Most parents of children starting school next year are feeling a bit reluctant to be sending their precious little person to big school. Spare a thought for parents of children with severe food allergies. This has been such a fear of mine for years, I have managed to departmentalise it, until now. But the time is creeping closer and closer. Unless I want to home school him ( yes, I have thought long and hard about it ), I must finally face this fear and all the attached emotions and allow the process to take place.
Had the second risk assessment meeting today - lots of paperwork, medical information and forms to fill in. I must say that I feel totally supported by the school, the deputy head mistress, his lovely teacher for next year and the special support teacher are wonderful. they are all intelligent, level headed women who assure me that it will be fine. So we have spent another session putting all our heads together to imagine any scenario where he may be at risk. Hopefully all the bases have been covered.
At the beginning of next year, I will have another meeting with the kindy staff and the principal and go over everything in a more specific and personalised way. I'll also bring in expired epipens for them to practise on an orange with.
An anaphylaxis training meeting was held with the entire staff last week. I must say though the staff and myself were very disappointed by the calibre of training. The trainer was a community health nurse organised by the department. Amazingly, she didn't even do a demonstration of how to use an epipen. Can you believe that? She totally relied on her PowerPoint presentation. Don't think she was too impressed when I interrupted and called Cohen up (5 years old) to demonstrate with a training epipen. So proud of him -" blue to the sky, orange to the thigh ".
It's got me to thinking of the epipen training. If we are to change perception and really raise awareness, surely the training must engage people. If the trainer sits in a chair the whole time, speaks in a monotone voice and doesn't even give a demonstration of how to use the epipen, then how can we expect people to take it seriously. And it is serious - it's life and death serious. There is still so much work to do!
I find myself becoming so easily overwhelmed when the reality of what 'could ' happen slaps me in the face. I realise how much there still is to do, to change the way people think and behave. I realise how vulnerable my little man is. Sometimes it's a struggle to not allow my emotions and fears to paralyse me into inaction. And then, I cling on to the hope within me that tells me this is what I was born for. The small voice that says I am his mum for a reason. The small voice that gives me hope and a flicker of confidence to keep going. For me personally, this is the faith in God that I hold on to that gets me through each and every day. Whether you are religious or not, believe in a greater presence or not, the reality is, at a certain point we have to let go and have some degree of faith.... in something or someone. We have to let go and have faith in the process. Let go and Let God! Sometimes, it is all I have, and that's when I realise it's all I need. As I send my little man to school next year, for the first time, I know I have done everything I can to keep him safe.
As I keep telling myself - day by day, step by step, meal by meal. I remind myself to not stress and (like Nemo) just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!!!
Some Allergy Awareness Products that will help be the voice of your precious little person until they are big enough to speak for themselves......
So, if you have a child about to start school, how are you feeling? Update for us - my boy is now about to start Year 2, it does get easier so hang in there and keep swimming