You be the Judge: Woman Gives Stepdaughter a Snickers (and Trip to ER) After Mistaking Her for Twin Sister

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There’s no doubt that parenting a child with food allergies is not for the fainthearted and that step-parenting brings its own world of difficulties. Combine that with an innate disability for discerning faces and a set of twins by marriage, and you have the next installment of our “You be the Judge” series where we present a unique situation from the internet regarding food allergies and ask you to chime in with your opinions and advice.

This time, a woman posting as u/throwaway028939292 told her story on reddit via a post entitled AITA for giving my stepdaughter a snickers bar?

We’ve referred to the “AITA” subreddit (i.e. group) before where this story is posted. AITA is short for “Am I the A-Hole” where it provides a medium where people question their own behavior and readers vote.

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Here is the post in its entirety:

AITA for giving my stepdaughter a snickers bar?

I (25F) am married to my husband Richard (42M). He has two identical twin daughters with his ex-wife who are 9 years old. For the purpose of this post, I’ll call them Isabelle and Maria.

I struggle to tell the girls apart so my husband gave Isabelle a pink wrist band and Maria a blue one so I could tell them apart.

I’m currently 5 months pregnant with our son and one of my biggest cravings is snickers bars. This is an issue because Maria is allergic to nuts, so I usually eat them in my car, our bedroom or the backyard to avoid contamination. Maria’s allergy is quite severe and she knows she isn’t supposed to eat anything with nuts in them.

On Friday, I was sat in my bedroom going ham on some mini snickers bars while watching Netflix when one of the twins came in my room. I asked who she was and she said she was Isabelle and she asked to come sit by me. I didn’t even know she was at home but she told me that her dad dropped her off with the keys and he went back to work which is something he does often without telling me. I checked the wrist band to make sure it was Isabelle and she had a pink one so I didn’t think twice and I let her sit by me.

She took a piece of chocolate from me and ate it which to me confirmed I was with Isabelle because Maria knows she’s not supposed to have Snickers. Turns out I was wrong and the girls had swapped wrist bands to play a joke on me and she immediately started experiencing a reaction. Thankfully I had an epi pen and I drove her to the ER and called my husband. He called their mother who was infuriated and she started yelling at me in the ER waiting area and I ended up having a panic attack. Maria ended up being fine and the girls came clean about wanting to play a prank on me. Maria hasn’t had a reaction for the past few years so she’s saying she forgot how bad and serious they were.

My husband is on my side and he’s saying that the Maria is old enough to know she shouldn’t be eating any nut products and it’s not my fault I thought she was Isabelle but their mother is saying that I shouldn’t have any nut products in the house that could tempt Maria and since I struggle to tell them apart, the smart thing wouldve been for me not to allow either of them to have the chocolate. She’s now demanding that the girls aren’t to be left alone with me and other family members are berating me for being careless. I just feel so awful and terrible and I would like an unbiased outside perspective on the situation. AITA for giving my stepdaughter a snickers bar?

Edit: I’m autistic so I struggle with faces. I am actively trying to memorize their differences.

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The post details a complicated set of circumstances, to say the least. As of this writing, it has received over 8,200 votes and 1,400 comments with the majority of readers voting the woman is NOT an a-hole.

So we turn to you, our readers — who are experts in all things food allergy — and ask: Was the stepmom at fault for the girl’s reaction and subsequent visit to the ER? Is the mom right to demand the girls not be left alone with the stepmom?

You be the judge by sounding off below.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. My feeling is she is NOT an a-hole, but needs more learning. Seems like she is still new to how severe food allergies can be, and how pre-adolescent twins can behave, and made an honest mistake. She would become the a-hole if she does not learn from this experience and does not take steps to prevent further exposure. She made a mistake and the twins made a mistake. Being both a food allergy sufferer myself and a parent of food allergy sufferers, it does happen that food-allergic persons can forget how severe food allergy can be when they are under control and have not experienced a flare in a long time. I feel it is not in our nature to fear foods so it takes taking some work to create this memory long-term to stay vigilant. I have failed many times before coming to terms that I could not eat certain things, ever. I also know of stories of people who have put their guard down and died unwittingly consuming their fatal allergen. They should be grateful that this experience was not fatal and that it can serve them all as an important reminder and learning experience.

  2. I think it depends on if there were rules in place. The parents, step parents included, should have had “house rules” in place about food. If there were rules and rules were “no allergens in the house” and “do not give nut products to either of the girls” then she is definitely the a-hole! If the house rules were “allergens are ok in the house, just be careful” and “non allergic twin can eat allergens” then she is not the a-hole. Hopefully they can all learn from this, so thankful that they are okay!

  3. The story doesn’t quite add up. I feel like some details are being left out. I agree with bio mom, no nuts in the house until the twins are older. Not an A hole but not mother of the year either.

  4. I live with a person that eats nut based products each week and I am severely allergic to nuts/tree nuts, I am very careful about things I touch that she has been around. I’ve had to go as far as washing my own dishes separately and storing the ones I use in a different spot to avoid cross contamination. Call me paranoid but I’d rather be safe than die of suffocating if I can help it. I think that’s what the Dad & Step Mom should do, get the girls on a routine now before they get any older. I don’t blame the stepmother things can be avoided if you try, I don’t think she should be able to play the autistic card as an excuse. If she knows one of girls has an allergy she shouldn’t be giving nut based food to any of them only the dad.

  5. The twins should NOT be playing a prank on the stepmom. 9 year olds are old enough to know the difference between right & wrong. Birth mom needs to educate her daughters about playing pranks in general. The stepmom is NOT the a-h**e in this situation!

  6. Well my perspective is that they all need to learn from this. No allergens in the house, those who are not allergic can eat them when visiting somewhere, or out to eat, but never at home. Each exposure can make the allergic reaction worse, so while the girl was fine this time, next time they might not be so lucky. While I don’t think step mom is an a-hole, she is undereducated with regard to food allergens, and so are the twins. Hopefully this was a wake up call for all of them to be more vigilant in the future.

  7. Nut allergy means no nuts in the house, no nuts in the car. These must be safe spaces for the kid. If you don’t provide them a safe environment they can relax in, you ARE the asshole. Any nut consumption by family members should be very limited and followed by careful washing.

  8. The stepmom is an a-hole! The rule should be “no nuts in the house or in the car.” Pregnant or not, she won’t die if she doesn’t have a snickers bar, but an allergic person might die. The father is also at fault. Why are there nuts in thevhouse when he has an allergic daughter! If they prioritize having nuts, they should not be left alone with the girls

  9. Stepmom is wrong and selfish! Dad is wrong too! No nuts in our house or car to protect our allergic son. We don’t even let guests bring in gifts with nuts-it goes straight back to their car. The identical twin thing doesn’t even matter. Stepmom and dad are not responsible adults.

  10. I’m sorry it’s like you only read half the story. Where is the responsibility for the kid? She’s not 3 or 5 she’s 9. She deliberately pretended to be a non allergic person , identified herself as such person and acted as that person by eating candy she knows she is prohibited to eat. Where is her responsibility? Although, I agree with a peanut free home, this home had not decided to do that so she was aware the candy was most likely unsafe. there are plenty of people who do not beleive in doing that and take proper steps to keep product away from allergic person. Sounds like this person did just that. Child 9 old enough to be navigating the world around her at grandmas, friends, restaurants and schools were nuts are everyday, and should know better than to pretend to be someone she’s not to consume something she is allergic too. That mother should be grateful stepmom new what to do and took proper protocol, epi, hospital ect. It the kid pulled this stuff somewhere else she might not have made it…. Yes it might be time to have a family conversation to re-examine both homes protocols so they are the same, but this kid is 100 percent responsible for the position and choices she made and the step mom should not be made the butt off this little girls horrible behavior. Stepmom was in her private bedroom when no one was supposed to be home, it’s not like she was in the kitchen slathering peanut butter on everything. Being an allergic person I’m telling you ultimately it falls on the allergic person and in this world a 9 year old she be a war vet of their allergy and know better.

  11. Firstly, we are “judging.” Any one of us could be put in a situation like that and have had the same outcome. And I’m sure we would have felt badly. Are we going to put any responsibility on the kids that switched bracelets? Also the girl is supposed to know not to eat or be around this food and she proceeds to ingest the candy? I get that she is 9, but I have 9 year old students that know what they can and cannot have or be around. They are pretty much self advocates. I have been a school nurse for 10 years and have seen these kids be very much aware of their situation. It’s unfortunate that this happend. I also wonder why they would switch bracelets and knowingly send the peanut allergy kid into the room? I’m assuming they know that’s where she has those items as they can not be kept in other parts of the home. I don’t think this step mother gave this girl the candy on purpose.

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