Lunch bags, Sandwich Anxiety and Camp Meltdowns: My Issue with Rule Ignorers

Rules are Rules, right?


Well, for most. But some think that rules don’t apply to them. If they don’t like the rules, they just decide to not follow them.

Case in point: The rule of a “no peanut school/camp”.

I like this rule because Sweets is allergic to peanuts/peanut butter. Not so severe that she has to be in a bubble and be wary of all baked goods/crackers/cereals that are made in a factory that may use peanuts. But if she has actual peanuts/peanut butter- we get a reaction.

I always ask about this policy, obviously, and typically any environment these days that provides activities/services to kids is “nut/peanut butter free”.

Her camp is nut free and all parents are informed of this.

Doesn’t meant they pay any mind.

While usually Sweets gets her lunch at school, camp you need to provide each day. So we go and get a cute owl lunch bag, have her choose fun sandwich cutters, cute sandwich bags, and some special “camp treats” that she typically doesn’t get at home. She is all super excited and camp starts and she had NO ISSUE with separating from me even though it was completely different than school: new building, new adults, new kids.

You don’t know how big a step this was for her! I was so proud.

And then one day I walk in to pick her up and IMMEDIATELY I notice something is off.

Her eyes are red and her face looks puffy. I ask her what’s wrong and she goes silent.

I find her group leader and he said that Sweets and another campers lunch bags got switched by accident- another camper with the same exact cute owl lunch bag- and his had a peanut butter sandwich in it.


Group Leader said he noticed the offending sandwich and took it and threw it away and it did not appear that she ate any.

But by the looks of her face, she either ate some or had a reaction just by touching it.

While the reaction didn’t occur for approximately 2 hours AFTER she ate it, the Group Leader didn’t necessarily recognize it as a reaction to the sandwich- he thought her eyes were red from rolling down a grassy hill all afternoon. Sweets started getting anxious with all the questions and started crying, so I stopped and took her home.

I was on the fence for giving her the epi-pen, and 15 minutes after getting home she was much better. Swelling was gone, eyes no longer red.

The next day, Sweets had a TOTAL MELTDOWN when she got to camp and has had issues with being dropped off every day since. She thinks “Group Leader” is mean, she refuses to eat sandwiches, and she no longer wants to be in camp and each day she says, “only 2 more weeks!”.

I am so sad for her because something that was so fun for her has turned into something that causes her anxiety. While she is fine and has fun during the day, the drop off is still problematic.

The camp director spoke directly to the parents who were….not really all that sympathetic. “Oh, sorry about that!”

Okay, I know that the topic of food allergies can make people testy and I can be somewhat “that mom” when going to stay at peoples houses with my directions of “get all peanuts/peanut butter products out of the house”.

It can kill her. Do you get that? IT. CAN. KILL. HER.

We’ve since gone on to buy her a new lunch bag and I am now making her burritos. She has fun at camp, but she is looking forward to being out of there and back at school where “they don’t have sandwiches”.

So thanks parents that don’t like to follow the rules. Thanks for making Sweets’ last 2 weeks of camp a less than fabulous experience because you can’t follow the rules. There are many lunch foods out there- and please don’t say PB sandwiches are the ONLY THING IN THE WORLD YOUR CHILD WILL EAT. Will your child DIE if they don’t have a PB sandwich for lunch?

Mine could die if she does.


4 thoughts on “Lunch bags, Sandwich Anxiety and Camp Meltdowns: My Issue with Rule Ignorers

    • It’s unbelievable to me, too, the things people will say. Really- peanuts and peanut butter are so integral to your child’s diet that they cannot go through a school day without it? You would rather disregard a child’s potential DEADLY reaction than pack an alternate lunch? REALLY? How is that even a question??
      So frustrating- thanks for your response!

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