Tag Archives: Wild Card

Calling Nabisco

The more I learn about food allergies the more I realize how little I knew when this process started. I called most major food brands over a year ago to ask questions and at the time were satisfied with their answers. Now and then I tend to call back regarding specific items, especially of the “snack pack” variety because they are often made on shared lines that aren’t cleaned and since a may contain is a voluntary label, I feel better calling to double check and while I’m on the phone I now ask more specific questions about products in general. Today I called Nabisco because I bought their new Angry Birds Snack Pack graham crackers and I was less than pleased with my phone conversation. When I asked about reducing cross contamination through employees I was told “yeah, sure, we do that”. Hmmmm. “yeah, sure”? “Yeah, sure” is what my 4 year old says when she has no clue what to say. It’s also what people say when they aren’t paying attention. I informed the man that “yeah, sure” is never an acceptable answer when fielding questions regarding life or death. He still didn’t seem to concerned. So I asked to speak to someone else, but at the time anyone that could answer my questions was busy. I said that was fine and I could wait on hold or if he wouldn’t mind taking my name and number and submitting it to whoever could answer my questions. Well, I learned it is not their policy to take people’s names and numbers for questions to be answered by someone who may have the answer and was told to just try and call back later. Oh, right in ALL my free time, I’ll just call back and hope someone is available. Obviously, this person doesn’t have children and doesn’t schedule his day around naptime and Leapster time. I decided to go the email route first. Here is the email I sent to Nabisco today:

Dear Customer Service,
I just ended a phone call with your customer service regarding allergen precautions in your facilities. I am writing to tell you that I was very disappointed in the answers I received. Not because they weren’t what I wanted to hear, but because the person answering your customer service didn’t speak well enough English to answer my direct questions. To almost every question I received the stock answer of “if it does or could contain the allergen it would be labeled on the box” and when I asked a specific question of cross contamination I received the answer of “yeah, sure”. I’m going to tell you that when a parent calls with questions or concerns regarding a life threatening condition for their child “yeah, sure” is not an answer. You will lose customers with that answer. It makes the person answering the phone and your company seem like they don’t take these concerns seriously. I was then told that “I answer these calls all day long, you believe the answer I’m giving you”. Again, when you aren’t answering my specific question, I do not believe you. After being placed on hold I was told that no one was available to answer my specific questions and that I would have to call back. I asked to wait on hold or have my name and number taken for a phone call back (which many companies do) and was told that was not your policy and I would just have to try again later. Since I am a busy mom of 2 kids and took 5 minutes of quiet to call, I opted this route to have my questions answered for now.
1. Since you share lines, what methods are taken to clean equipment between producing allergen ingredients and non-allergen ingredients?
2. Are your workers decontaminated as well? Will a person working a line with an allergen change their coat, gloves, hat, etc before working a line that is allergen free?
3. Do you test raw ingredients coming into your facility?
4. How often do you test your product for allergen to ensure that your sanitation methods are working?
I would like to thank you for your time and I hope in the future if I have to call your company for information, the person answering the phone is more informed. You may also contact me via phone at 410-XXX-XXXX.
Sincerely,
Jamie Meteer

I am looking forward to their response. I will share with you, my readers, when I get it.

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Food Allergy Thoughts

I’ve now scrapped about 4 beginnings to a blog about food allergies. I just can’t quite put my thoughts into words. I hate them. They make me feel sick. They add stress to joyous occasion and there’s a part of me that has actually considered home-schooling. Now, the home schooling part comes from the crazy irrational side of me, but also the side that fears for her son’s life. Food allergies stole one of my favorite foods from me. Don’t get me wrong, I would pick the Wild Card over a peanut butter cup any day of the week, but there are days where I really really want that peanut butter cup. I know I could eat one, but it doesn’t taste as good anymore. And I haven’t figured out to make stress a calorie burning exercise so for the most part I stay away.

Yesterday I donned one of my favorite new t-shirts and noticed a weird reddish-brownish stain on the front. At first I was bummed because I can’t seem to own anything nice (yes, I used the words t-shirt and nice together) and then I felt sick and started to cry. After a second of “what is that??”, I realized it was dried blood. I remembered it was the shirt that I was wearing the day I gave my first epi-pen.  It’s no longer a fun new t-shirt I got for running a 5K while being pelted with powered paint, it’s a shirt that is stained with my son’s blood and has been vomited on. That’s the thing with allergies, they never leave. They are a stain on our lives. I will never go somewhere and not worry that it will end in another thigh stabbing and I will worry everyday he leaves the house that someone won’t fully understand the nature of his allergy and accidentally poison him. We went hiking and Charlie found an acorn, I spent the next hour worrying if acorns were a “tree nut” in the allergy sense and if we were going to have to book it to the ER. The good news, Charlie is not allergic to acorns, but it doesn’t change the fact that something as simple as a hike is stressful since a fury woodland creature has dropped part of it’s hibernation stash on our path. Our neighbors fed the squirrels shelled peanuts and our backyard became a stressful scavenger hunt every time we went out to play. There are still some days I find myself checking around the yard, just in case.

So, instead of dwelling on things I can’t change such as the child that will bring peanut butter and jelly to the lunch table or the playground mom that feeds her child peanut butter crackers, I’ve decided to focus on the things I can grow from. I can only become more knowledgeable on food allergies and how to educate others. I can have confidence in my reactions to his reactions and I can teach my child the joy in made-from-scratch brownies. Then hopefully, Charlie will learn from my confidence in his allergy and gain his own confidence. Yup, the best I can do is teach and lead by example and hope that he gains the necessary respect for the peanut so he doesn’t live with the same fear I do.

A Home Without a Crib

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Today we entered the next step of parenting. The step that will contribute to flabby biceps, we transitioned to a toddler bed. No more lifting a 30 pound toddler in and out of cribs. No more cribs. For 4 years and 4 months our house has been home to a piece of furniture that defined where we were in our “family” life. But I really liked it because I could be okay with my decision that we weren’t having anymore babies since we still have baby things. Now without a crib I have to accept that we are moving on with our lives. We are moving out of bottles and bumbos and into a world that has preschool and napless afternoons. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to this stage but it’s the same insanity that makes me cry when getting rid of their baby clothes that makes me nostalgic for the times they were babies. I don’t even know why, they cried and vomited and were awake all the time. Why would anyone be sad about saying good bye to that??? I couldn’t tell you, but I am.

The only thing getting me through this tough time is the happiness in my Wild Card’s face. He thinks his new bed is the best thing ever. And technically it’s his crib, just missing a side (kids are so gullible). Tonight he cried “get out” as he was put in his bed and Stampy said “you can get out” but he never did. It was almost like he was so accustomed to protesting that he just had to do it. So there it is, both of my children are sleeping in their beds. Not cribs, but beds and I’m going to have a little wine to help me get over myself and into my bed tonight and not snuggle in and cling to my baby.

All About The Wild Card

From here on out, my goal is to devote a day of the week to telling you about each kid. Whether it be about the ailments that afflict them or the antics they’ve cooked up recently. I’ve decided to be clever and alliterate and make Wednesday = Wild Card Wednesday. 

So let’s start with why he is the “Wild Card”. The nickname really comes from the fact that Stampy and I are big It’s Always Sunny fans. Love that show. That Charlie is known as the Wild Card in his antics and it just seemed to fit our Charlie as well. The boy who is always smiley and even tempered, well just wait until we go to a preschool Christmas recital and he will scream his head off. The boy who loves to sit and the table and eat, eat, eat, well just wait until a holiday or special occasion dinner and he will scream his head off. Do you have an old piece of peanut butter toast lying around?? He’ll eat that just to add some excitement to our day. Is there a 1/100 chance your urethra will close up after hypospadias surgery? (note: not a real statistic) Charlie will have that going on too so you have to trek to Johns Hopkins Hospital at 11pm ON YOUR BIRTHDAY. He is just all about the unexpected, the element of surprise, and the surprises just keep on coming.

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Photo by Jenna Main Photography

That’s ok, I don’t mind putting up with his antics because look at that face! or this one
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You really just can’t help but to smile.

Somehow he makes waking up at 5:30am seem pleasant. He’s just that guy. I’m guessing he’ll either be voted most likely to end up in the ER or Class Clown in high school. I’m really hoping for the latter because I’m tired of going to the ER. I think 4 times in one’s life is enough. But, he’s our wild card so I’m sure there will be more in his future.