Friday, September 5, 2008

First Week of Public School

First week of school -
Day1: The girls woke up in time and got ready with so much was unbelievable!! T1 can be such a dear if she wishes! We were ready ahead of time and promptly went to the bus stop. I was pretty darn sure, I'd be crying like crazy. But surprisingly, did not! I think I was too overwhelmed. But I did cry the weekend before when watching Mamma Mia! Esply, when the song "Slipping Through My Fingers" was playing - wasn't that the song that Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried sing just before the Wedding Day? Silly me!
Anyways, After the bus left, I drove to T2's daycare to drop her off and went off to work. I was having First-Day Jitters! I tried hard not to worry about whether or not T1 found her classroom, or if she was doing ok. I should give her more credit.
I decided to let T1 take the After-care bus without my help. I called them around 3PM to see if she got in alright and they confirmed that she was doing A-OK!
I left work at 4.00 to pick her up.
I had sent lunch from home. She forgot her lunch bag in school. No surprise there...She'll get used to it (or I will :)
Her bag's zipper was open and there was a tonne of material (forms and stuff) that could have easily slipped off.
So we had a quick talk about keeping her things in order (and she hasn't let me down since then).
Her first day was great! Ms.D read a book about First Day Jitters, and helped ease the "butterflies in their stomach" (Im sure she copied Ms.D's words). She made a couple of new friends, got familiar with the school's layout...
As a part of getting to know the kids, Ms.D had asked to send 3-5 items that best describe T1. T1 wanted to take a crayon (She loves to draw), her ice-skating camp T-Shirt, a book, and pack of go-Fish cards (she loves to play she said).
All her choices. She also wanted to add her $2 mic that we bot (cos she loves to sing) but it was a little too big to fit in the small brown bag.
By 7.30 or so, she was ready to drop.
Overall, I'd say a busy and fun first day.
Day 2: Similar morning...
We wanted her to get used to buying from the cafeteria when there was help.
But I decided to join her for lunch and familiarize with the process too.
We had pre-paid about $50 bucks into her account (which was already set up).
I went to school and arrived there a few minutes before their lunch time. The class was waiting outside the cafeteria, playing some games (moderated by Ms.D) to kill time. Soon they went in and most kids sat on the table allocated for Ms.D's class with their packed lunches, while the others (me included) formed a line to order our lunch. We stood at the very end of the line and waited.

The two veggie options were Cheese-sticks and cheese pizza (or bagel) with fruits, veggies, milk, yogurt, etc...
T1 reminded the staff there that she's allergic to nuts, and doesn't eat meat. I was a bit worried that it was like fresh news to this person. Like she did not expect it.
Anyways, she decided to take a slice of pizza, some corn, and a carton of milk, and I took the cheese sticks with apples.
After she entered her ID (aka paid), we went to pick a spot...We had to sit in the middle of the table, with all the corners occupied already.
On my way out, I mentioned to another Cafeteria staff about her allergies and that we were told that she would be sitting in one corner of the table, etc...
And again, she told me that she had no idea about her allergies! I'm sure its too early to put a face to the names they must have been given, but it looked like she did not even have a list!
I was disappointed...and promptly sent an email to the Principal and Ms.D expressing my concerns.
Later on Day2: Heard from the Principal that she will discuss the issue with the Clinic Aide and get back to me.
Day 3: One of the first emails I got was from the Principal. She had reviewed our health plan and discussed it with the teacher to make sure T1 will be in the corner of the table. And, the class teacher had formally informed the cafeteria staff about T1's allergies.
Of course, part of the responsibility is in T1's hands to make sure she requests to be seated in a corner, and never to share any food in the first place!
And the bigger responsibility is on us to remind her time and again (as we have been doing the past few years) until it becomes second nature to her!

I knew I had good reason to lose sleep the past two weeks.

Day 4: Got a note from Ms.D asking to sign a consent to give lollipops to T1 as an occassional treat. I have two issues here.
i) Why Lollipops as Treats??? Kids love stickers and stamps! Wouldn't that suffice?
ii) Since when did lollipops have nuts? Have I managed to become an unpopular parent for worrying about my daughter's safety??? In less than 4 days????

Risking more unpopularity, I asked Ms.D these questions. NO! Not in the same words!
I asked her how often the kids will be treated with Lollipops, and asked her where she gets them treats from!
She replied back saying that it will not be very often (If the kids do something above and beyond expectations). And she sent me a link to the store and kind of lollipops she buys.
Actually, turns out there is a small note at the end of the website link she sent that says "Product may contain traces of peanuts". So that's that!

She was genuinely concerned! I was over-reacting!! I read the entire page umpteen times before seeing this note!!

So, no lollipops for my dear baby...Will have to send in something else from home...

Other than that, the rest of the week went by fast and without new incidents. She loves her school and after-care, and we love it that she loves it.

Mommy's now a much less nervous wreck than she was a week ago...and eagerly looking forward to the new school year!


DotThoughts said...

I am really surprised at how they handled the whole allergy issue. Nut allergies can be fatal. It looks like they had no plan. You should get on the PTA and make sure they have a procedure in palce on how to inform all concerned about a student's allergies.

I am glad the first week passed by without a problem. Here's hoping to a great school year :)

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

Dottie, The way they talked to me before school started made me feel very comfy...but they just did not implement the plan...
I have already signed up for the PTA ... I guess I'll have to do more than simply sign up, eh?