Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gingerbread House: The issue that wasn't an issue. Or Was It?

After picking up Max from school Monday I had three issues with the gingerbread house project:

1) As I was walking up to school, I saw another child from Max's class with a gingerbread house decorated with lovely puffy frosting. Picking up Max I noticed his frosting was different, a little runnier, not as bright white, definitely the frosting I had made yet different than what I saw on the other houses. Would your first thought be that they had let the other children use the egg based frosting because it works better and had only Max use his frosting? That was my thought. I was suddenly worried that they had asked me to make frosting and then behind my back used the egg frosting anyway. The container I had sent was empty and washed.

2) Max's graham crackers were "glued" to a dairy carton (he's allergic to milk as well as egg).

3) As I put him in the car Max asked why I had made him share his candy (I had sent safe candy with him as well. Though it was my thinking the candy they supplied for the other kids was without milk, egg, peanut and they weren't supposed to be eating it anyway, I wasn't able to read all the cross-contam statements so thought it best to send Skittles, marshmallows, Gimbals jelly beans, and Spangler candy canes). I asked what he meant and he said the teacher had said that I said he HAD to share his candy. I don't care if he shares his safe candy, I certainly sent plenty of it. But I didn't say he HAD to. I don't like it when teachers lie to my child and say I said something I didn't say.

Coming home I was concerned, mainly about number one. I wasn't angry or freaking out. To me it was a matter of breaking my trust. I was under the impression that I was making frosting for the whole class (which is only 8 kids) so that the egg frosting would not be used for gluing together the gingerbread houses. Granted the egg frosting is stickier and looks better on a gingerbread house. Could this be why they went behind my back?

I called the next morning. I was calm. Explained what I "thought" might have happened. The director was aghast that it might be the case the the art teachers used the wrong frosting. She said both she and Max's teacher had emphasized Max's life threatening allergy and made it clear that I was bringing the frosting for the entire class. She said she would look into it.

She called me back shortly. The teachers said they had indeed used my frosting. All of it. Toward the end of class some students weren't done and there was no more frosting. So one of the teachers got the other frosting and applied it herself to the houses of those students needing more. The children did not handle the frosting. The director reiterated that the frosting should not have been used at all.

I'm okay with this. I was more concerned that they had outright lied to me. Which they didn't. I felt it was also a slippery slope; that they might think "Oh well, we used the egg based frosting that one time and nothing happened to Max, why don't we just do it again?" The director and Max's teacher understood this and my concerns (I didn't bring up number 3 that's just between you and me). And I think we are all good?

Did I over react? Under react? Act in just the right and reasonable manner?


1AllergyMom said...

Hi - I think you handled the situation just fine. Your instincts told you something was up and you addressed it. I don't know what I'm going to do when my 2yr old gets to preschool - why are there so many activities around food? I overhead a preschool teacher on the playground last spring say to her assistant that she was going to bring in her fryer the next day to do green eggs and ham! I knew right then that I will never be able to bring my daughter there for school. Maybe there were no allergies in the class, but why is that even necessary?

Ariel said...

I think you did the right thing. Gash- never even thought about gingerbread houses. I just got the stink eye from some woman about requesting wheat-free playdough- and I even offered to pay for it!

Guess I'll just keep her at home on gingerbread day. Frustrating!

All Adither said...

Sounds like you did great.

My friend used Crisco and powdered sugar on hers and they looked great. Just an fyi.

Angie at all adither