Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kindergarten registration

Yesterday, I went to the local elementary school to get Andrew registered for Kindergarten. It was a lot easier than I had expected because we'd gotten the forms a couple of weeks ago, and Tony's great about keeping all the necessary paperwork that we needed filed and at his fingertips.

I was so happy to see "Nut Free Zone" signs all over the school. There was also a sign that explained that two children at the school are severely allergic to nuts. I knew this already, as my next door neighbour's daughter was one of them. (The daughter had also told me about another student who would pass out if someone opened a bag of nuts on the other side of the classroom. The daughter had also been teased by someone chasing her around with a nut, so I do realize that, while the classroom is safe, the rest of the unsupervised environment might not be.)

I was told that the kindergarten teacher has had anaphylactic kids before, and all the teachers are regularly trained on how to use an epipen. I've also been told to contact the principal in August to set up a meeting with him and the kindergarten teacher, to talk about Andrew's types of reactions and how to recognize when he has a reaction. I also have to provide two epipens to the school.

It looks like they've got a nice system in place, and I'm just going to go with it. What a relief!

I'm also grateful to all the parents who came to that school before me, and did so much work in educating the principal and the teachers on anaphylaxis.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

How to make chocolate lollipops

We had a fun adventure today. I've been reading a few blogs about dealing with Valentine's Day, and all the chocolate that comes out at that time, all of which are unsafe for Andrew.

When in doubt, we just assume that there's nut contamination in all chocolate -- it's a safer attitude than hoping for the best. The last time we let him have a safe chocolate that my sister-in-law had made, he vomited instantly. It turned out that she'd gotten the chocolate from the bulk food aisle, home of all cross-contamination possibilities. (Need I add that she's not allowed to feed him any more?)

So this time, I started with chocolate chunks from NoNuttin, guaranteed to be dairy- and nut-free. Plus he's been having the chunks on his S'Mores, so I know they're safe for him.

Here's my guide to making chocolate lollipops:

1. Go to Michael's to pick up some chocolate molds.
Breakdown of task: Let husband depart to get himself a coffee because of rough week with 2-year-old. Steel self for guiding two children through all the temptations of pretty things in the store. Enter store. Accept half-eaten banana from 2-year old and place into shopping basket for future disposal. Find a staffer and ask where the candy-making section is. Disengage 2-year-old from rack of pretty semi-precious stones and aim him towards the candy section. Since he falls short of goal, distracted by Dora and Diego display, send 4-year-old to retrieve 2-year-old while I try to find the chocolate lollipop molds.

2. Ask 4-year-old to select from vast array of chocolate molds.
Breakdown of task: 4-year-old must examine every single package. He does decide immediately that the happy face lollipops are for his little brother, but takes a while to decide which one is for him. Ends up selecting the hearts, which is appropriate for Valentine's day. Also, a delicate negotiation takes place because 4-year-old wants the short lollipop sticks for baby brother, and the long lollipop sticks for himself. Since I'm not buying two packages of 50 lollipop sticks, negotiation fails.

3. Take packages home. Melt chocolate chunks in pot on stove. (We don't have a double boiler, but a plain pot on low heat worked really well.)

4. Pour chocolate into molds, and insert lollipop sticks.
Breakdown of task: Have brilliant idea to drop cookie sprinkles into molds before pouring chocolate in. Watch 2- and 4-year-old dive into the sprinkles with their fingers, while you're pouring molten chocolate beside them. Clean up sprinkles from countertop, fingers and floor.

5. Take photo of grinning 4-year-old, with fresh haircut and chocolate in molds.
Breakdown of task: Put camera down, where it's immediately kidnapped by 2-year-old, who proceeds to take a dozen photos of the floor, the ceiling and everybody's feet and miscellaneous body parts. Try to remember to delete those photos before you download the camera.

6. Put lollipop trays into freezer to set.
Breakdown of task: Accidentally nudge tray against roof of freezer. Try to clean roof of freezer of all chocolate before it freezes there permanently.

7. After dinner, take lollipops out of molds and distribute to family. Enjoy!
Breakdown of task: Afterwards, wash chocolate from hands, mouth, and pretty much every body part you can imagine.

But we had fun, and afterwards, Andrew actually said thanks for having the brilliant idea of doing these lollipops. I figure I'll save the heart ones for Valentine's day -- the smiley face ones are all gone, as of tonight!