It doesn't feel all that long ago when I found out I was pregnant, felt my tiny bundle kicking inside, the moment of relief pushing him out into this big world and discovering we had our own baby boy!
It's another thing to find out your toddler suddenly gets thrown into a world where everything in life needs to change. When we found out Declan had severe food allergies it was not expected at all and our outlook on raising our child took a huge turn.
It's been a massive change and although it's different to what most parents expect from the parenting experience, quite frankly a shock to the system- it has made us learn so much more, discover different things, meet lovely people and we live happily as a little family, it's just different than we first planned it all out in our blue print.
We love Declan so much and after a year of searching for preschool/kindy options for this year, thinking and considering home schooling if Declan's allergies required it, talks with various schools and prescholls, allergy tests and discussions with the alergist....
the plan is my little man will start Kindy this coming Monday!
This is a massive deal for our little family and there has been a lot of preparation leading up to next week. I have so many mixed feeling about next week.
I am excited for Declan because he is super excited and has been socially ready for a good while now, I am anxious because he has only ever been cared for by immediate family and very close friends who all understand Declan's allergy needs and requirements.
We have prepared the best we can and I am quite confident that we have picked the right centre but it's the letting go and saying goodbye that will be hard.
I'm sure I will possibly be sitting next to the phone come Monday or thinking....mmm I think I should call just one more time to see if he is still okay.
Here are some things that we did in preparation for this milestone in Declan's life:
- We started looking and researching preschools very early, once we found the centre we were happy with he was enrolled and put on the waiting list. This was the same time that others were enrolling their children for 2011! We looked for a centre that didn't do food catering, this way Declan wouldn't be the black sheep in the amongst his friends being the only one with a packed lunch eating different food while all his friends shared the same food. We looked for a centre that had had experience dealing with anaphalaxis and many children who live with it. We had to be happy with the centres anaphalaxis procedures and plan. We thankfully came across a centre that ticked all these boxes and has a good reputation as a whole too.
- Throughout 2011 there have been many phone calls, questions and discussions between the centres director and teachers in relation to Declan's needs and allergies.
- I made it my mission last year to try to find one school/preschool related book on our fortnightly library visits to start introducing the concept to Declan and giving plenty of opportunity for questions and discussions.
- As per usual we have continued to educate both Declan and Thalia about their allergies/intolerance's, giving them the tools to become aware and become more independent in slow age appropriate steps.
- From October 2011 onwards we have taken Decaln for "visits" at Kindy to meet his future teachers, becoming familiar with both the teachers and environment and letting him know it was a "safe" place. It was a great relief when Declan didn't want to go home each time because he loved the place!
- On finding out that the centre provides each child's sheets for rest time and washes them weekly, we decided that we would provide Declan's - taking them home to wash so as to washing them in a allergy friendly washing Detergent that we knew works well with Decalns eczema. We also wanted to prevent the risk of Declan's sheets being accidently swaped with another child's, the other child's sheets possibly being contaminated with unsafe foods.
- We put together an medical kit for Declan to suit Declan's needs containing 2 epi pens, antihistamine, Ventolin, an asthma spacer, safe sunscreen, mozzie repellent and many laminated copies of his Anaphylaxis plan for the centres walls to be on display. The centre also has his Asthma plan. We have already taken the medication box to the centre and gone through all the medication in detail. The medication box is pictured below.
- We have provided a "treat box" to the centre with food treats for Declan to have when his peers bring in cake to share on their birthdays and special occasions. Hopefully when the centre can they will inform us when cake will be brought in for birthdays.This way I can send in a safe cake for Declan too, but when all else fails they have his treat box.
- More recently we took photo's of Declan's teachers with their permission and these photos have been on our fridge for some weeks now. They are there so Declan can familiarise himself with them and their names, we talk about them being safe people who know about his allergies.
- Declan has also helped prepare for next week, he picked his kindy bag, lunchbox and enjoyed taking lots of fun photo's so we could make a Kindy daily routine chart for home to place on a wall. Photo's of getting ready for kindy such as having breakfast, placing bowl in sink, cleaning teeth following his day routine at kindy up until home time. Here is a picture of the finished product :) not the best photo but you get the idea.
Today I stood in our kitchen lying out kindy things on my kitchen bench, labeling things allergy stickers on Declan's things.
star allergy allerts
they look great and will hopefully make people around Decaln more aware
Well here's to a new journey and the start of Decaln's schooling years. I'm sure I be a wreak come Monday but I am excited for my little man!
hopefully I will be able to look back on a year of Kindy and say thank you much like the author of this poem I will leave you with.
A Parent’s Thank you
Part of being a parent
Is realizing the fear
That our children are only on loan to us
And can be taken at the drop of a tear
So think of the basic necessity
Of a child eating to live each day
And the very food that sustains that life
Is the same food that can take it away
Imagine a child who had no idea
That the food upon the table
Contained tiny traces of peanut
That were missing from the label
And as his throat begins to close
Panic tells him what will happen
If he doesn’t get his shot
Of prescription epinephrine
Imagine the trip to the hospital
And the ambulance ride
And having him see the panic
You're trying so hard to hide
My child has a stalker
And it takes a simple form
It overtakes his body
And inside triggers a storm
So, we live our lives carefully
Watching all our dear one eats
But we cannot do it all alone
Its a monumental feat
For we cannot be with him
Waking hours of every day
He wants to test his wings and fly
We let him and we pray
And our prayers have been answered
Our paths have crossed through fate
And with all you do to protect his life
My respect for you is great
You’ve opened up your minds and hearts
You understand what is at stake
You are going out of your way
To make sure there’s no mistake
So, I’d like to tell you
For everything you do
Your efforts may save my child’s life
What more can a parent say but