Nowheymama is happy to present Katherine's first week of school, the semi-condensed version.
August 29: Met with Katherine's teacher, the Kindergarten secretary (our school district has a Kindergarten-only center), and the school district nurse (one nurse for five school buildings spread across town). Was less than pleased when the nurse said, "It's so nice to meet you," and I had to remind her that we've met. And spoken on the phone. Several times. Although Nurse had initially been the most helpful (as compared to Principal, who was absent from the meeting, and Superintendent's office), in this meeting she was obstructionist. She was concerned about the medications (Benadryl, TwinJect, and hydrocortisone) being in the classroom. Teacher wanted them in the classroom and was fine with it.
Nurse: "I just don't want to have to create a new policy for first grade, second grade and so on. I think whatever we do this year should be the policy from now on."
Nowheymama: "Yes, that's why the medication needs to be in the classroom as her doctor stated in his letter, the original copy of which you should have in Katherine's file."
(Don't mess with a protective mama and her raging pregnancy hormones, lady.)
Nurse "introduced" me to FAAN and remarked on how helpful their information is. "This document lists all of the stages of reaction you were just talking about, Mrs. Hatfield!" You don't say. I agreed that they are quite helpful, and hopefully did not express inner sarcasm.
Teacher was totally on my wavelength and was suggesting things before I could. I will go on all field trips. I will help with all classroom parties/activities. I will provide foods for K. to have during birthday parties, etc. Teacher will leave a note taped to her desk detailing K's allergy for any substitute teachers, and Secretary knows the treatment procedures, as does the teacher in the next classroom. Teacher encouraged me to call anytime and assured me she will do the same. I leave the meeting feeling hopeful.
August 30: Katherine and I attend Kindergarten orientation, which has been shortened to 45 minutes from its usual 90-minute length. I give Teacher K's box of meds, turn in the FAAN Food Allergy sheet to Nurse, and get clearance forms from Secretary. The chaos of the event worries me a bit, and I decide to speak with Teacher the next morning before school when I drop off K. Today is also K's sixth birthday. Apparently, we are "redshirting." Who knew? But I say this: her birthday is close to the cutoff date, and I wanted her to have another year to learn about her allergy before we sent her to school. Her understanding has increased so much. She sometimes even double-checks if something has dairy when I give it to her. This breaks my heart, but it also makes me so proud. This is what parents want: independent, free-thinking children who know how to care for themselves.
September 4: Scott and I drop off Katherine for her first day of school. After leaving her in the bus hall, I give the dairy-free snacks and my clearance forms to Secretary. I ask to read the labels on the crackers and pretzels Teacher keeps in her room. Secretary can't find them, so we go find Teacher, who tells me the brands. (They are fine.) Teacher asks what she can give Katherine for a reward instead of M&Ms. We agree on Skittles. I express concern about food on the bus that will take K. home. Secretary says she will call the transportation office. I tell Teacher that there are students from K's preschool in her class, and I worry that their parents might say something is safe for K. when it is not.
Teacher: "They think they understand."
Teacher: "I will only listen to you."
Teacher reiterates that she will be calling me often, and I say call anytime.
I go home and spend Eli's naptime making a wreath (a wreath!) for the front door because I can't concentrate on anything else.
Katherine comes home on the school bus (We're letting her ride home because it's Kindergarten students only on a "van," otherwise known as a "short bus.") I reiterate the information about her allergy to her bus driver, who replies that he doesn't allow any food on his bus. Period.
Katherine loves school, she had a great time, and they had cookies for a special treat. "All the other kids had a different kind, but I had one of the special ones you sent, Mama. And guess what? I didn't feel itchy at all, all day!" Whew.
September 5, 6, 7: School continues to go well with Katherine eating only the snack I send for her each day. She loves school and wants Daddy to take her "as early as we can go" every morning. Eli is not adjusting so well. He can't wait to greet his sister as she gets off the bus, and was very angry with her the first day of school. As they almost never fight, we were surprised to see him haul off and hit her. I explained to a tearful Katherine that this was his way of saying he missed her and was sad that she left to go to school. He's gotten better each day.
So, the first week of school went well. I hope the rest of the year goes as smoothly.