Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1st day of Kindergarten with food allergies.

Today was Alexa's first day of Kindergarten. I packed her a lunch, brought her Epi-Pens, 504 plan, Allergy action plan, and Benadryl. She was so excited. It was a real pleasure to see her so happy. But I was filled with apprehension. I pulled the teacher aside (no small feat in room with 60 people!), introduced myself, explained that Alexa had multiple food allergies and showed her the Epi-Pens. The teacher barely glanced at the Allergy Action plan (which lists her allergies) and said "ok, good. Put it in her cubby". She then asked if I had talked to the parent coordinator. I explained that I had-and that I brought everything she requested and she said "ok, good. We'll post this on Monday." I asked if they would be eating in the classroom, since it was a half day, and she said "just snack". So of course, I checked the snack, approved it and told Alexa it was safe for her to eat. We were good to go and I was feeling confident! I gave her hugs and kisses and off I went until pick up time. I was relaxed and relieved. When I picked her up she was smiling and very happy. She had a great first morning and I was happy to head home knowing we had a great first day! As we walked to the subway I asked her, "What did you have for snack today? Pirate's Booty?" I fully expected her response to be "yep!" instead I heard, "No-they wouldn't let me eat it-it had soy oil in it-I had pretzels." I literally stopped in my tracks. I had NOT approved any pretzels. Or even glanced at any pretzels or seen them in the room. They could have had sesame seeds on them or been made with egg or on the same equipment as peanuts! UGH!! So I asked her again "really? pretzels? but honey, you can eat soy oil, that's ok for you and you eat Pirates Booty all the time. Why didn't you eat the Pirates Booty?" "oh" she said. "I thought they were the ones with soy." Immediately I began asking 50 questions, "ok-what kind of pretzels were they? What did they look like? Do you remember the name? Are you sure they were the same kind you eat at home? How do you know that?" Then I realized I might be freaking her out and said "Well-you seem ok-and feel fine so-we'll talk about it later and I'll talk to the teacher." After calming down and letting a little time pass, I talked to her about it again. It seems she became nervous that it may have been "veggie booty" (which contains soy) and NOT the regular Pirates Booty she eats at home so she decided not to eat it. Apparently the teachers showed her some pretzels and because they looked exactly like the ones I give her she assumed they were safe. Thank God they were. I can't begin to tell you how frustrating, upsetting and frightening this situation can be. I've since calmed down but now realize I will have to be much more vigilant and direct with the school. I hope that a good conversation on Monday and a supply of safe snacks will prevent this from happening again and I thank God my baby has a guardian angel on her shoulder and that she did not get sick today.

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