We are nearly halfway through the year and our son has attended his new childcare center for nearly 6 months. To be honest, I had expected numerous callouts. In my head, I had decided that if I had to got to hospital twice in six months, then I would quit my job and stay home to look after our son. My expectations were low, but reasonable.
So in six months, our son has not had a single rash. The childcare center cooks all the food on the premises and have been remarkable with him. Our son loves his carers as well as the other kids and often asks if he can go more. When he first started, the center was very small and they actually cooked using his special ingredients for all the kids on the days he went. We give them an up to date list of foods he can eat, including specific brands to buy. Not once have they complained. I sometimes buy ingredients or spices that are new to the food list so that they have a new container that has not been contaminated in any way. So I try and make it easier for them to look after our son and all looks well...
until... I hear of another parent who's son has severe allergies as well has had two reactions recently. Not from the kitchen, which is a relief. But how?? My mind goes into overdrive... with the center's growth, there are an increasing number of children, and an increasing number of new staff. I've met most of them, and our son speaks lovingly especially of the ones who are in the toddler room with him. Suddenly when I think of childcare I'm not filled with amazement and wonder at their wonderful care of our son... thoughts are now suspicious, cynical and filled with dread. How did this happen?!?!
As I type, I'm realising my reaction is very emotional. I've been reading another blog where a poor mum has had that many health scares this year it's not funny. I started listening to a radio broadcast of a gorgeous 10year old girl who had food allergies. She knew all the things to do, but some mix up in a school cafeteria meant that she died at the age of 12. I'm trying to find out more information to educate myself, but it's led to some alarming and frightening truths. Then I guess hearing of another child's allergic reactions in the same childcare as my son brings these truths that much closer to home.
Unfortunately the facts are those risks were already close. We have been doing everything humanely possible to protect our son from his life-threatening food allergies. We, and I mean my husband and I, as well as all the workers at our son's childcare have been doing a terrific job. And I do mean terrific. I can't let all the efforts and achievements be overshadowed by anything.
So where to from here? I do think we need to celebrate six months of wonderful care for our son. But I also feel the need to revisit the center's procedures and make sure all their staff are proactively doing all they can to minimise risk to our son on an ongoing basis.
So thank you Fiona, Elisha, Karen, Rachel, Jacqui, Bianca and Emily. You're wonderful wonderful ladies whom I trust in ways I don't even trust my friends (sorry friends!). Please keep up the good work and please show the new workers how to be as wonderful as you are. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.