Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Care

For the past two years, I have basically been a SAHM (Stay at Home Mother). I work as a tutor, but that takes place in the afternoon and on weekends between October and March, and during those times my son always stayed with a family member. Next week, my son will be going to day care. As of right now, it is only for a week, but it might become a long-term thing, depending on my work situation. And I am a little nervous.

Thankfully, my mother teaches Pre-K in this center. Actually, that's the reason he's going there, because my mother will be in the building, and she knows his teacher and the type of environment he will be in all day. I personally prefer home/family day care for young children, but in this case the center is the better choice. This center has a kitchen, so as part of the cost the children are fed two meals and two snacks a day. Obviously, my son can not eat all of the meals they prepare, but he can eat most of the fruit, and things like potatoes and juice. Initially, I was going to supply ALL of his food (including snacks and drinks). But the woman that runs the kitchen is really willing to work with me, and has begun the process of looking up ingredients so we know what is safe for my son. And, it would save me some money not to have to provide everything, especially considering that day care is quite an expense.

So now I have a decision to make. Do I pack all of his food or just some of it? Should I let him eat food from the center, keeping in mind that the likelihood for cross-contamination or accidental exposure goes up, even if he is only eating "safe" foods? Or should I err on the side of caution, and not take the risk? Does it make a difference that my mother is in the building (not the room)? Or that my younger sister babysits for the woman that runs the kitchen, so she has a slightly personally relationship with family? Do those things affect how cautious and careful she will be when making his food?

I know that I might sound a little paranoid. But this is my child. I know adults that think milk allergy=lactose intolerant. People have told me that food allergies aren't "real". (You think so? Tell that to families of the 150 people in the US that die of food allergic reactions every year.) I've had people earnestly offer yogurt or cheese, knowing that he has a milk allergy. Or cookies and cake. Oftentimes, they just don't know...or think things through. And so I have my reservations about trusting other people to feed my son. But, I also recognize that I am in a position to educate, which I am willing to do. Having my mother in the building and knowing the cook might make it easier for me, safer for him and maybe I can educate more people about the realities of food allergies.

Ah, decisions, decisions.


Maximus said...

My daughter has no food allergies, but when she started school, I packed her meals and snacks EVERYDAY for the whole year. It was more for my peace of mind than anything else.

In your case, I think you should definitely pack his meals/snacks the first day as a backup and maybe you can arrange for your mother to drop by his class for his first couple of meals/snacks at the center just to make sure things are okay?

Vonda said...

my sister has had some experiences with keeping her kids vegetarian diets and errors did occur at the day care. They gave empress a cheeseburger one time! And meat will not hurt a vegetarian but an error in his diet would. Man that is a tough situation because even if you send food, when you are dealing with toddlers eating together, really, the kitchen is out of it and it is the diligence of the teachers watching him very closely during all meals to ensure he is not given food from another kid.

Sacred Stitch said...

Thanks for the comments ladies! I think I'm going to send all of his food. I'm also going there tomorrow to discuss his Food Allergy Action Plan, and meet with the teacher. I'll let you know how it goes.