Oh my goodness, where to start?
If you know me or have read where we started this journey, you know that taking the plunge to put Xander into full time Kindergarten took a huge leap of faith. Actually, up until the day before, I had no idea if I was going to send him or homeschool him. I was so nervous about it that I actually made myself sick for a week, just completely run down; exhausted mentally and physically. Than someone wise reminded me that whatever decision I made, to not make it out of FEAR and thats when it hit!
I already had all the doctor notes, medications ordered and labeled, Emergency paperwork filled out, Allergy info filled out AND had emails and meetings establishing Xander’s IEP (Individual Emergency Plan) & IHP (Individual Health Plan) with the Principal, District Nurse, Food Services & the Districts Nutritionist. Everything I could do, had been done. The hardest part and toughest decision to make, was to let go and trust that these people will take care of my child and follow the protocol we agreed upon to keep him safe.
So far, school has been good. His classroom wipes their hands clean before entering, lunch boxes or food of any type is not allowed in his room (even food related projects are being tweaked). His Epi-pen and additional meds are carried around by his teacher or whoever is in charge of lunch duty and recess. Its like the traveling Med bag! He has his own special table that thankfully the little girl he “loves” can sit with him at since she also has peanut allergies so he’s not alone. And again, I’m so thankful that this little girls mother has willingly agreed to send her daughter to school with ONLY foods that are safe for Xander since he has more allergies to stay away from.
Obviously, there are things that will come up in the year that we will have to address or adjust like class parties and field trips but we’ll tackle that when we come upon it. For now, I pray over him every morning before school and during school when he’s away from me. I have faith that God will keep him safe and that He has given us the wisdom on how to help the school and others understand the severity of food allergies. And He has given us this amazing little boy who is so smart and unafraid of speaking up for himself and making sure he is safe as well.
For anyone in the same place as I, you are not alone. The fear is real and I still feel it everyday. My heart raced just today when I saw it was the nurses office calling and I don’t think that will ever go away. But, I just want to encourage you that it can be done. That if you work with your school early on, you all can come to some type of agreement on how to protect your child as best as they can. This doesn’t mean that nothing will happen but thats where prayer comes in, so they don’t! And thats why you become the strong mama, your child’s advocate, and make sure procedures stay in place and no ones grows lax on them. To get involved with your school, join the PTA and make a difference in the food and snacks being served at special events or join as HomeRoom Mom so that you can know and be a part of what is going on in your child’s class. Its not about sitting back and letting someone else take care of your child, its about partnering with your child’s school and leading the way for others who may be in your shoes on day.0