Monday, August 5, 2013

Time for Kindergarten :0

Hello friends!  Today was a BIG day for us.  Luca started kindergarten. He's attending a wonderful new school where I know he will learn not only academically but also learn about himself.  I've been apprehensive about the new school year beginning because unlike Luca's preschool his new school is not peanut free.

The hardest thing to wrap my head around has been school lunch. Luca has a severe peanut allergy. Antonio and I have watched him like a hawk over the past almost 6 years. Carrying an Epi Pen at all times & thoroughly inspecting everything he ingests. (yes, it's exhausting! we have a rotation of 3 trusted restaurants we exclusively eat at)  So I've been dreading the day I would leave him at his new school with the potential danger of peanuts lurking somewhere in his new environment.

His new school has been very accommodating working with us. We have taken all the recommended steps creating an action plan with his allergist for the school. His teachers have prepared for his arrival & made some necessary changes to help ensure his safety.  But still...My main concern was lunch time. So, I decided to volunteer to help his class at lunch this year. 

Holy, Moly! I did not know what I was in store for today. Adorable, pure chaos helping a group of kindergartners finish lunch in 30 minutes!  I was told by the teacher that it gets much easier by the end of the month which made me smile. 
It is funny to me that I spend my days (the last 9 years) making art for kids but besides Luca, I really don't spend much time with children.
* Side note: If you are a teacher I have the up most respect for you & what you do!

I think with all my worry around this I may have been a bit of a black cloud around this exciting, new part of his life. I am working on not obsessively worrying. When you love something as much as your child it can be hard to trust that it's all going to be all right.  But, I know that is what I need to do.

In parenting I try to remember it isn't about me it's about him & his best interest.  This usually sets me back on the right path. (when I'm not being stubborn) Isn't that really what life is all about?

Do you have a child with a severe allergy?  If so how have you handled managing that allergy & the transition into school? (Ugghh, I curl up in a ball when I think about overnights)
Do you have a child that has special needs that made the transition to kindergarten worrisome to you?

I guess I'm asking for some mommy advice.  So please share!


Elizabeth said...

My girls don't have allergies but I have a friend whose two boys have severe allergies... milk, peanuts, a whole host of stuff. It's very scary what can happen to them--doesn't take much. They are going into 3rd and 1st this year, and I think the biggest thing they have worked on with the boys is making sure the BOYS know how to evaluate a situation, speak up when they aren't sure, understand their allergies and matter-of-factly go about their business. Obviously their teachers/parents play the biggest role in their safety, but I've been impressed how they include the boys in that even now at young ages.

Jill said...

Thanks for sharing your friends approach Elizabeth. I appreciate it!

Teaching Luca to evaluate his new situation is key. Ultimately we can set a path for safety but will not be there every second.

Wonderful to hear & share how other parents handle this issue.

Nichole Jones said...

I have a good friend whose husband has a severe peanut allergy,and he is now in his thirties. He still has had a few close calls as an adult(restaurants)...scary stuff. My own son had a dairy allergy,although not severe...still enough to make him ill. I'm a teacher,and I believe the education approach works well. Everyone involved has to understand the danger to your son,most importantly he,and other children should be aware of what actually happens if he comes in contact with peanuts. Since,you are already volunteering at lunch,maybe create an artistic lesson that explains the cause and effect of his allergy...great learning opportunity for all. You will not always be able to watch your child,and even when children understand their allergy,on some levels they are not able to apply this to new or unfamiliar situations. My son knew he could not drink milk,but tried chocolate milk at a friend's house,and told me afterward that he thought it was different? I also was chaperoning a field trip,when a parent volunteer gave some children cereal bars on the bus. One student knew she was allergic to nuts,but was throwing up,and 911 call for an ambulance. She told her teacher that she didn't believe a small piece would hurt. So,make certain you try to put on your thinking like a child hat,when educating your child to evaluate "dangerous" situations. I think it can be like the focus on stranger danger...when most abductions etc., happen from people the children are not considering "strangers".