Since summer is fast approaching, I have been thinking of whether to enroll Ainsley in any summer camps (little 2-hour things that she can attend for gymnastics, dance, theatre, etc.). Of course, the first thing I consider with regard to a particular camp is what the risk is that she will come into contact with one of her allergens. For instance, her ballet school has a week-long camp that goes from 10-12am. The brochure says, however, that "a nutritious snack will be provided." Now, I know some kids might get hungry during that block, but is a snack really needed? Can't they ask the parents to just load the kids up on food right before the camp starts? Why do they want to serve food in a dance facility anyway - I would think that would cause quite a mess.
Anyway, so now I have to contact the school to ask exactly what snack they plan on serving. I'm sure it'll be something Ainsley's allergic to. Perhaps they will be okay with me suggesting a particular snack, like Teddy Grahams. I have been through this drill before, but just thinking about doing it again makes me want to not even bother.
The one camp I will definitely be sending Ainsley to is a camp specifically for food-allergic children. It is run by the same teachers who do the bi-monthly food allergy classes during the school year. It goes from 9-11am for one week and no food is allowed. The teachers also require that you leave the child's emergency medication and a food allergy action plan with them during the class.
I am so excited about the camp - Ainsley loves the school-year classes so much that I know she'll enjoy it. She has become so good at knowing what she can and can't have and I know that her self-awareness comes from the things she has learned in her class (like how she should always ask me what she can and can't have and should be very careful to only eat things she knows are safe for her).
Just the other day, Ainsley was at my office with me and a well-meaning fellow employee offered her some hard candy that was cookie-and-cream flavored and pecan-praline flavored. I took a piece just to be nice but planned to throw it in the trash as soon as I got into my office. Before I even had a chance to do this, though, Ainsley (who had heard the employee describe what the candy was) looked at me and said, "Mommy, that candy isn't safe for me." She was so matter-of-fact about it - not even a hint that she was sad she couldn't have it.
Another anecdote that made me proud: This weekend we went to a craft show, and one of the booths had a bowl of candy set out for anyone who walked by. Ainsley saw the candy bowl, which was filled with unsafe (mostly chocolate) candy, and within two second managed to mentally sort all of the candy and find a Starburst, which she knows is safe for her. She asked whether she could have it and I very happily said yes. What a responsible girl!