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Should I take my daughter out of preschool?

32 replies [Last post]
By doreen on Thu, 03-27-03, 04:58


I don't know if I should take my daughter out of preschool or not. The other day she ate a cupcake at a birthday party. It had an M&M on top and she was fine. Well, of course, the fact that she was fine is not the point. The mom there that day gave it to her, and my DD scoffed it down in two seconds. According to the mom involved one of the teachers said "I can't believe we just let her eat that." Now, the real problem is that they didn't tell me, and that my daughter told me. Also the problem is that they told my husband (I made him call) that the parent was questioned about the ingredients, when, in fact, according to the parent, she was only questioned about this after Megan ate the cupcake.

I've had a lot of minor problems with my daughter's preschool, most stemming from an incident (non PA) the second day of school. I do believe, however, that how they handled that incident and me thereafter had to do with how I presented the peanut allergy to them. They previously had a touch-smell sensitive PA child, and the mother did not give them half the information I did at the beginning of the year. The only incident I've had with them that remotely involved her peanut allergy was after I questioned them about ingredients in pancakes they were having. The next class they said they didn't know the ingredients to hot chocolate they were giving the class, so my daughter didn't get any. I also found this out from my daughter.

This mom was very honest and nice to me. She said I should not write a note, because she would be afraid of how they would treat my daughter. I've always felt this about the hot chocolate thing -- that it was directly related to my questioning the pancakes.

It's only preschool twice a week, and there are only 19 classes left. My daughter is having a hard time with change at this point in her little life and, although I've reserved a new school for next year without telling her, I would at least like her to go back and say goodbye to her little friends and get the class picture they just took.

I'm feeling like it's really hard not to let my guard down lately, because she has not been extra sensitive. I'm starting to feel like it is all in my head, especially when even the allergist suggested an oral challenge (never mind, already posted on that).

Well, I was thinking about writing a note to the effect of in light of last tuesday's incident, please make sure megan eats only the snacks provided for her. I figure I can just give her a cupcake everyday for a snack. I feel just absolutely crazy (it doesn't help that my grandmother is especially sick). Luckily I have supportive friends that feel I should blast the school, but I would really like to reserve that for the end of the year. On the other hand, this might be a good lesson for her -- if they can't watch out for your PA (welfare in general in my opinion), then you can't go there.

Well, any opinions would be appreciated. I know this was long-winded.

[This message has been edited by doreen (edited March 27, 2003).]

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By doreen on Thu, 03-27-03, 05:09


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By California Mom on Thu, 03-27-03, 14:47

Oh boy, my heart really goes out to you. I suggest that you schedule a conference to have an in person discussion with the teacher (if there is more than one - then the one in charge who is actually in the classroom). She was probably terrified to tell you that your dd had the M & M. Try to let her know that if an accident ever happens, to PLEASE be sure to let you know. It is important that you can watch her carefully. I would take a list with the items you want/need to discuss. Try to be very non-confrontational and approach it as the two of you working together.

It sounds like your dd likes being there and would be upset by the change. I think kids get a lot of benefit from being in a group environment with other kids, and learning different things than they learn at home with just Mom and family. But, if you think her safety is at risk, then you've got to pull her out. You are the one who knows the situation best.

I am concerned that the other mom thought the staff could/would retaliate against your dd if you wrote a note. I hope this was only the mom's paranoia. If there's any real reason to think this is true, then I think you would find out their true attitude by having a face-to-face meeting. If they're not open to that - then it doesn't sound like a good situation.

Best of luck to you! Please let us know what happens. {{{hugs}}} Miriam

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By momma2boys on Thu, 03-27-03, 14:55

I am in the same situation, my sons preschool isnt peanut free or anything and I was pretty comfortable until they gave him red juice, hes allergic to red dye. Now im so scared they may slip up on the peanuts. So I told them from now on only the snacks I send in.

Im still scared and worry the whole time though. Especially since I read more and more info on here that scares me.

Since its only 2 days a week is there any chance you can go with her?

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By doreen on Fri, 03-28-03, 05:46

Well, momma2boys, my only question to you is do you have anything in writing? I actually do have it documented to only feed her what I give her.

As far as staying with her, I can't. I have a two-year-old, and they only have a paint mom there for half the class with no siblings allowed.

California Mom, I think I am going to pull her out. I think what you said about any chance of them taking anything out on her is just not worth it for 19 classes. Between your post and a very irate friend I spoke to this morning, I've figured out a way to call them on it without involving this poor mom.

You know it would be so easy to just let it go, but, as my friend said, then I would be the paranoid mom. She's fine, we can let our guard down. As if this thought doesn't cross my mind everyday I don't see a reaction in her. I'm not totally decided yet, but I'm 90 percent there, and working on my letter to their board of directors. I think she'll be fine psychologically as long as her little friends' moms are able to set up lots of playdates with me for a while.

Thanks, and feel free to post more, I'm not quite there yet remember.

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By jeancbpugh on Fri, 03-28-03, 15:40

Trust your instincts. Find a better preschool.

I removed my older non-PA son from a preschool that I had a bad feeling about. I switched him to one we ended up loving...and now my 3 year old PA son attends there. I knew it was going to work out reasonably well when I walked in the office on Day 1 and saw the FAAN binders on the shelf.


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By Corvallis Mom on Fri, 03-28-03, 16:44

Doreen, I am so sorry to hear about your problems with your child's school...I know your daughter might be fond of it, but she would also get over not going pretty quickly too, I suspect. (At least if she's anything like the 3yo girls I know [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] )

There is not an easy answer, however. I get criticized (most of the time it is at least subtle) for not having my daughter in a preschool, and you may too if you pull your daughter out. As if this is somehow going to prevent our children from ever getting in to Ivy League colleges or something...How many of [b]us[/b] went to "preschool" and had all of these structured "early learning" experiences, anyway??? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] Sheesh. Talk about overkill.

Do what your heart tells you is right for both of you, Doreen, and know that you will have the support of your friends here no matter what you decide. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By California Mom on Fri, 03-28-03, 20:07

Yes, trust your gut. Good luck! Also, just want to add that my belief that pre-school [i]can[/i] be very positive for kids has [b]nothing[/b] to do with academics, or entry to prestigious universities - I swear! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

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By McKenziesMom on Fri, 03-28-03, 21:50

Could you arrange with another mom to share volunteer duties and on her days, you care for her kids and on your days, she cares for your son? I know it would be difficult to arrange, but then you'd know your DD was safe and you can watch her interact with other kids.

I did that, but it was easier because I only have one child. Just an idea.

The thing that would bother me is that the teacher said she called the mother, but the mother said it wasn't until after your DD had eaten the cupcake. I find that quite sneaky.

Just my opinion.

[This message has been edited by McKenziesMom (edited March 28, 2003).]

[This message has been edited by McKenziesMom (edited March 28, 2003).]

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By Corvallis Mom on Fri, 03-28-03, 22:33

(And no, Miriam, I don't think that most people who put their kids in preschool are thinking about how it will look to Brown or Bryn Mawr! LOL!) The "overkill" part of my comment was about parents who are aghast that not including a "rigorous" preschool experience will scar my child. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I was saying that there are plenty of ways to get the benefits without this sort of bad situation. (Nothing like stating the obvious, I know... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]) Teeheehee!

Again, my best to you in your decision, Doreen.

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By becca on Sat, 03-29-03, 05:50

Oh, I understand your feelings. My preschool is peanut free and nut free, and the others I have looked into are not, but have other PA kids and have never had incidents. We have not had reactions, but she got animal crackers one day, even though I have it in writing no animal crackers(someone missed the "no"). Then there is just soooo much food stuff, that I never imagined it would be more than birthdays(where I have provided cupcakes) and the occasional holiday. But there is always food in every section of learning.

I decided opeanut free is our best option, but I am not wild about this school overall. Just not as organized as I would like on many levels. But my dd is very happy there, has many friends there from the neighborhood, they are flexible in offering extended services for a reasonable price(and are PN free).

So hard. The big thing is you were not told by a responsible adult and a couple knew! I was not, but nobody realized until I called. My dd told me because I ask her each day(especially now) what they had for a snack. Some measures were supposedly put in place, but have not been followed through on. I hound them regularly, though. Tough, tough call.

My dd is also less sensetive, looking like as good as it gets for outgrowing, but most do not. I did sign up for next year because it scares me more that 3 year olds and 4 year olds will be eating PB around her next year at the other great preschool. However, they severely restrict candy and other foods that are salty or filled with hydrogenated fats(just not foods that htreaten the lives of some of their students, hmmmm).

I think, if you have a place for a new school, and are anxious, you can follow your gut. Schedule those playdates and she may not notice much. My dd likes school but is just as happy to miss it too. She is 3.

Best wishes and just sending support and understanding. becca

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By Claire on Sat, 03-29-03, 12:31

I hope that what I say be taken as a help not a rude remark. I decided my children would not attend preschool before I even gave birth. Therefore the allergy had nothing to do with it. I just feel that it is such an honor to teach them their first things such as ABC,123,and shoe tying. Not that I feel anyone is wrong in sending them because you are not. That is just my preference. I just need my babies to myself for 5 years. I think if I had left Chris with his allergy at that age I would have gone crazy. People just don't always think and give our children things without using the brain god gave to them. Supposing your DD had a reaction to the M&M, How would that have been dealt with? My son did react to M&Ms very badly. These moms had no right in feeding your DD. This makes me so angry. I personally would no longer have trust in the class. What else bothers me is that your DD didn't react this time so what will these parents think and do next time.
I am sorry but this makes me so mad that anyone would forget and feed her.
Good luck in whatever you do because you have a tough decision to make. Take care claire

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By darthcleo on Sat, 03-29-03, 14:13

I put my son in daycare against all the mothering fibres in my body! It's the thing to do, these days. Kids are sent away for daycare, preschool, school, and parents have little to say, it seems.
After 18 months, I took him out of preschool (age 4, is that preschool ? I'm unfamiliar with the English terms). He was very unhappy there, even though he was going without crying. He just kept asking me why he couldn't stay home with me? It's been a full year now, and I have no intention of sending him back. I can teach him just as well, and playdates, and afterschool activities can do just as well to develop friendships. It suits his personality - regardless of the allergy issue. It will not suit every kid nor every parent's personality though. But I do resent the pressure that's been applied on *me* to put my kid through "the system"

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By Peg541 on Sat, 03-29-03, 15:58

If you do not have to work out of the home then your child will thank you for keeping her out of pre school.

Maybe you can use this time to get her elementary school ready for her.

They grow up so fast. They are only children for such a little amount of time and although they yearn to be adults, when that time comes they miss their carefree years.

If you can, keep them home, read to them, take them places. You will be rewarded. Do not feel pressured to place your children in day care or pre school if you do not need to.

Working mothers have a totally different way to handle their situations. Their children grow up just as well as the children of non working mothers.

If given the choice I would not work. I never did and we suffered but my children today thank me for staying home with them.

Actually what I meant to say was my children thanked me for keeping them out of nursery school till they were 4.


[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited March 29, 2003).]

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By becca on Sun, 03-30-03, 05:17

I am not debating, but it is a matter of what suits each child's personality, as Darthcleo said. My dd is an only, and was lonely. All the kids we would have playdates with(and we still do) were going off to school. She is in a single activity(music, swimming, gymnastics), once a week most of the time, and has a playgroup, and I was really having a hard time keeping her entertained. Mind you she is excellent at entertaining herself, and always has been.

It really would be so much *easier* for me to keep her home, but she gets lonely. Despite my stress and anxiety(!), she has thrived at going to preschool a couple of mornings a week.

Also, she learned her her first ABCs and 123's looooong before she went to preschool. They focus on simple things at ours, like sitting in the circle for something, following directions, art, music, outside play, speaking out(show and tell), taking turns. Just basic skills, not academics. The academics are embedded in the activities, but low pressure for sure. Let's face it, they do not go off to MIT out of preschool!

The allergies are the source of most of any of my reservations(aside form some general food-related other stuff), and I am surprised to say that. Before having a child, I firmly believed in being a SAHM(definately a choice for me), and doing alot with my child(ren) at home(and I do both). But for some(definately my dd), the social dynamics of going somewhere and interacting in a group and with a variety of others are really good for them. Just depends on the personality. I felt so confident it was going to be great for her development and social interactions, and I was right. It is only 2.75 hours twice a week at this point for us. Plus, so often parents are there for stuff anyway. becca

[This message has been edited by becca (edited March 30, 2003).]

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By California Mom on Sun, 03-30-03, 15:15

I'm on the same page with Becca, on this one. I have a BA and MA in child development, and worked in child care before my kids were born. I always knew that I wanted to be a mommy, first and foremost, and that being home with my kids would be a dream come true. I am very fortunate to be living that dream.

The pre-school that my 8 year old dd went through, and my 2 1/2 year old son is now in, is a parent participation pre-school run through a local school district's adult ed. department. A parent (ususally the mom) stays there with the child for one morning a week, and helps out with all the children. We partner up so that the morning(s) I am not there I have another Mom whom I trust and respect looking out for my child, especially. We choose our own partners. I could stay every day if I wanted, and some parents do, especially early in the year. This is not an academic program at all. The kids get to explore activities in a child centered environment at their own pace. They may get to do things they wouldn't do at home; I know my son does. It has been extremely positive for both of my children, and I feel so fortunate to have this program. It is inexpensive compared to others, since it is run by the school district and there is only one teacher per classroom. All the moms get to know each other really well. It helps that this school is entirely peanut and tree nut free. What a relief, I tell you.

We live in an area where [b]everyone[/b] goes to preschool. My dd and I are both very social. We benefitted tremendously from having a place to go that was "our own" to play and be with others. Pre-school is a very small percentage of their waking hours. My son is there two mornings a week, for 2 1/2 hours each time. I am there one morning. The number of days increase each year, so that he will be there 4 mornings (with me there one) the year before kindergarten.

I have no idea why I went into this diatribe about our preschool. I must feel that I needed to defend myself as a dedicated SAHM who also thinks preschool can be great for some families!!! Hope those of you who were bored just skipped it.

My best to all, and whatever you choose for your families. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

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By doreen on Mon, 03-31-03, 03:02

Wow! I was away for the weekend, and didn't realize how busy everyone was. I decided to take her out, and before I left I was going to post the letter I decided to write to the school.

I actually never thought I would send my daughter to preschool, feeling as some of you that I wanted to keep her close. She just seemed ready. It was only 4-1/2 hours a week. I think it was me who wasn't -- behaving badly getting her out of the house the first few weeks. But, that being said, that is another reason I did it. I feel (felt -- not so sure now) it is a nice transition since there is all-day kindergarten now to go two days then three days at four and work up to that full day (which, I don't believe in ... maybe to discuss off topic).

Anyway, about the school, I decided to pull her out. Becca, I know you said your child's school is peanut-free, but I read here once about a mother that was so worried about peanut shells on the ground that her kid fell off the playground equipment. I was so worried about finding friends that would care for my kids' food allergies, that in one instance my son fell (jumped?) off the top of a bunk bed. This is the same thing I did with the preschool. The second school I have chosen for next year was one of my choices this year. I felt the school she's in now might pay better attention to the peanut allergy, but lost site of the overall picture. My point finally, Becca, is maybe if you don't trust her school, then you should reconsider.

I feel it is important at this point for my child to take a little break, but then to jump back in next year. She had another situation the second day of school where the teacher pulled (gently I'm sure) her off the potty. She was taking hours (felt like it) to get "clean" enough. She was having some obsessive-compulsive problems. I wanted them to speak to her, because that is the type of child she is. They refused. This is how we started. My daughter has only gone once when she had an accident and twice when I was there since. I feel like I failed her, but I think it's important not to quit too quick, and I think it's important now to take a stand and know when to quit. So, hopefully, she's learned some hard lessons early on.

My biggest thing is that they were not honest, and, of course, their general lack of caring. She's 4 now, but you know she was 3 for crying out loud. How can people be so cold? It's like Claire said about them not taking me seriously. If I question the allergy at times, then it's only natural for others to do it and assume I'm a paranoid mom.

Becca, again, my daughter is not as sensitive either. That is why I feel like a paranoid mom. But, it is the unpredictably of this allergy that scares me. It sounds like I'm preaching here, but what I mean is are you sure there are no other options for her because you really don't seem comfortable?

I'm not worried McKenzies' Mom about her seeing children on a regular basis or getting a break. I just felt she was ready. I do some of what you suggested once in a while, and, yes, it is easier when I have one with me!

Thanks everyone. I had a tough weekend, and it was really great to come home to the support -- even though I did forget to post my letter.

[This message has been edited by doreen (edited March 30, 2003).]

[This message has been edited by doreen (edited March 30, 2003).]

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By becca on Mon, 03-31-03, 15:12

Doreen, perhaps you misunderstood my posts, and perhaps I was not clear, [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] !

Though I *do* have some complaints about overall curriculum, in that there is way too much use of food, they *do* make it safe for the kids with allergies. It is just time consuming and annoying. I would be more stressed out if she were at a school where the kids were eating PB around her, even if they were neat and washing, etc... I would see it as micro exposures over time, jeapordizing her chances to outgrow, even if she had no reactions.

It is the first time I have sent a child to school, and the first year this school went peanut free and had any PA kids, and they got 3. The chose to go peanut/nut free, I never requested it, actually. The single error made was understandable, when reviewed, if not a bit careless, but nobody knew they gave my dd the wrong thing until I called them, and they felt terrible, and followed up, calling me later in the eve to be sure she was ok(it was a cracker I do not use, not anything that had nuts or may contain on the label).

Anyways, my point is, that thre is anxiety, but there would be *more* at the other school I would consider in my community. There are many other schools I *did* look at, but they did not suit me for reasons other than PA(what age group she fell into, daycare/preschool versus preschool only, location, cleanliness, nurturing environment). There was so much more for me to consider besides our allergies. This place also has extended care available and I love that because they are so aware and are peanut free.

So, nothing is perfect, but my child *is* safe(there were some wrinkles to work out at first), and I am proud and happy in the end that I have helped and continue to help raise awareness of an entire school community about the allergy. I would prefer to stick with it, give them my feed back and help them get it right or get it better and better, than to leave, even if it is hard sometimes.

I thought long and hard, and decided that the peanut free school with lots of food stuff(that *is* safely done) is better for us than the school where they eat PB around my dd at 3 years old.

As you said, you had some other very real issues with the way your dd was handled. Potty training was another big one for us. My dd is still not trained at 3.5 [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ! They are really cool and respectful about it. I have also seen them wait and wait while a little boy took his time and sang away fro *forever* while he did his business, LOL! They are very nurturing and loving, if not Ivy League!!

My dream is to have a preschool with no food, peanuts or otherwise, LOL! Outside of the little dry snack and drink which is workable. My dream does not exist in my community. becca

[This message has been edited by becca (edited March 31, 2003).]

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By Peg541 on Mon, 03-31-03, 21:33

You know Becca I never considered single children. That is another story altogether.

My kids had each other. They are only two years apart. They did go to nursery school for socialization and religious training but they spent lots and lots of time with each other.

I should have thought of the other side of the coin.

Of course Peanuts are the real problem here, not how many children we have.

Good luck with your decision


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By California Mom on Tue, 04-01-03, 01:55

Peg, you did a great job "isolating" an interesting factor in all of this. My kids are 5 1/2 years apart, so my first was a "singleton" during her pre-school years. They play together really well now, most of the time, at 8 and almost 3. Now I finally understand why I felt like I was doing all the play date inviting! When people have kids who can play together nicely, it is a whole different dynamic. It can get a bit lonely for an extrovert mom (like myself [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]) and kid to hang out all day. Thank you for thinking about this in such a logical manner.
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

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By doreen on Tue, 04-01-03, 03:30

Well, I talked to the school today and told her she would not be coming again. My daughter cried when I told her, but only for 5 or 10 minutes. I really do think she prefers to be with me, and maybe she was somewhat relieved. Who knows? She actually told me her teachers are fun today, which is nothing near what she has said since September (when she says anything at all). Anyway, I was crying when I spoke to the teacher, but of course didn't let her know. I didn't say too much, because I'm going to write them a letter. She was nice enough, but if only she was that way before. You know I switched pediatricians when my daughter was 9 months old, and I felt this same tug but I think I'll see I'm right when I see how much better this other school is (hopefully).

Becca, sorry if I misread your post, it was just how you said you were worried all the time, but I guess we are anyway. It sounds like you do have a good school there. I agree with you about the food. I think it's ridiculous that within an hour storytime at the library they have a snack. At preschool (this one anyway), they have their snack the last 15 minutes, so what's the point? I think we are so food oriented. This new school is peanut-free also, but you know they asked more questions so I guess it made me unsure. It was actually a good thing. Also, I believe last year they were going to have the EpiPen down the hall or something. I can't remember. Now they'll have it right in the class. They also have this big, long hallway I was concerned about, but have resolved those issues I think. No place is perfect, which is originally why I thought I'd keep her home and feeling guilty about sending her at all this year!

I asked for the address of the school's board of directors, and she said send it here I won't open it. Well, I don't know if I believe that, but I think that's as far as I will go. She actually did apologize to me, but she said lots of other things that for some reason were very emotional for me. For instance, she said my daughter won't get 1/10th the attention in any other preschool she gets there. She also said she feels sorry for me when thinking about public schools and that I should consider home schooling if I want this much control.

I think I'm all steamed out.

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By Peg541 on Tue, 04-01-03, 04:48


The school person missed the boat didn't she?

Control? Of course you want control. Your child's life is at stake.

This person did not understand the situation at all. She thinks she did. She is not a safe person to leave your child with, period.

You did the right thing for this situation.
I applaud and support your decision.


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By becca on Tue, 04-01-03, 05:06

That is harsh, suggesting that your dd won't get 1/10th the attention she gets there. It was her emotions speaking, and very unprofessionally at that. Obviously, she would take this withdrawal personally and that got her in a defensive mode, saying inappropriate things. Things like that should reaffirm your choice.

Your heart is leading you and you should follow it.

It is a tough balance, trying to do what is best for our child if there were no allergies and then doing it regardless and/or in consideration of the allergies. People without it do not comprehend the detail in the diet with complete avoidance of a food. Nobody would unless they had to deal with it, and peanut isn't even the hardest one! It really bugs me that we are labelled control freaks over this.

I honestly have a dd who separates easily from me with familiar people, giving me a gentle shove when I try to kiss her good bye! If not for PA, sending her off to preschool would have been so joyous and exciting, really, because she needed it. Things could certainly be worse, but it is a bummer that we have to worry so. But kids eat at least 5 times a day, and every time is a worry, even if at the back of our brains. Just never really goes away.

Peg, I think often of how parallel you situation is, really, sending your boy off to college. It is a big leap(actually the ultimate leap), not unlike the first ever leap into schools, and your perpsective is great after getting through all these years. Thanks! becca

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By Peg541 on Tue, 04-01-03, 14:21

Thanks Becca. I appreciate the kind words.

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By Corvallis Mom on Tue, 04-01-03, 16:59

Becca, your experience is in such contrast to mine! Perfect example of two kids, two personalities. My 4yo is also an only, and she is very comfortable in situations she knows are "safe" (well, as safe as anything ever CAN be) but is too frightened for us to even consider sending her in to an environment where pn would be present. (Ever) She doesn't seem lonely (though as an only myself, I watch for this) but I used to worry about it a lot, and my DH (not an only) thinks it will make her "weird" not to "socialize" her! (LOL! Like a pet!) Since I started following our doctor's advice to treat only children like they were three or four siblings, she seems perfectly normal. (If you wouldn't do it for three kids, don't do it for the one, in other words.)

Just interesting- because I remember being quite lonely sometimes as an only, and my DD isn't bothered by it at all (and we don't have a lot of contact with other kids- but she doesn't care). Her social skills when we DO have play dates are fine- maybe even a little better at conflict resolution than some of her peers- and she certainly enjoys them, but she doesn't "pine" for other children.


[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited April 01, 2003).]

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By AnMaMc on Tue, 04-01-03, 19:06

As a volunteer pre-school aide in my 4-year old son's school, I was very curious about this topic. I have been on both sides of the fence, so to speak. When my 8-year old PA son was going off to pre-school for the first time I was 8 months pregnant and a bag of nerves...so many changes for him and most importantly his PA. His pre-school teacher and administrator couln't have been more accomodating to him. They gave me instructions to call whenever I liked, to drop in and visit, anything that made me feel better. That seems to be the key...the correct balance between teachers and parents working together for the good of the child. Of course, there are many children in the classroom and they all need special attention at times. But, when you have a special needs child, that attention is mandatory and the teacher and administration should welcome the input from parents.
My son had an epipen in the principals office and a poster posted in the classroom where all the parents could see explaining his allergy. He was there 2-3 days a week for two years and he never had an incident.
(I now volunteer there with my younger son.)It is a shame that you had a bad experience with your pre-school. My sister-in-law switched her daughter twice before she found a pre-school to her liking ( no allergy involved ). Follow your instincts, they usually are right!!!! Enjoy her pre-school years they do go by very fast!!!!

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By California Mom on Tue, 04-01-03, 22:08

Doreen, the good news is that you now [b]know[/b] you made the right decision. That teacher sounds terribly unprofessional and has a serious lack of understanding of your needs as a parent; especially the parent of a child with a severe food allergy. I hope the new school will be much better. Miriam

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By doreen on Wed, 04-02-03, 06:28

Thank you everyone. You all said what I thought today. Yesterday I was feeling doubtful, but today as I put more of what she said to me into the letter for the board of directors it hit me. She totally reaffirmed my decision. It was funny to see what everyone wrote, because it was exactly what I thought today. Well, I wrote a pretty extensive letter. This woman will not likely forget me anytime soon. She just writes me off as some paranoid woman right now, but I've answered every one of her point. My friends usually play devil's advocate with me, and this time they so much more forceful then I could imagine -- saying get her out; they lied to you; don't let this one go by; write to the board of directors. Usually they are someway midstream. It's good to have a few people without food allergies to run thoughts by. Luckily, my friends are proving to be more and more supportive as they understand more. So, it's great to know that I have people on both sides of the fence on my side. I think you are right Becca this experience is not unlike Peg's. I was too upset last night to write everything she said, but I did address it in my letter. If you are interested, then I will post my letter tomorrow (or later today as it turns out).

Take it easy everyone, and thanks again for the support. My daughter said I don't want a new school, then two minutes later, she said "I want to go to Meg's school." (a friend of hers) Another indication that she'll be just fine.

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By California Mom on Wed, 04-02-03, 06:38

Doreen, I'm so glad that you're getting a lot of support during this stressful time. I would love to see your letter if you feel up to posting it. I am sure your dd will do well with the change. We moved a year ago, and my dd had to start 2nd grade at a new school. I was so worried, as she is not a child who adapts well to change. It turns out that she is doing great, and I wish I hadn't spent so much of my energy and time stressing out. Take care, Miriam

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By doreen on Thu, 04-03-03, 03:05

California Mom,

I believe you posted around the time I did last night, so I peeked at your post and went to bed. Because I felt good last night about finishing most of my letter that one of my friends insisted I write, I read your post and thought "this stressful time?" and "if I feel up to posting it?" Then I read the rest and I knew too that my daughter will be fine. I feel like a psycho. Tonight I have a whole different perspective. I am stressing out, because I did not get any sleep, I visited my grandmother who has been in the hospital four weeks, the school was nice enough to call and tell me the school pictures were in, I'm fighting with my husband and my friend read my letter and said I wrote too much and they won't read it. And, of course, my husband agrees, so now I am just depressed. I'm still going to finish it because I feel I have to in the off chance it might push any kind of change. Boy, whoever thought preschool would result in this much stress. I don't think it's normally supposed to. I'm a procrastinator because I try to get it "just right." I'll try again tomorrow. Looks like you were right.

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By doreen on Fri, 04-04-03, 05:08

Well, I haven't finalized my letter because they haven't given me a sufficient way to get in touch with their board of directors. The church said they didn't know either. Does anyone know how to get this information?

Besides, I have a new thing to add -- they called me yesterday and told me to come in and pick up her school pictures. Guess what they were eating? One teacher went out of the room, the other asked "Are you done with the peanut butter?" I was actually feeling bad and thought I'd bring her in to say goodbye. Thank God I didn't -- I might have ended up choking someone. Can you believe it?

Joeybeth, if you read this, thanks for your email, but my replies to you keep getting returned.

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By becca on Fri, 04-04-03, 14:10

Geesh! Talk about dancing on your grave. Better and better every story that you are out of there! Not that they cannot eat whatever they want if there are no more allergies, but you would think they might have a heightened awareness of the risks to all children after your dd was there!

Just have a friend or someone call the school to ask questions or something, and see if they can get info for the board of directors. Sounds like they are resisiting facilitating this communication for you.

It should be public onfo somewhere. Maybe your town/city hall or some business listing has a list of the board? becca

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By doreen on Sun, 04-06-03, 04:10

Better and better every story that you are out of there! You said it -- I feel that way exactly! Should I call them one more time to see what else they can dish out to reaffirm my decision?

Thanks for the suggestions Becca -- I'll try on Monday.

At least this weekend I had happy things to go to -- bridal and baby showers!

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