Or how to scare a new teacher or childcare provider into taking your child’s allergy seriously
I’m just like any of you parents out there, whether your child has a food allergy, illness, disability or not. I’ll do anything to protect my children. Believe it or not, my personality tends to be somewhat non-confrontational, and I can be surprisingly shy when it comes to stating my needs. However, it is critical that I articulate my son’s allergies to someone who will be responsible for him such as a teacher, after-school care provider or camp counselor. So I’ve developed a persona I like to call “Crazy Allergy Mom” to make myself feel more confident during these conversations.
I plan out what I am going to say, tailoring it to the circumstances. Then I use the guidelines below to make my case.
- Crazy Allergy Mom does not care if you have never used an Epi-Pen. She will talk you through it and probably jab you in the leg with the practice tester. Ouch!
- Crazy Allergy Mom likes to use phrases like “God forbid” and raise her eyebrows a lot with a stern expression. The eyebrow raising really adds that extra touch.
- Crazy Allergy Mom has been known to place her left hand on her hip and gesture wildly with her right while discussing the dangers of cross contamination.
At first, my husband told me I was overreacting, but now he recognizes that Crazy Allergy Mom rocks and defers to me to have these important conversations.
Case in point: my husband usually brings our son to day camp, but with a big off-site field trip looming, we were both particularly worried that he would forget his allergy kit (Epi-Pen, Benadryl and Allergy Plan). So he called Crazy Allergy Mom in for the extra scare. I spoke with the two young counselors, and then took the extra step to ask my son’s best friend to remind him to bring his allergy kit on the trip. My husband reported that as soon as he and our son walked in on the morning of the trip, the counselors asked him about his allergy kit right away. Crazy Allergy Mom wins again!
Luckily, my son’s teachers and afterschool care providers have responded amazingly well to Crazy Allergy Mom and have taken excellent care of him. As back to school approaches, I’m getting ready to scare a new group.
How do you articulate your child’s needs- food allergy or otherwise?
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