Max started school today. It wasn't much of a change for us. He will go to the same school he went to last year and be in the same classroom. His day will be longer and some of the kids and teachers will be new but essentially not much changes for him so it didn't feel stressful for me or I think him.
I met with his teacher a few weeks ago to discuss allergy management. The focus of course is his safety while at school. The Epi-pen will be in his classroom, peanuts and tree nuts will not. I also, however, felt we (both me and his teacher) can do a better job of making sure he isn't left out of food focused activities.
For example they have pizza Fridays and, for some reason, it didn't occur to me that EVERY other child would have pizza. The last day before winter break was the music concert and parents were invited to then go to the children's classroom for lunch. I walked into a classroom where all the children were gathered around tables chatting and eating pizza except for Max who sat alone at a corner table with his lunch from home. He was excited to see me but I was sick to my stomach at the thought that this was what he experienced every Friday! The teacher later told me that he usually sits with another child who also doesn't get pizza but on that day the other child was absent.
Another incident was the Mother's Day Tea. All the classes primary through the upper elementary had made lunch for the mother's. Max's class had made fruit kabobs. I was under the impression that only the mother's were eating the lunch and the children would be eating their lunches from home. But that was not the case and as Max and Owen and I stood in line for the food Max kept melting down. At one point he asked me "What will I get to have?" I glanced at the food on the table and realized that the fruit kabobs were really the only safe item for him. We were essentially standing in a very long slow line for fruit. Don't get me wrong fruit is great but when the other children are eating sandwiches and banana bread and cookies as well it feels a little like being left out. Max is great about understanding he can't have the same things other kids have but on some level this exclusion has to affect him. I just want to minimize that affect.
So I just requested better information on what is going on at school involving food so I can do a better job of running interference, coming up with special food for him, having special cookies ready when needed. He has requested that I bring him his own pizza on Friday so he can be like the other kids. I'll try it for awhile. Truthfully he isn't crazy about the cheeseless pizza I make for him so we'll see how long he wants it before requesting his usual jelly bagel. Who knows, maybe he'll surprise me and broaden his eating horizons.