I have been sitting here going over the end of the year schedule for my elementary age kids. Summer will be here before we know it. Long days, camping, water activities and lots of family time! Then, come August, my youngest will be starting Kindergarten! I should be thrilled, right?! With all of my kids at school for part of the day, means some much-needed mom time! But no, I am terrified. I am happy to keep my youngest home with me for 3+ more years. Sounds crazy, right? The simple answer as to why is because I am a food allergy mom.
I know that with me he is safer. I can keep a very close eye on him, while teachers at school do their very best, but have 20 plus kids to watch. These thoughts were all running through my head as I stood in the registration line a few weeks ago with all my paperwork waiting for the school nurse to check that vaccinations were complete. She saw my sons health history form and proceeded to hand me all the extra paperwork for him that I need to complete before school starts. The medication authorization form, the allergy & anaphylaxis emergency care plan, and the asthma action plan. I have been through this before. His older brother has severe food allergies and asthma as well and has survived thru first grade so far this year. Even with the dreaded eating lunch at school part.
The nurse proceeds to mumble on about the fact that I need to make sure to have the forms done before the first day of school so that my son's life-saving medicine can be given if needed. And to put his name on everything because these meds are expensive (I don't really need that reminder)! I am only half listening at this point as I'm remembering the struggle to get everything done before my older son started school. The doctor signatures, the endless forms, the duplicates of all the meds to store at school, the 504 plan meeting, the numerous discussions with the teacher, refilling the safe snack bin. I get my thumbs up from the nurse and head to the next line to wait again...
I am anxious and nervous for August, and it is only April! I wonder to myself if I can handle it all again, now times 2 kids with all of the extra needs? But the answer is, and always will be, YES. I can handle it! I have to! I have to do all I can to keep my precious boys safe. And with that, it is my turn to go into the office and turn in my stack of papers as the secretary checks off that I have them all. She gives me the heads up that I got a coveted morning spot (less peanut butter hands). I say a quick hello to the Principle as she greets parents, she knows our family well because of my frequent visits, and walk out to my car. Past some moms that may just be thrilled to have one more child off to school. Most with no idea about the thoughts that go on constantly in a food allergy mom's brain.
For now, I will enjoy the end of school activities and the start of summer. But you can be sure that at the start of school, I will be making sure that both of my boys' medicine bins and safe snack/treat bins will be labeled with our Medical Alert stickers so that they are easy to find when needed and won't get mixed in with all the other school bins. One more thing to add a little bit more peace of mind to this mom.
We would love to hear what you guys do to make sure your kids are safe at school. Please comment below with your suggestions and we will do a follow-up blog post with helpful tips as it gets closer to the start of the new school year.
Thanks for reading!