this happens.

Don’t beat yourself up.

Those people are all very kind. And of course that’s what I would say to someone else as well.

BUT as I tell my kids all the time, it is my #1 job in life to keep them safe. I’m supposed to feed them and keep them safe.


I’m pretty sure I deserve to beat myself up just a little bit. Maybe like a small black eye and a split lip?

My kids have nut allergies. I didn’t give them something that was cooked in peanut oil… that “could happen.” I didn’t even give them cookies that “may contain trace amounts of peanuts;” that would be more understandable. I gave them PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES. Short of scooping out a bunch of Planter’s nuts and stuffing them in their mouths, this was pretty much the worst thing I could do.

And for my next trick, PB&J for dinner!

And for my next trick, PB&J for dinner!

Needless to say, I have learned my lesson.

I have thanked God it all turned out to be fine. I told KJ that I appreciate his being supportive and not angry. (He did call me yesterday morning to ask, “Have you tried to kill our kids yet today?” but other than that, he doesn’t seem overly concerned about leaving the kids in my care.)

And most importantly, I apologized to the Nibbit and the Loud One. I told them that I made a terrible mistake and that I am so so so sorry they were sick because of it.

The LO said she could forgive me for giving her peanut butter cookies (but not necessarily for taking them away).

And the Nibbit said, “It’s OK. I make a mistake sometimes, too.”



PS. Three of my closest friends had crappy stuff happen this week as well, including, but not limited to, 25 stitches on a three-year old’s head, a 9-1-1 call and hospital stay for a Mom, and a swallowed nickel which remains firmly lodged in his small intestine. While commiserating about how life sometimes sucks, my friend dubbed us “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Shitty Karma.” Perfect.

16 responses »

  1. You may feel like you failed and no other mother would make that mistake, but let me tell you, truthfully you are the only one who actually ADMITS her mistake. Big difference. Way to put yourself out there to make the rest of us feel like we’re not the only ones who screw up. (And we ALL do) AND, you made it funny, although I am certain it wasn’t funny at the time. Nice side note that you didn’t even have to go to the ER…I think it was the perfect level of danger to use as a reminder to not get complacent, and a good reminder to the rest of us to do the same.

    You’re a great mom, the fact that you actually care if you make a mistake is more than a lot of moms out there, and that you are willing to admit it.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Allison. Moms (at least this mom) make mistakes ALL THE TIME! And by admitting your mistake, you make other moms (again, THIS mom) feel like we are not alone and not utter failures. I mean, who among us hasn’t mindlessly shoved a plate of cookies in front of their kids in the hopes of a little bit of quiet and grown up conversation?

  3. Ok I’m not a mom but… it was not obvious it was PB…there was no emergency room visit and no epi-pen involved and no end of life. Tongue tingles and hives? I’d say not bad at all.

    How did Di feel when you a) busted your arm b) twisted your ankle c) punctured your foot d) fainted e) puked every night for 3 years etc..i’m sure badly but it’s all part of being a kid…shit happens.

  4. Feeling WAYYYY better right now about the time I didn’t buckle my six month’s bucket into the car seat base correctly and she went flying when I took a corner too fast because I was trying to get somewhere fast to quiet her crying (whooops) …. OR ….. the time I let my [other] 18 month old sleep across two airline seats without being buckled (still sleeping in a crib at home) and she went head-first to the floor when she rolled over. But mechanical failure (sort’ve) in the first instance and total exhaustion (mine) on a 15 hour flight are way better excuses than the label was on the bottom !!! — TODTYM

  5. This was an excellent post. I expect to see you all coming to school in September wearing your
    Sisterhood of the Traveling Shitty Karma T-shirts, with “CHUG” printed on the back. Awesome.

  6. Oh Krissy, I’ve been there. I gave my 6 year old Benadryl, Claritin and expired, recalled Zyrtek and cried until she threw up! A word of advice, don’t assume all the Hershey’s miniatures are labeled correctly and yes, one bite of a mini Mr. Goodbar will age you 5 years and give your kids material for the tell all book they will write about you someday! Although, it sounds like your kids might already be on book 2 by now.

  7. I have no frame of reference for handling the responsibility of keeping small humans safe, and my family can attest I am zero help in a crisis situation. So in my humble opinion you did a bang up job considering the super stressful nature of the situation. And Kevin, stepping up and tasting that cookie (or cookies, I mean you never know if just one PB one snuck into the batch amiright?)…wow. That’s bravery right there. Anyhow, if you still feel bad about it, I say you just sit the kiddos down on the coach, hand them each a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE and simply say, “Let’s get out of it.” If history is any indication, forgiveness is guaranteed.

    • that’s “couch”…I’m obviously not suited for the responsibility of helping your kids prepare for their spelling tests either

  8. I can’t say that I have done exacly that but I’ve definately had what my husband and I call BPMs (bad parent moves). No matter what anyone says, we’ve all had them and thankfully survived them!

  9. Pingback: You guys are SO supportive! | Who Needs a Nap?

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