Even though I started our home school year in mid-July (which now seems like an ETERNITY ago), I found myself drawn to an article on the Mom’s Homeroom website entitled “10 Things Your Child’s Teacher Needs to Know.” Since I am my child’s teacher and I talk to myself all of the time, the article seemed appropriate.
But on a serious note, one of the items on the list included medical conditions and allergies and the importance of informing a teacher or any care giver about any possible problems that might arise. Skin issues and allergies are a large part of the reason why I home school my son. But my heart goes out to the parent who isn’t called to home school, or financially can’t swing it because of work, and yet still has to entrust her child to someone else 8 hours a day.
Last week I came across an online discussion regarding an uproar when one school district banned peanut items from the school property. I could not believe how many parents were up in arms about their rights being infringed upon by a very small minority of parents who have children with peanut allergies.
And in all honesty, a number of years ago, I might have done some significant eye rolling myself, as my first born is a huge fan of peanut butter, and when it was difficult to get most other proteins into her, I knew I could always count on peanut butter. I might have felt put off if someone told me that I couldn’t pack a peanut butter sandwich in her lunch.
But then my second child came along, and she developed a mild nut allergy. But since she can sense if a nut is within 10 feet, she steers clear of anything nut related. And as I said, her allergy is simply an inconvenience, not life threatening.
But then I had the third child. Jensen suffers from severe atopic dermatitis which can be set off by environment, pet dander, dust mites, and food allergies (which include fish and nuts). And as I’ve recently discovered, his allergy to nuts is on the severe side.
He’s never ingested a peanut, to my knowledge, but we’ve noticed that simply being around peanut butter will send him into a full blown atopic dermatitis flare up. We are now extremely cautious about peanut butter in the house, and have had to make it known to Sunday School teachers and the like that he cannot be around peanuts.
On Saturday we attended a family party. Jensen had been eating some (plain) crackers and I noticed that his lip was beginning to swell considerably. I searched the snack table, read ingredients on the boxes, and came up with a hypothesis that he had selected one of the crackers from a plate that also contained a cheese ball which was covered in pecans.
So, he didn’t eat the actual nut, his cracker simply was close to it or may have touched it.
I keep Benadryl in my purse at all times, and I quickly gave him 2 tablets. Then I stood and watched him closely, one hand on my keys and one foot out the door ready to whisk him off to Urgent Care (where everyone knows our name). After 10 minutes or so, the swelling began to recede and he was back to his usual party antics.
That served as a huge wake up call for me. Quite a while ago, the staff at Urgent Care issued us a prescription for an epi-pen which we didn’t fill. I never considered his allergies to be severe. Until Saturday. Now I will be filling the prescription on Monday, and I will always be prepared.
I think that unless you have a child who faces a potential life threatening allergy, it is difficult to see the world from their perspective. Now I want to shake those people who are inconvenienced because they feel their rights are being infringed by a school district banning peanuts.
I have to be hyper-diligent about what my child eats when out of the safety of our home. I have to also instill a sense of danger and fear in him that he cannot put anything in his mouth out in public without checking with me first. I hate having to do that, but it could potentially save his life.
Now even on those days that I’m foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog, I have to remember that I’m grateful we’re able to home school. And I hope to convey an urgency that we need to exercise tolerance and understanding for those families which must deal with life threatening medical conditions.
Even if it’s inconvenient.
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