Thursday, May 15, 2008

the meetings that bloom in the spring (tra la)

Welcome to spring. My garden blooms, the boys poke gently at worms, and I talk to administrators and fill out forms for summer camp and (oh me, oh my) school for next year. The local Parks Department runs a couple of inexpensive summer programs, including a well staffed little one that will suit the Eldest and a friend. Its got music, its got messy crafts, and there's lots of playground time. Perfection! But first, the dragons.

(during the initial conversation) Oh, but we aren't peanut free.
(after, I'd guess, looking up hemophilia on-line) Oh, but we'd need a nurse.
(during the second conversation) Oh, but we have the parents do the shopping for foods, and it's hard to regulate what they buy.
(a last effort) Oh, but we haven't the budget to feed the kids lots of fresh fruits.

Legally, the Parks department has to make "reasonable accommodations," as decreed by the Rehabilitation Act (known to we medico-mamas as the bit with Section 504) to suit the Eldest and others of his medical ilk. Practically speaking, they can make things sufficiently unfriendly and define "reasonable" so as to shape a situation entirely unsuited for accommodating a kid like mine. Either of them, to think of it. And so, I was worried.

Another mama offered to come along and nod calmly, indicating that all manner of things were - in her eyes - reasonable. A deep breath later, there we were. So, said the grand high duchess of the Parks Department, what do you need from us? I put on my calmest face.

Essentially, there are two choices that schools have made for food allergies. You can serve one snack to everybody - and have it suit everybody - or you can serve one snack to the kids without allergies and a safe one to the kids with allergies. Then, of course, I said in a ruthlessly pragmatic tone, you also need to supervise the kids with the non-safe snack, make sure they get cleaned up afterwards, clean your surfaces and check for residue. The choices that schools have made often depend a lot on their staffing, the ages and temperaments of the children, and the school's willingness to take on risk.

There was a brief silence. Then, we'll go with just one snack, said the grand high duchess. I nodded. Okay, then. And onwards we went.

The Toddles, too, comes also with a sheaf of papers - how odd to think of the Toddles as going to school. How unthinkable the allergies made this stage for my mother (but who would possibly take him? who could? she cried). But here we are.
I rather like the boring paperwork for schools, especially when you get to the temperament parts. How would I describe my child? What does he like to do? And, especially, what does he like to eat? Hm. I thought about the Toddles' continuing love of spices and his willingness to eat just about anything. Currently, his favorite lunch is brown rice, with a tomato-cilantro-peach salsa, and a garlicky basil pesto. I like the colors of the three dishes when laid out on my plate. The Toddles likes eating them.
My boys' love of food is a great joy to me, and I do drone on about it - happily, mind you. So, what does the Toddles like to eat? Well.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like the tomato peach salsa recipe please. Sounds weight watchers friendly.

Thanks
aidelmaidel

Lois Grebowski said...

Your kids are leaps and bounds ahead of other kids in food likes...So many kids these days only eat junk like chicken fingers and hot dogs.

Kudos, Mama... and extra kudos for avoiding allergens while developing their tastebuds!!!!

mama o' the matrices said...

Aidel, watch for the next post - I'll put the recipe into it.

And Lois, thanks! I love, love, love the experience of a mouth full of flavor, and I'll actually put up with food allergies if the kids will eat with me. My poor SIL has a pair of non-eaters, and it's just no fun at all feeding THEM.

I think the love part is crucial, though. I love this, I teach the value to my kids, and they pick it up. And when this particular value looks pretty, smells good and comes with adventures (farmers markets, pick your own, our community garden plot), how easy it is for the kids to jump on the bandwagon!

mama o' the matrices said...

Aidel, watch for the next post - I'll put the recipe into it.

And Lois, thanks! I love, love, love the experience of a mouth full of flavor, and I'll actually put up with food allergies if the kids will eat with me. My poor SIL has a pair of non-eaters, and it's just no fun at all feeding THEM.

I think the love part is crucial, though. I love this, I teach the value to my kids, and they pick it up. And when this particular value looks pretty, smells good and comes with adventures (farmers markets, pick your own, our community garden plot), how easy it is for the kids to jump on the bandwagon!