When Overachiever #1 first started school, I was terrified. How could they possibly keep my helpless preschooler safe with so many kids running around and too many adults in charge?! For the first few weeks, the ring of the telephone sent chills down my spine. Was that the phone call that I had been dreading? The teacher, principal and staff were very understanding of my fears. For the first few weeks, they started every call with "He's okay! I just wanted to ask you/let you know..." With time and a great deal of patience on their part, I learned to extend little bits of trust.
It has been four years since my overachieving, allergic to the world child first entered school. Somewhere along the way, I learned to relax. His teacher earned my full trust by consistently following the 504 plan that had been so carefully assembled with input from the pediatrician, allergist, teacher, principal, school nurse and, of course, me. When we encountered situations that were not adequately addressed by the plan, we worked out a short-term arrangement and then scheduled a meeting to formalize how such a situation would be handled in the future. By the time Overachiever #2 started preschool, I couldn't wait for each school day to start so that I could have a few hours of kid-free time. What a transformation from those first few weeks!
When the school's phone number popped up on my caller ID today, my first thought was that head lice had found the boys. (What an ordinary thing to dread!) Lucky for me, that was not the case. The school nurse was simply calling to let me know that Overachiever #1 had Overachiever #2's lunch, and vice versa. This is an issue because Overachiever #1 can only have unflavored Neocate, granulated white sugar, artificial colors and artificial flavors. Overachiever #2 is able to drink flavored Neocate, and he also has several safe foods. This sort of mix up is exactly what we need to keep from happening! Luckily, Overachiever #1 was not in the mood for an ambulance ride and so he immediately told the adult that supervises the nut free table. She took him to the nurse who who called me to describe the contents of the lunch bags. She thought she knew what contents went to each kid, but she wanted to confirm that with me just to be sure.
As I said in an email to the school nurse and assistant principal, today's situation is a perfect example of why I am able to leave my allergic children at school each morning with full confidence that they will greet me with hugs in the afternoon. I am incredibly proud of my little overachiever for doing the right thing!!! More than that, I am glad that we were able to establish a good relationship with the school and a 504 plan that helped them to address this issue appropriately. Each school employee that was involved in correcting today's lunch box mix up may simply have been doing their job. But they did it well. They are overachievers in our community, and for them I am thankful.