My Fabulous Life

WOWBUTTER – Promoted as Safe For School But Makes This Mom Uneasy

wowbutterI’m very excited about a new product I picked up yesterday!  WOWBUTTER is a soy-based peanut butter alternative that tastes like peanut butter (well, mostly) but more importantly it’s a safe product my entire family can eat.

You see, my 5 year old daughter has had a nut allergy since she was a year old.

No, I didn’t give her nuts at that age – we found out while running other allergy tests so thankfully I never had to deal with a frightening nut reaction.  Instead, I got the cold sweats when her pediatric allergist handed me a prescription for an EpiPen and explained how much time I’d have to get her to a hospital, should she have a severe reaction.

So, we look for alternatives and explain to family, friends, and teachers why my daughter has to avoid nuts at all costs.

Fortunately, all the schools in my area have a nut-free policy. No nuts are allowed at school.  While it may tick off some parents, I will loudly state that my daughter’s life is far more important to me than your little darling’s distaste for peanut-butter-free sandwiches.  Deal with it.

I noticed something interesting on my new purchase.  WOWBUTTER comes with stickers that you can place on your lunch container, stating that while what’s inside may look like peanut-butter, it’s not.  It’s safe.

The company also has printable letters for the school to “keep on file” and also a FAQ page to print.  Oh, and a classroom poster.  While this is done of course to educate, it’s also done to market.  What better way to promote your product than a poster to advertise it in the classroom!

Note: We have successfully addressed every issue that a school may have regarding the use of WOWBUTTER. If you do encounter resistance for this product at your school, ask them to review this entire website including the “Information for School Principals” section and challenge them to provide you with a valid reason in writing why they are not willing to work with this AWARD WINNING School Lunch Procedure solution like other schools are doing for the benefit of the entire school community. The FAQ section does provide answers to many of the most commonly asked questions.

Look, as a mom of a child with a nut-allergy, I get that this product is a good thing.  Having nut alternatives is fabulous, especially if they don’t taste like cardboard and actually mimic peanut butter in taste and texture.  Our family appreciates that – I love a good peanut butter and banana topping on toast but for 4 years now we haven’t had actual peanut butter in our house, so WOWBUTTER  may be a great new addition to our pantry.

I just get very very nervous when the company encourages you to bring this product to school, and I won’t be sending it with my kids.

Why?  Because for one, little Johnny sitting beside my son may not understand that the sandwich is made of a soy-nut product when it looks and smells like peanut butter.  Johnny will then go home to his mom and say that my son had peanut butter.  Mom, thinking “if one kid does it, mine can too” then sends a peanut butter sandwich to school with her son.

Or – parents understand that soy-nut butter is being sent and wonder how difficult it would be to slip in a peanut butter sandwich in their kid’s lunch.  After all, no one in THAT class has a nut-allergy.  Unfortunately, contact occurs elsewhere and a child has an anaphylactic attack on the playground.

It’s just a slippery slope to me.  While a school would be hard pressed to state “No peanut butter or nut products and no nut-alternatives or peanut-butter-looking products” as a mom I just think avoiding the whole issue altogether is a more sensible – and safe- route.

What about you?  If you’re a parent of a child with a nut-allergy, are products this a good thing to send to school or no?


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  • we dont have nut allergies and our school can have peanut butter first i thought this is a great product adn idea..but as you said it looks smells and tastes like pbutter ,, so what to stop other s from send the real deal adn sneaking it in.. it really does open up a who new can of worms there..

    • Do you not know whether or not your school is peanut aware? Peanut aware should be a given – common knowledge. Why would you send peanut butter to a peanut aware school?

    • It is unfortunate that parents have actually send real peanut butter sandwiches to school saying it was Wow Butter when it was not so that can of worms has been opened many times and in our area Wow has been banned in our board. My children do not have any peanut allergies but to think that a mother would tempt to do such a dangerous act is unbelievable!

  • My older daughter has a peanut allergy, we bought something similar to this at one point and she didn’t like it. I couldn’t bring myself to taste it (lol) but she really didn’t like the consistency anyway.
    I believe there is a product (think it may be this Wow butter) that comes with stickers that say that the product is NOT peanut butter which would help in the school (not saying it won’t stop that can of worms from opening though).
    After having said that, my daughther can’t eat WOW butter now even if she wanted too. She is also allergic to soy, it is in the peanut family!

    • I’m sorry to hear that Deanne! Soy seems to be in a LOT of products too so that must be difficult.

      My daughter’s highest indicators are for hazelnuts, which as we know, Nutella is made of! Ask me how many kids eat nutella….

      I miss that chocolately goodness in our household along with peanut butter!

      • Soy Lecitin is in EVERYTHING. My daughter is 14 now and we just found out about the soy allergy, peanut we found out at 1 year old!
        I will not cut out everything that has soy as she has been eatting it all along but she can’t eat an actual soy bean or have anything that has soy protein powder in it (most breakfast drinks etc.)
        I am thankfull every day that she is not anaphylactic , we are still extremely careful mind you and have not had to use her EpiPen despite her having ingested actual peanuts a couple of times in her 14 years (phew).

        The peanut “ban” is school board wide, it is up to the school itself to decide about other nuts. The elementary school my youngest goes to just last year became peanut AND nut free … there are a few students in the school that have nut allergies and students were allowed to bring Nutella :S Made my eyes twitch!

      • And what family is the pea from? You’ve got it another legume. Just because you are allergic to peanut protein does not mean you are allergic to other legume proteins like soy and peas.

  • Our school board has banned the use of any peanut butter substitute, not for the very valid reason you just stated, but rather because they say it is difficult for the teachers and lunch room monitors to tell the difference. I find that hard to accept because I have purchased this PBSubstitute and to me it does NOT smell like peanut butter, it looks and acts like peanut butter but there is a distinctly different smell. I do agree though, better to just not have any then to start mass confusion and possible allergic reactions. Nut allergies are so very scary!

    • I love this! I’m thrilled that substitutes are being banned as well.

      I agree that some don’t smell like peanut butter but some do! The best way I can describe it is that the best peanut-butter alternatives smell like the worst no-name brand peanut butters, LOL!

    • Both of my son’s schools have banned substitutes, as well. I have a jar of WoWButter in the cupboard and both of my sons don’t really like it. I plan on using it to make cookies out of them to see if they taste like PB cookies. I’d hate to throw it out.

      • Why ban substitutes? Do the administrators not educate anaphylaxis and the fact that their school is peanut aware? What are schools for if they can’t get messages as important as that across?

  • LOL I guess I should have completely read what you wrote!
    Too quick on the draw!

    Our schools here in Ontario are Peanut Free … not Nut free! Drives me crazy!

  • I was thrilled when my sister told me about WOWbutter, not because we’ve got nut allergies, but because I have a kid who will eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, who is going to have to start taking lunch to school next year. I totally agree that children with allergies lives are *far* more important than sending a peanut butter sandwich to school, so for me, this seemed like the perfect solution. You raise a good point though; I hadn’t considered that anyone would try to “sneak in” a peanut butter sandwich. That seems a little nuts. (pardon the pun.) It stinks though, because this *should* be a legitimate workable alternative.

  • As the mother of a vegetarian, I’m thrilled to see products like this. I look for quick lunch options for her which don’t include cheese. My children have tried sunflower butter and liked it so we might try this product.

    Our school has already banned all foods containing nuts. It would be going too far to also ban products that look like nut products. Where does it end?

  • I have very mixed feelings about this. I do not have children with food allergies but I did as a child (have outgrown) and have one friend in particular who has a multitude of severe food allergies between her children (including anaphylactic egg and nut allergies). She has spent a tremendous amount of time educating her girls about how they can protect themselves from contacting their allergens, even though the school has a nut-free policy (no policy on eggs even though it is life-threatening for her daughter). If the school felt compelled to ban a nut-free substitute because a few idiot parents would try to sneak in nuts products, perhaps the school needs to explore other avenues in educating the parents on just how serious this is for some children and maybe even go so car as to show pictures of the kids with severe allergies – putting a face to a policy may make it sunk in more with resistant parents. Does that mean that in order to protect her child with a severe egg allergy, all bread/cakes/pudding/etc should be banned in case someone tries to sneak in food that contains eggs? Almond meal is used in a lot of gluten-free baking – should they ban all baked goods too in case someone sneaks in almond meal? I do believe there are extra steps the kids in her daughters class have to take at meal time (extra hand washing, etc) and they all know why it’s important not to bring those products to school because it could kill poor Katie. As for hanging a poster in the classroom touting a certain product, brilliant play by WowButter. Not sure if I’d like to see it hanging in my child’s classroom where parents may never see it, but if I had not known about it, I would be more than ok with a specific product being named in say a newsletter/orientation pkg.

    • Some good points contained there Kelly about ingredients in other products and where does it end, I hear you! Tough call for sure.

    • Banners and posters in a classroom are not necessary as an education process about a safe product. No peanut products should be the message where students could be subjected to peanut protein that could cause anaphylaxis. Let parents find products that are good for their children and they will eat. When talking about lunches, there is nothing worse than having lunch come back home especially the food they need for good health.

  • Both of my sons have a severe nut allergy (ALL nuts!), so we have been nut free in our house for five. Years (we found out my oldest son the same way as you – testing for other allergies). Neither of my daughters are allergic to nuts, but we obviously don’t have peanut butter in our home. My oldest daughter LOVES the peanut butter substitute we have here at the house, but we don’t let her take it to school for the exact reasons you said. Our elementary school is supposed to be nut free, but parents already ignore that rule. We don’t want to make it worse by having the sister of the boy with nut allergies bringing something similar tonPB to school, because people sadly sometimes decide something first, and ask questions later! It’s already a battle for me about talking with parents about the dangers of nuts, and sadly it is not understood (or even believed) in my area at all. So since I have hopped into the role of “nut allergy educator”, we figure its best to just leave that stuff at home

  • I’m a total rule follower so I would never consider sneaking peanut butter into the school. But, I get that some may. We don’t have allergies in our family but there are children in my girls’ school with severe peanut allergies. My youngest loves peanut butter and cucumber (don’t ask!) sandwiches. When I gave her a Wowbutter and cucumber sandwich she loved it! She is extremely picky, but I would have never snuck in peanut butter for her. I did however educate her on what can happen with peanut allergies and told her that the Wowbutter has no peanuts. The first time I sent it with her I sent a note to the lunch teacher telling her what it was in case she was concerned. I also put the stickers on her sandwiches. She has told all her lunch mates that her sandwich is not peanut butter, but Wowbutter , which has no peanuts. It’s hard to ban something that is nut free, because that is what it is for. There are so many different allergies out there that banning something that is meant to be used in cases of allergies doesn’t make sense to me. If a parent thinks that it is okay to send a peanut butter sandwich because their little Jimmy comes home to tell them tht little Tommy brought one, then that’s ridiculous! I would never consider putting another child’s life in danger because my child told me it’s okay! If I really wondered about it I would call the school and ask about it! But, like I said, I don’t get people who don’t follow the rules so maybe I’m wrong.

    • Peanut butter and cucumber sandwiches, YUMMY!!! I used to eat those all the time as a kid, now as a mom I have a little one allergic to peanuts so no pb & cucumber sandwiches 🙁

  • It is a tough situation. I don’t have children in public school, but I would think allowing peanut butter “substitutes” would lead to problems as stated by the previous posters.
    And then there is the whole soy issue. The subsidized wonder bean. Not.

  • We’re in Ontario and our school is nut and nut substitute free. My eldest son also has a severe peanut allergy and lives with autism. Sadly, we were not lucky enough to have found out during routine testing… we’ve had 2 major visits to the hospital and I have had to use his epi pen on him.

    I appreciate our school being substitute free because his autism and developmental delays mean that he still doesn’t quite “get it” yet when it comes to his allergy. I’m counting on the school to help keep him safe. As they move to higher grades and all kids have been properly educated, I’ve got no problem with other people around him using these products.

    For school boards who only have a peanut-free policy, these marketing materials make sense! Our school board will send home advertisements from for-profit museums and amusement parks in our area (without any payment from the company) so why not advertise something that could actually be beneficial in the fight against allergies and the parents who think their child is missing out because they can’t have peanut butter at school.

    • We have autism in our extended family too so I understand your comment. However, if the school is peanut aware and educates no peanuts then why suggest that parents not send substitutes? You know, there is no law that says you cannot take any food to school including peanut butter. Why not encourage foods that kids love and are safe? Work together instead of putting walls. It might be a suggestion to stop saying no and educating how or why…………..

  • I’ll be in the minority here, but I’d still like to be able to send a peanut butter sandwich to school with my kid. All these rules make me envision a society where we would all eat modified paste for lunch if it was the only thing that nobody was allergic to.

    • The think about nut allergies that make it worse than someother allergies is that in many cases the person with the allergies doesn’t even have to ingest any. I have a friend who had a reaction because he opened a door that someone had opened after eating a peanut butter cookie. I have no allergies but I sure don’t want to be the reason for someone else’s hospital visit!

      • Peanut aware schools are to help reduce the risk of anaphylaxis. Do you know what anaphylaxis is? Will smell cause anaphylaxis or physiological and psychological reactions similar to an anaphylactic attack?

    • I agree with you Laura. I am not a great fan of PBJ sandwiches, but I am worried, if I slowly keep limiting my child’s diet to adjust to allergies he doesn’t even have, what choices will I be left with?

  • The parent who would sneak pb in their child’s lunch if pb alternatives ARE allowed is the same parent who would sneak pb in their child’s lunch if pb alternatives weren’t allowed at all. A person who doesn’t care doesn’t care, right?

    If pb substitutes gain popularity and are correctly identified (ie: with the Wowbutter sticker) — then what’s the problem?!?!

    My daughter has a dairy allergy and so she drinks almond milk exclusively — in fact our whole family does. What if someone brings a thermos of milk to school? Should milk be banned because it looks like almond milk? I understand banning peanut butter, but to ban peanut butter alternatives too doesn’t make sense to me. Like some previous posters I think if this is the direction we’re headed before you know it ***everything will be banned***.

  • I have Wowbutter at home as well. A friend whose son has a severe nut allergy put me onto it as a great substitute. My son likes it and ‘fake’ PB and J sandwiches are in the lunch rotation. The stickers are brilliant! I used to send a brand called ‘no nuts’ made from brown peas and sent. Note to the teacher the first day advising what it was. These stickers go on my Tupperware containers and have never washed off.
    I am pro the nut ban. I would be against banning substitutes. Banning because they look too much like the real deal? I just find that a bit too controlling. Apple butter could get confused for almond and so on. How about hummus? It can look similar at a quick glance. And if you have a parent who is the type that wants to sneak in real stuff they aren’t going to wait for my fake PB as their excuse. It just seems a bit far fetched.
    And FYI, I am allergic myself.

  • Both of my boys are peanut/nut allergic (among other things) and luckily we found out the way you did – by the testing. Although they also can’t eat eggs and I found that out the hard way with my younger one. That was a 911 call. They are only 4 and 6 and while I’m teaching them to be aware, they’re too young to be responsible. We do not have a peanut or nut ban in our school. The principal says they are nut ‘aware’ which means they tell kids about it. There is another child in grade 1 with the same allergies, so we have those two classrooms and the onsite daycare designated peanut/nut free and my son’s class doesn’t bring in sesame seeds, either.

    I like the idea of a substitute and many of our friends and the boys’ playmates use that. For those that don’t they don’t bring it to school and they are so great at washing up (even brushing teeth before coming to school if they had peanut butter toast). The kids do better sometimes than the parents. I do agree, though, that there will be those that will sneak it in. (but some do anyway – we have one boy who had to eat in the hall since his parent kept sending PBJ sandwiches – frustrating!) You get to know the others in the same boat as you, and it has happened. The parents say its Wowbutter but well, it’s not. Education is the key – if only they realized the reality of it. As kids grow they are better able to equip themselves, but especially when they are little, they need us to protect them.

    I always tell them ‘missing out on PB sandwich isn’t going to kill your child, but having them bring it to the classroom just might kill mine.

    And we deal with other allergies in the school – it’s just that peanut butter is so transferable to surfaces, hands, etc. Whereas the majority of other severe allergens are not. End of the day – shouldn’t we all really just do what needs to be done to protect the kids and teach everyone how to be safe along the way? That way they all grow up . And then it’s up to them. Sorry for the ramble – I’m pretty passionate about it. 🙂

    And here’s to hoping they either outgrow it or we figure out how to prevent it so we don’t keep the numbers climbing like they are.

  • I have 4 kids and they are all in the allergy scale, 3 with peanut, 2 with milk, 2 with soy, 1 with nuts, 1 with sunflower and sesame seeds, 1 with peas (same family as peanuts wouldn’t you know it, peanuts aren’t a nut at all), 1 with eggs, 1 with apples, plus a longer list of mild allergies that i often times can ignore. Now you’d like to think these allergies were all nice and organized, but they are not, each kid is different. I always swore I was going to make them business cards with their own personal lists so that myself and anyone they are visiting is aware. But the point I wanted to make is that I’m glad schools are banning peanuts/nuts, and you might ask well what about eggs, or milk etc… Although my home is filled with very severe allergies and everyone has epipens, peanuts are the only thing in my BANNED from my home. The problem with this type of allergy is that it oil based, and the tiniest amount of residue or oil stays on surfaces etc for a very longtime. And children are not always able to wash their hands well enough for it to be completely gone. I also hear a lot of talk about these kids with allergies need to know and be aware and take care of themselves, and then I hear people on the other side who have children with allergies who say my kid is little they can’t know, and be aware. My son is 2 from the moment he could talk he was able to tell me ” NO, that will kill me” and he’s caught me putting the wrong milk in his cereal, if you make sure they know how important it is they will be aware of themselves. None of my kids eat anything at school that is not made by me. My daughter is in kindergarten and her teacher is amazing and always in contact with me about treats etc… And she thinks it so amazing how many questions my daughter asks about tears even when it is the teacher who offers it to her. There have been times when my daughter has brought home a treat because she wasn’t 100% comfortable with the teachers division. We need education on both sides about how severe these allergies can be and also about how we can avoid making it “too hard” on other parents who are just trying to work within these bans that are already in place. It is such a slippery slope.

  • I have one child who is now 16 with a severe peanut allergy. We found out when he was four and had his first peanut and had a reaction (burning tongue and vomiting) but no trip to the ER. I suspected that he had the allergy (I had a childhood friend with a nut allergy so I was aware of the symptoms) and had him tested. We live in Alberta and the schools here are NOT peanut free, the best they will do is send a letter home at the beginning of the school year asking parents not to send peanut/nut products. I was fortunate that my child would not take food from anyone (family included) if they even hesitated when he asked if there could be nut or nut products in it, but I was always concerned with the child that came to school with a peanut butter sandwich (they had to sit on the floor in the hall to eat their lunch) and did not wash their hands and face thoroughly afterwards.

    Once he was in junior high, the school concession actually gave out bagels and peanut butter to those students who didn’t come with a lunch. When I questioned this, I was told their main concern was to provide a nutrious item to those children who came without a lunch. My child’s life wasn’t as important as feeding a child who came without (there are other alternatives for them).

    I consider us lucky that we have never had to use his epipen or make a trip to the ER, (part is training on our part and the other is pure luck). With food allergies on the rise, I believe it is common courtesy to be aware of what others can and cannot eat; this isn’t always a choice or a “picky eater”, it could be life or death for some. But we all seem to have to accommodate the self centered individuals who can’t be inconvienced by something as “silly” as a food allergy. What a sad world we live in.

    • Great post Sheryl! I’m sorry, and shocked, to hear that schools in Alberta are not peanut free! Is this a division thing or a provincial thing? I’ve said before that if my child’s school decided to change policy and not make it peanut free, I’d switch schools. 🙁 Hugs to you, and high five for being a warrior mom!

      • Hi,
        I believe it is a district policy (Edmonton Catholic), but I also believe this is the case for Edmonton Public as well. All we can hope for is an understanding teacher who is vigilent about enforcing the policy in their classroom. The other big concern for me, in elementary school is that all students eat lunch in their classrooms and would only be one teacher per section of school on supervision. Each classroom was supervised by lunch monitors who were grade five or six students. When my son was in grade five, his classroom was a detached portable. The supervising teacher may or may not have made it to their classroom in a lunch hour. I went to school during the lunch hour every day for grades 1 through 5 as an added precaution. Many asked me why I would do that (and teachers asked me not to come at all), My response was always “my child’s healt, safety and happiness is my number one responsiblity”. He did not feel safe at lunch time. I would do anything for my child and that will never change.

        • You’re a good mom Sheryl! I’m annoyed that teachers would ask you not to come. I’m sure they thought you were being a helicopter mom, but until it’s your child with a life-threatening allergy there’s just no way you can have a clue of what that feels like.

  • I have the same concerns that were written about in this posting.
    I have a daughter that has a severe anaphylaxis allergy to peanuts. Her school/classroom has a peanut free policy.

    At pick up the other day her teacher addressed a parent “please do not pack anymore peanut butter sandwiches, they are not allowed.” She went on to mention alternatives to the parent, that were acceptable within the classroom environment. The parents response to not being allowed was “I know”, when told alternatives it was the same “I know”.
    I was seething!!!
    The next day, the teacher communicated to me that the child ran to her with his mouth covered (sandwich still wrapped) and tossed the sandwich at the teacher saying “I can’t eat this, it’s dangerous, I can’t eat this!”
    I was emotional to hear that a child of 5 yrs did this. However, I question what kind of example is the parent setting for her child? That others around you don’t matter? That her child’s need to eat is more important than another child’s life? Was the parent trying to “sneak” peanut butter into the classroom?
    I think the only way the parent would change is if the teacher had have said ” I am sorry, your child may be a little hungrier than normal this afternoon as they weren’t able to eat their lunch b/c it was a peanut butter sandwich and we do not allow peanuts within the classroom.

    Call me harsh but I think the only way through to some of these parents is when “their” child is affected, otherwise, they don’t care and their actions don’t change.

  • ” While it may tick off some parents, I will loudly state that my daughter’s life is far more important to me than your little darling’s distaste for peanut-butter-free sandwiches. Deal with it.”

    I agree that children need to be sensitive and adjust if there is a child with some allergy or sickness, but the way you said it, sounds demanding and rude. “Deal with it”?? Who???

    It is extremely impossible to remove ALL traces of nuts from lunchboxes. The only way is to eat uncooked vegetables and fruits for lunch. My neighbor gives her kids almonds every morning before school because it has good oils and fat and she is a working mom who doesn’t have time for elaborate lunches and offers energy packed, healthy bites. So what if kids happened to share water bottles after eating almonds? I think a long term solution would be to have nut and nut-free classes separately instead of having all together in the same class. I give nut-free lunches fro my son as I understand and respect the school policy, but incidents can be avoided if they have completely separate classes at least till grade 5 or 6. I do not even consider PBJ as a food, let it alone “healthy”. But this argument of who has to adjust for what will not go anywhere “together”.

  • I am curious, how did this product actually taste? My 4 y/o son is a Peanut Butter addict! He will start Pre-K next year at the public school in our area and everytime I look at their school lunch menu, I break out in a cold sweat at all of the things that he wont eat. (Ok, not really but their are some pretty questionable choices on there) Even at home he eats peanut butter at least once a day. I am not yet familiar with our districts policy on PB substitutions, but before I try it out on him, I was just wondering what it tastes like. Also, I didn’t know if some of you noticed that WOWButter will actually send a sample kit, along with information about its product to your school. Maybe that will help to educate some of the more lackluster parents.

    I agree that a childs safety comes first, especially at school, and peanut bans are a neccessity if there is an allergy present, however there seems to be so many allergies now that were not an issue when I was a child. I just wonder why that is.

    • It tastes very close to peanut butter – but I rarely have “real” peanut butter myself anymore so take my opinion with a grain of salt!

  • It is important to have posts like this to help with knowledge and education as we must live together and that takes working together. Our children are all at risk with the decisions made at schools. Health, obesity, attention span, anxiety, food disorders, diabetes, allergies are all related to food. There are some parents that have few food choices because of multiple allergies and schools that suggest the banning of more than peanut and tree nut products. Think beyond yourself. No peanuts, peanut aware was started to help reduce the risk of peanut anaphylaxis. It was because of the severity and reaction time of the body of the victim to the ingested peanut protein. Let us not confuse the issue. Tree nuts were banned because most facilities that process nuts process penuts too.

  • What a gong show… If your school is nut aware, then don’t send it. Simple! This company comes up with a creative idea to get a healthy substitute into schools and make it easy for teachers to tell the difference, and yet we still continue to now worry that reckless parents will send peanut butter sandwiches anyway. Personally, I would be listening to the school mandate on the subject and not listening to what little johnny tells me his friend brought for lunch.

    Both me and my 3 year old daughter are severely allergic to peanuts and we use Wow Butter all the time… if her school says she can’t bring this alternative I’m going to lose my mind on someone.