Another school year is upon us, in fact, we are a month in already. Last night was open house for my kindergarteners and tomorrow night is my daughters “Senior Night” for field hockey. Hard to believe I have one senior and TWO kindergarteners! Wow!
Before the school year began I received a welcome letter from the girls kindergarten teacher which indicated that we would have “class snack” again this year. We did this last year and because we were relying on other parents to provide a suitable snack for my celiac child, we also had to provide gluten free snacks for her to have a special stash because most parents don’t know what gluten is let alone know how to provide a gluten free snack for a whole class of little kids. Basically, twice a month I brought in snack for the whole class then also had to provide a snack for my daughter every day. I wasn’t really thrilled about that.
So this year when I got the notice I emailed the teacher intending to opt out and just bring in a snack for my girls and forget the class snack thing. I was surprised when their teacher promptly emailed me back at 10pm to say that she was happy to change the policy and would send home a notice on the first day of school. She also wanted to meet with me to talk about my daughters needs. Well blow me down (does that phrase age me? ) I was impressed.
As it turns out we also have a child with severe peanut and tree nut allergies in the class. He was in class with the girls last year so we were used to peanut free snacks too. His mom found nut free gluten free cake mix and even made mini cupcakes for the class to try during kindergarten orientation. She apparently likes to make cupcakes so much so volunteered to make them for any parent not comfortable with making them for their child’s classroom celebration. I don’t bake. My husband made them for my girls birthday the following week. And just in case you are wondering, Pillsbury makes gluten free Funfetti cupcake mix. I ate it and didn’t get sick. It’s kind of awesome if you make the mini cupcakes…
Overall, this is working well. Unfortunately, the third child to have a class birthday brought in store bought cupcakes that were neither gluten nor peanut free despite a call from the teacher beforehand and assuring the teacher she understood. I don’t get that exactly but peanut allergy kid’s mom came to the rescue and made some Funfetti GF cookies. She rocks (and is a stay at home mom).
Then, we went to open house last night. There was a sign up for a “special snack” for their Halloween party. Included on the list were Goldfish crackers and Pretzels. <Head smack>
I don’t blame the teacher. She hasn’t dealt with this before and someone else told her that these were gluten free. So I gently corrected her and followed up with an email offering some options as well as offering to bring in truly gluten and peanut free choices to use for the special snack. I don’t bake, but I can shop. I haven’t heard back yet.
This is what parents of kids with food intolerances and allergies live with all. the. time. Ugh. It never ends. I can’t imagine what it’s like for parents of kids with life threatening allergies. Fearing a day of barfing and weeks of constipation and behavior changes as well as long term gut damage is bad enough. TYVM.
So what to do?
And educate some more.
We have to be proactive. Always. Never assume someone else knows how to handle your child’s allergy. Ask questions. Provide correct information kindly. Ask more questions. Talk to your school nurse. She may need more information also. Provide it. Be adamant that your child’s precautions are met. Even one exposure is unacceptable. We can’t afford to lose even one more kid to an allergic reaction.
So in case you are wondering about the cookies in the pic above, I had them for my snack today (they are supposed to be for the kids. Lucy’s brand in case you can’t see the whole picture). They are awesome. You’re welcome.