I will be preparing for Ainsley to start kindergarten at our neighborhood public school two streets over. I get anxious even thinking about it. Nervous for all the reasons that any mom would be - Will she do okay in kindergarten with all those other kids? Will we be happy with her teacher and the school? - and worried about doing everything I need to ensure the school accommodates Ainsley's allergies and keeps her safe. I will officially begin that process in the Spring when I notify the principal, school counselor, and school nurse that a seriously food-allergic child will be starting in the Fall and that we need to begin formulating a 504 plan for her.
I am so lucky that my sister-in-law is an elementary-school counselor in the district Ainsley will be attending; she has already been an invaluable source of information and advice and her assistance will be even more important in the next year. I am also thankful to have connected with the mom of a peanut-allergic child at our elementary school who is a real trailblazer in terms of making the school food-allergy friendly.
Additionally, I am very relieved that Ainsley is now able to take some responsibility for keeping herself safe. I know that when I send her to school I can count on her never sharing food with her classmates or eating anything I haven't sent for her. It's not easy having a Type-A kid like her but for purposes of her food allergy her tight-woundedness and attention to detail comes in really handy.
I am sad that this year is Ainsley's last in her wonderful preschool, which has bent over backwards to take care of its food-allergic kids. It has been such a nurturing, sheltered environment and I am so grateful that I stumbled upon it. I wish every food-allergic child had access to such a careful, safe place.