The Kindergarten Blues

I registered Brady for Kindergarten today. I MIGHT have cried on my way out the door. In my defense, it was a long, hectic day at work and I didn’t eat lunch until after 3 pm, so maybe my low blood sugar got me acting all crazy.
Things were going just fine until I asked about how they handle food allergies. Brady is allergic to peanut and egg. The lady at the Board office informed me that there is a peanut-free elementary school that I could have him transferred to. It’s not the school that he would normally go to, the one that is within walking distance from our house; it’s a couple miles away. I asked if the other elementary schools had peanut-free lunch tables or rooms and she looked at me like I was crazy and told me that I would have to call the school to find out. Okay. Can I just be the crazy mom for a minute and say that I would like to eradicate the world of peanuts? Okay, not really. I like peanuts, I’d just like to keep them at least 100 yards away from my little guy.
I found out that Brady was allergic to peanuts and eggs when he was 10 months old. He had touched fried eggs on my plate and within minutes broke out into the craziest hives I had ever seen all over half of his face. When his lips and eye started swelling, I got scared and rushed him to ER. They gave him steroids and all was fine and he never experienced anything more serious than the hives. I took him to an allergist later that month and they tested him and we found out about his allergies. I cried when I found out and everyone thought I was over-reacting. What’s the big deal, just don’t feed him peanuts or eggs? But I wasn’t crying for that moment in time, I was crying for this moment, or rather this fall, when I have to rely on him and people I don’t know to make sure that he stays safe. My husband thinks I’m nutty (pun intended) and I think I’m just…scared. He is in preschool now, but he’s not there for lunch. The class has a snack each day, but because of his allergies, the entire classroom is egg and peanut-free. His picture, with his allergy-action plan, adorns the wall of his classroom. Even with all of those safeguards, he had some kind of contact reaction last year and broke out into those same crazy hives. He had not eaten anything in the class, so it must have been caused by something that he touched. I took him to ER, and again, he was fine after some medication.
Not knowing how things will be handled next year, and wondering if I should just register him for the peanut-free school instead, got me feeling anxious. I think it’s more than just the allergy thing, though. It’s about letting this little person into this great, big, school and him spending seven hours a day, five days a week, with this nameless, faceless teacher. And they don’t know that when he’s scared he’ll hide under a table, or that he never complains about pain, so if he says something hurts, something is definitely wrong, or that by the second day of class, he will know exactly how many and what kind of batteries every battery-powered object in the classroom takes (I suspect his teacher will figure out that last one pretty quickly.)
When my niece Jane went to kindergarten, her teacher asked the class why they thought they were there. Jane’s wise response was “To learn responsibility!” I think that Brady going to kindergarten will teach me trust; to trust his teacher, that they have a passion for their job and will not only help my guy survive, but thrive; to trust Brady, that he is ready for this next stage; to trust me, that I’ve done a good enough job parenting that he’s ready; and finally, to trust my husband, that when I start acting crazy he will either talk me down or back me up, because nobody likes to be alone in their craziness.

About jillo31

I always wanted to write the great American novel. I've come to the realization that that may not happen. Instead, I'm going to write about my life as a working mom to three boys. I figure in ten years, I won't remember what these days are like. I want to record my everyday victories and struggles.
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2 Responses to The Kindergarten Blues

  1. Shannon says:

    I think in this day and age almost every school has a table that is peanut free in the lunchroom. In my school all classrooms are peanut free. It is hard though to ask parents to not send peanut butter and jelly for lunch, so there is an area designated in the lunchroom that is peanut free. I can’t imagine your worry. Being one of those teachers you trust your kid with I think….why wouldn’t you trust me?? I never thought of it from your end. Lol

  2. jillo31 says:

    It’s because of the great teachers I know, like you, that I know he (and me) will be okay next year!

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