Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School was "Great!"

Abigail got off the bus last Wednesday, the first day of school, all smiles.  What a relief to hear that the first day of school was "great!"  The last couple of days have also been successful with the making of new friends, learning a new schedule and getting back into a routine.  I'm so pleased that everything is going smoothly for her.  These early days of school really can set the tone for the entire year.

Apparently, there are actually four kids with peanut allergies in her class.  It makes me wonder if the school system decided to put all of the peanut allergy kids within a grade level together this year. Abigail did tell me though that she's the only one with an EpiPen in the class.

I've been pretty impressed so far with Abigail's teacher. She came home with stories about how her teacher is using a Clorox wipe to clean the section of the table where they eat and then having each of the kids in the class use a wipe to clean their hands on the way out of the cafeteria back to the classroom.  I had told her teacher that hand sanitizer does not remove the peanut allergen, that only hand washing and wipes work, but didn't make any specific requests.  FYI, if you want to share this information with your child's teacher, here's a link to a Johns Hopkins study with the details.    

I will say, I was a bit taken aback on Friday when I was e-mailing her teacher to confirm a date to come in and talk with the kids.  Apparently, changes have been made within the county school system requiring permission from the parents.  Per the Principal, she asked that I draft a note that would go home with each child stating what I intended to discuss that they would then sign giving their permission for their child to listen and participate in a food allergy discussion....or not.  Granted, I may have had too grand of plans with a possible showing of a video, discussing the FAAN "Be a PAL" brochure, passing around the Epi trainer and then handing out a certificate, but I was in the process of scaling back.  After previewing the video (I'll review it in another post), I'd decided not to use it.  I also thought that it might be better to give the certificate to each child at the end of the school year like last year.  I haven't drafted a note yet.  That request really knocked the wind out of my sails.

Oh yeah, I also got a phone call the first day of school from the nurse.  As soon as she identified herself, I realized my mistake.  I'd spent hours pulling together the necessary medicines, documents and meeting with the teacher, but had forgotten to include the nurse in any of my preparations.  After thinking I'd dotted all "i's" and crossed all "t's", I was back at the school last week, completing a separate action plan and making amends with the nurse.  You'd think this whole process would get easier each year!

I can really sympathize with a mom's feeling of anxiety over sending her food allergic Kindergartner to elementary school for the first time.  It's over-whelming even for a seasoned mom.