Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is fixable. But GRRRRRR I am so mad!

If I had written this post six hours ago, it would've been filled with profanities, so let's all be happy that I didn't have time until now.

Here's the short, cut to the chase version of the story:
Georgia started a new (one day a week) drop-off preschool program today where lunch is served. (God forbid the children go more than an hour and a half without eating, but I digress.) We spoke to the teacher about her allergies beforehand and sent her off to school with her own brown bag lunch. She comes home reporting that "she ate some of the school's food" because they told her it was okay because "nothing they serve has peanuts in it."

Ugh. This is beyond aggravating. There was obviously some kind of miscommunication between us and the teacher. We'll fix it. And no one was hurt, and nothing went wrong, so yeah, I've calmed down (a little) now.

But I was majorly annoyed because:

1) Food allergies suck. Our daughter has had trouble transitioning to a school setting (or any group activity away from mommy and daddy for that matter), so I would really rather have everyone's focus at the school be on her social/emotional development, and how she's doing, and what we can all do to help her feel more comfortable and less anxious, but instead, nearly all of our conversations with the school thus far have been about freakin' FOOD. And I feel I have no choice in that matter, because her health and safety is paramount. But I hate it that it's Day 1 and we're probably already becoming "those food allergy parents" in the teacher's mind, plus I could hardly even focus on the positives of how Georgia's first day went, because it was all overshadowed by dealing with this food mess.

2) I'm p.o.'d that the teacher undercut our instructions to our own daughter, although I'm sure it was unintentional on their part, and thankfully, Georgia was pretty much unphased by the whole thing. Still, how confusing must it be for her when mommy and daddy send her off with a packed lunch and tell her not to eat the school's food, and then her teacher tells her the complete opposite? She's only 3, can't read, and has to rely on adults to protect her, so it's not helpful to send her mixed messages.

3) Grrr...peanuts, peanuts, peanuts. Yeah, yeah, it's so great that there's a lot of peanut allergy awareness out there now. But I've got two beefs about it. One, it gives people a false sense of security and confidence, so they say things like, "this food is peanut free!" and forget to read labels, or think about cross contamination or how the food was processed or cooked. Two, I think peanut allergy awareness is causing people to space out about OTHER allergies. Georgia's allergic to four kinds of food, so please don't give her the wrong idea by handing her something and saying, "You can eat it, because it doesn't have peanuts." In this particular instance, I'd be more forgiving of it as an innocent mistake if my husband hadn't already explicitly discussed Georgia's multiple food allergies with the teacher beforehand, and if we hadn't been required by the school to submit medication authorization forms and a food allergy action plan signed by her doctor.

So there you go. Just had to vent. I feel better now. We'll get it all worked out super tactfully and amicably with the school by next week I'm sure.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Oh man, Kate. I am SO sorry!! That totally sucks and I can imagine you were super frustrated. I don't think you should worry about being "those" parents though (I'm sure that's the least of your worries anyway)...who cares what the teachers think, especially in a case like this! The main thing I don't understand is what did they feed her and why?! If you had packed her own lunch why did they even feel the need to give her some of theirs? So strange to me...we have some kids at church with allergies and I am always SO scared to feed them anything without being told it's okay first.

I really hope the report on how Georgia did otherwise is better than this one!!