Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fruit Salad ... Yummy (oh, you know the rest!)

Getting a children's song stuck in your head is the WORST. At times, I have wanted to stick a fork in my ears to pry the annoying tune out. And the ones that are the WORST of the WORST are these guys. Honestly, I haven't had these guys and their strange music on in our own house in at least two years.

But, when Big Guy asked for this for breakfast .....

I was very proud of his healthy choice. But also, the blueberry-apple combo reminded me of this song .... aghhhhhhhhhh!!! (what is it with those phallic hats??) Regardless of that fact, his "fruit salad"of sorts was a hit and he ate it all up!

One of the two key ingredients are these from Trader Joes (our favorite balloon-giving store)

And while he snacked on that, Little Guy enjoyed some Soy Yogurt.

So, all in all, a very healthy breakfast --- hurrah!!!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I can eat that when I'm big

Now that Big Guy has started to out grow his dairy allergy, he can eat regular (or as he says "grown up") yogurt. So this weekend, we found these at the store. We threw some in the freezer and they were a BIG hit for dessert. In fact, he ate two, at which point, the tube became a little too "frosty" for his hands, so he went and got ... well, you can see for yourself.

He at the blue one and the strawberry one. The Shrek pictures on the Go-Gurts were half the fun.

The mis-matched mittens to solve his problem with a too-cold package just kills me. I love the ingenuity!

But, of course, Little Guy also likes Shrek and also also likes yogurt. But they don't make soy yogurt in the cool Shrek go-gurts. So, he got to eat these ...

Mint-Chocolate chip soy ice cream sandwiches. Which are also pretty darn good.

And yummy.

And messy. (Note the partially eaten sandwich hanging out of his mouth so he can show me his hands)

That sandwich was gooood!!!!!!!!! I don't care if it was a soy product!

And as the title of this entry states, Little Guy took the whole thing in stride. He asked for one of the Shrek yogurts and when I said no because it would make him sick. He told me "Okay, but I can eat that when I'm big, right?" I assured him that when he is 4 years old, it is very likely that he can eat that. But I won't promise, because you just don't know.

But, just like Big Guy, he is very accepting of the fact that there are lots of foods he can't eat. He doesn't get mad or upset. (Granted, he does for lots of other things, as a normal 2 year old would.) But he is okay with this food allergies. Thank goodness!!!!!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Working with our schools

I recently got an informative email from a friend of a friend -- who I "met" via this blog -- about what she is doing to prepare for kindergarten for her child. She agreed to let me publish her email so we can all learn a little more about what other moms are doing. She has a 4 year old (nearly 5 years old) daughter who is severely allergic to Peanuts and tree nuts and Eggs. She also has a 2 year old son who is allergic to Milk, Eggs, Red Meat, Cinnamon, Apples, Tomatoes and has outgrown Wheat allergy. He has a soy intolerance as well. So you can see, she has been dealing with food allergies (and lots of them) for quite a while.

I noticed your blog about kindergarten. Lauren is starting too in the
fall. I am meeting to get a 504 plan together.

You should absolutely consider this. We met with a partner at Hinshaw Culbertson who works on the school side and handles almost all the Chicagoland schools and represents them for ADA rules and IHP's and 504's. He recommended to me to do one and get it all in writing. As long as it is a "reasonable request" then they have to comply.

I am insisting on a peanut free lunch area w/ our school because they can't guarantee that someone can wipe down the tables and the handles on the doors, etc....Lauren can't be held responsible at age 5 to do this.

They MUST also train the teachers and teachers MUST administer the Epi PenJr. if need be. Teachers will try to not do this and reference a state contract, BUT the Federal law of ADA supersedes that he told me.

I meet w/ principal and teacher this Wed. at 2:30. Every school has an assigned 504 coordinator. Some schools it's just an extra role the principal or teacher takes on while others have someone who does it full time for the district.

I hope you consider this because I think a 504 plan will help the teachers take it more seriously. I told you, I got the entire downers grove park district to change their food in the vending machines to peanut free and stopped any products containing peanuts from entering any of the pre-school snacks and no more home baked foods whatsoever.

All b-day treats left in the hall to be "take homes". They also must wash their hands or use Handi-Wipes upon entering the classroom. Janitor is required to clean Lauren's classroom first w/ clean towels. I go and "spot check" this once a month as a "surprise" to make sure that's how it is happening. I also pre-approve all snacks before class. I double check the ingredients and they can only bring in foods that have no peanuts and also are safe for Lauren to eat.

I have done a lot of work in my town and honestly, it's difficult, time consuming and parents get mad. But they're only mad a month or two and now no one cares. And for first time moms, they don't' know the difference, it's the moms who has older kids and didn't have to comply. But they got over it.

I just wanted to pass this info along. Also, don't' forget, epi's can be left in classroom NOT in nurses office and can be carried on the child as well... Hope this helps.

Wow, as you can see she has been very busy and working hard to protect her child so she can be a normal kid at school (versus home school or something else). Luckily, Big Guy and Little Guy don't have such severe allergies ... they need to ingest the food they are allergic to, not just have it in the air. But, it's helpful to hear what other folks are doing for their kids.

I have to admit, I had no idea what a 504 plan is, so I went to my handy-dandy allergy-related web pages to learn more. First I went to Allergy Moms where I got linked to FAST where they had lots of links and I swear they had a good example of one of these plans, but for the life of me I can't find it. Anyway, another site defines it as:

The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or post secondary schooling. "Disability" in this context refers to a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities." This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes.

Good to know. Still not sure what I'll have to do regarding all this for Big Guy, but now I know more about some options.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Can he eat a hamburger bun?

Little Guy started daycare this week with Big Guy. In addition to the fears that he will cry and wail and give me the deathgrip when I try to leave him there, I get to worry about if they will remember NOT to give him the cheese tortellini or the muffin at snack time.

I get to fax documents back and forth to the doctor that give them permission to stick him with the epi-pen if he eats the wrong thing and goes into anaphylaxic shock. And more documents that allow them to give him benadryl.

But I am lucky, one of the reasons we chose this center for Big Guy is how well they handle food allergies. They post a picture of him in the room with a list of his food allergies so if a new teacher comes in the room she can see immediatley what his issues are. The whole school is nut-free, so I don't have to worry about peanuts in anything. And they have special menu items for kids with food allergies or who are vegetarians. But still .... I worry.

The teacher even called me at lunch yesterday to ask, "Can he eat a hamburger bun?" I told her it should be fine, but I knew there was a teeny-tiny chance there was egg in the bun. But since 90 percent of the buns I've looked at in the past four years, don't have egg in them, I hoped it would be okay.

And really, these things can creep up at the weirdest times, when you think you have done everything right. Like when Karen's son had a reaction to a tiny bit of egg on his hands. So, if it can happen to the mom, it can happen at school when I am miles and miles away.

And my Little Guy, like Sarah's Katherine, will learn this is just part of who he is. But it is another thing to worry about. And I totally agree with Sarah when she says that caring for your child is a privilege, not a chore, but you have to admit it is one more thing to worry about.

But, really, look at that face? How could you NOT want to do whatever you need to to keep him safe.
And we all know, that every mom worries. And every mom has something to deal with with their kid. It might be lots of ear infections and having to get tubes in their ears. It might be a delay in speech. It might be a wicked temper. Everyone has something, right?

His First Jolly "Recital"

Last week (I know this is late!) Big Guy sang in his first recital at school. It was very cute. Despite his often shy demeanor he told me it was fun and he liked it .... finally his drama queen tendencies he gets from me are coming in handy.

Oh and when I say "school" I really mean daycare. I think that is a term we all use to try to distance ourselves from the bad reputations that many daycare centers have had over the years. And of course, the guilt of not taking "care" of our kid ourselves in the day. So, we call it school so we feel like they are there because it will advance their education.

Anyway, the recital was a "Jolly Phonics" recital where all the kids two years old and up could show the parents the songs they are learning to learn their letters. It was fairly hilarious -- and something straight out of Parenthood -- when all the parents pulled out their cameras (and I was right there with them!) and started filming this momentous event.

And he is such a superstar, he had another recital for Catholic Pre-School of Religion where he sang more songs ... these about Jesus. This recital had snacks afterward so I made sure to grab a couple bags of Teddy Grahams in case there wasn't anything there for the boys to eat.

Two shows in one week. Wow! I think it is the beginning of a trend!!