Monday, August 29, 2011

Final Few Days at the Daycare

This week is my son's last week at his current daycare.  He goes 3 days a week, Monday-Wednesday, until he switches next week when I go back to work full-time.  His new daycare is attached to the school we hope he'll attend in kindergarten, so the transition will hopefully be easier when the time comes. 

I'm excited about the move for a few reasons.  The daycare is within walking distance of our house, so dropping him off and picking him up will be simple.  He'll learn French (hopefully!).  The centre is small, with fewer students and teachers than his current daycare, so less chance of accidental cross-contamination of someone unaware of his condition.

More importantly though, the daycare's menu is supplied by an outside catering company that supplies all of the children's meals.  I contacted the company and they assured me that providing my son with a gluten free and dairy free meal each day would not be a problem.  The company has a separate kitchen where they provide the meals that don't contain the most common allergens.

The representative told me that they try to provide students with food restrictions meals that are as close to those that everyone else is eating as possible.  For example, veggie sticks and cream cheese dip would be replaced with a dairy free version of cream cheese.  This is important to me because my son is starting to realize when his food is different from that of everyone else, and he doesn't like it.

I have to admit though, putting my son's meals back in the hands of anyone but myself is also causing me considerable anxiety, although the company is reputable and the menu and preparation methods sound appropriate.  When Etienne was being fed by his current daycare, we had more than one incident of cross-contamination and illness.  He hasn't had an incident since May, when he was accidentally fed a slice of whole wheat bread at daycare, and I would like it to stay that way.  I've been providing all of his food for a long time, and I've rested easy at least knowing that his food was safe and hadn't come into contact with any ingredients that would make him sick.  Handing over this responsibility to someone else is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be!

Wednesday night is the orientation/open house.  We've already discussed Etienne's requirements with the staff at a previous meeting, and we're going to be providing a list of items he can't come into contact with, like certain types of glue, paint and clay-type products.  We'll provide alternatives if necessary, but I just hope things go smoothly.

Like all parents with children beginning at a new daycare or school, I hope that my son likes his teachers, makes friends and has fun every day.  On top of those concerns, I worry that he'll struggle with the new language. 

Above all though, I worry that he'll make it through each day without getting sick.  Without being fed something that damages his insides, that causes him pain and discomfort, that makes his soft skin break out into an itchy, miserable rash.  Without suffering through the mood swings, lethargy and vitamin and mineral deficiencies that accompany contamination with gluten. 

Fingers crossed.

1 comment :

  1. I don't know of any childcare centers here or elementary schools that cater so well to a child's dietary needs. That is incredible! I sure hope it works out for him and is a smooth transition.