I'm not going to pack sunbutter sandwiches in my son's lunches anymore, at least not for a while.
I had noticed for the last several weeks that he periodically asked me not to give him sunbutter and jelly sandwiches in his lunch box.
It surprised me but I thought that his love of sunbutter was waning. It had been his favorite sandwhich. He liked it so much that he would often ask for it at dinner (as if I was going to let him miss out on the gourmet entree I was serving).
Then, when we were visiting friends this weekend, he was offered a choice of sandwiches. He excitedly requested sunbutter. I noticed and in the back of my mind had a nagging feeling it didn't add up.
Last night at bed time, as I was tucking him in, he said,
"Momma, please don't give me sunbutter in my lunch tomorrow."
I asked, "Why?"
The answer he gave me tugged at my heart.
The older kids in the lunch room notice him sitting at the peanut-free table with sunbutter and they tell on him. They tell a teacher that he has peanut butter. They tell on him every time he brings sunbutter.
The lunchroom aides know about the sunbutter. In fact, I brought it in for them to see and sample. I also asked if it was okay he had it for his lunch. They do not have a problem with him bringing in sunbutter. Most of the time (sometimes I forget), I write "sunbutter" on the sandwich bag. He never gets in trouble for the sunbutter.
Sometimes the kids tell a teacher that is not one of the aides familiar with my son and his sunbutter sandwiches. Sometimes, the kids tell the aides that know. It doesn't matter. The kids tell on him. The aides or teachers have to check. My son gets extra attention that he doesn't want.
He told me, slyly, "Momma, sometimes, I take a bite of my sunbutter sandwich and I hide it in my lunchbox when I am not eating it."
I don't know if the older kids are trying to be responsible or trying to get a smaller kid in trouble. Either way, if they are reporting a possible peanut butter sandwich at the peanut-free table, it isn't all bad.
Since my son has a peanut allergy, I am delighted that the aides are checking about a potential peanut butter sandwich at the peanut-free table every time they are told about it.
But... My son is the only kid in his school (of about 350 students) with a peanut allergy. The peanut-free table was set up this year specifically to keep him safe. Other safety precautions, like keeping all of the packed lunches from his class in a box outside of the classroom, were put in place to limit his exposure to peanut products. His allergy gets attention. I tend to think he is used to it.
His request reminded me that he is a normal kindergartener that doesn't want undue attention from other kids and teachers.
I want his lunchtime to be as pleasant as possible.
We will keep sunbutter at home. And, I think sometimes I'll let him have a gourmet sunbutter sandwich for dinner.