There's no real way to follow the previous posts. I'll offer a proper coda in due course, but for now, allow me to detour long enough to offer today's quote, spoken by a really lovely (and puzzled) parent:
I just found out that dairy isn't allowed in the first grade classroom anymore! They should send out an email to let people know, don't you think?
[insert strangled guttural sound here]
oh, where to begin. When did they allow dairy in the Eldest's allergy-friendly classroom? And why, exactly, did they stop? Hmmmm? And yet (counsels a less panicked section of my brain), this might just be one of those times when it is better just to nod and smile.
Which, of course, is exactly what I did.
The allergy thing has finally begun to make any number of little encounters uncomfortable, and I'm getting the distinct feeling that a proportion of the parent population now think I'm a flaming idiot. They're building effigies, and while last year I might have been determined to go forth and educate, this year I'm tempted to light the thing up myself. I'm tired of being an idiot. I'm tired of not understanding enough to explain things to people. Oddly, I don't know isn't an answer that tends to build credibility, or to reassure. But there's a lot about the Eldest's allergies that I don't know. What, exactly, will kill him? What, exactly, will scar him psychologically? I don't know. And the docs can't tell me.
Oh, yes - and puzzled mom? she's throwing her son a birthday party. She told me about the menu, and I failed to edge a useful, educational word in. Natch. I have a feeling that the simplest thing to do is to go for the fun, and just leave before she brings out the food. Avoid the issue, avoid the baffled and hurt expression on her face when she realizes that the treats that she's already bought (allergy friendly! she said), won't really work.
(this is me, not being nastily snarky, btw, because she really is a nice person. This is also me, not banging my head on the wall. And yes, this is me, adding overhaul school allergy policy to my summer To Do list.)
Oh, but the allergy thing has turned messy, then frustrating, and now I'm flinging my hands up and looking for a sledgehammer. Take that, o unenforced allergy policy. Take that, ye complaisant staffpersons. I'm not swinging at the parents, because, hell, I have to function with these people. Worse, I really like some of them. (Although those aren't the ones who should be carrying rain-o-fire proofing, anyway) But for the miscreants, well, y'all can watch me go and tell the Grand High Idealist that all is not well.
And then, beware all ye peoples, for lo, there shall be A New Policy. Shiny, sparkly and who knows. somewhat more functional? Which yes, lacks a certain shock-and-awe quality, but I'm just so absolutely sick of this allergy mess that at some point any anger turned into a muted, resigned mad.
And sad. The Eldest is just not a good advocate for himself right now, he's not being responsible about handing his EpiPens to adults in charge. We've gone over this ground ad eyeroll, the kid and I. When you get into someone else's car, hand them your backpack. Show them where the medical kit is. Pull it out. Show them the EpiPens. Always, even if it's someone you know. He nodded, solemnly. And yet, today I watched him bounce into a friend's car, never before ridden in - and he didn't check first with me, or ask if the car was safe for him. And he left his knapsack (and EpiPens! and contact sheet! medical etcetera!!) dangling in my hand. I flagged the other mom down before she drove off, and stood there, smacking my head on a reality.
Okay. So the kid is not a good advocate for himself right now. I understand why, and that understanding may be useful, once my blood pressure drops back down. I can see how the urge to socialize, to blend in is trumping any sense of responsibility (need?) to be safe. It's not even a strong need right now, really, since he's been safe for so long that he's forgotten what it's like to have a reaction, a bleed, or who knows. He's been swimming happily in the class' social currents, and now doesn't want to be fished out, or even slowed down in order to be some mom-determined concept of safe. Good grief. In keeping my child safe, I've put him at risk?
I can just see the little LED headline strip scrolling around the inside of his skull: ALLERGIES NOT THAT BAD...KID LOSES ALLERGIES, PARENTS NEVER NOTICE...IMMORTALITY GRANTED TO FIRST GRADER, FRIENDS CELEBRATE WITH PLAYDATES AND PEANUTS...
Please, please let this be a phase. (of course it's a phase. I do know that. And yet, please please please please) I don't want to think too much about a future for a child who is this medically challenged *and* problematically impulsive. I will if I have to, of course, but I just don't wanna. And, I can't help remembering a story the child told me about the last time that the grandparents babysat for a weekend:
Oh, yes, the Grandparent let the Toddles pet a dog.* And he didn't clean him up, after. But he DOES know a thing or two about allergies, you know. [pause] But I did tell him that the Toddles is allergic to dogs. [thoughtfully] I guess he's not, anymore.
It would be unfair to blame the Eldest's lack of caution? fear? internally monitored responsibility for himself? on the Grandparental One, and I won't. But dang, that didn't help the stew bubbling away in my psyche.
*the Toddles is, of course, allergic to dogs. And cats. And feathers. This is hardly news.
FYI, people: something I should have tried years ago...