Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Communication is the Key

The boys are at Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week. I know from other parents of children with allergies that this fills them with anxiety. Thankfully, the VBS is being hosted at my sister-in-law’s church, and she has been hard at work to ensure that the week is peanut-free – not just for her nephews, but for other allergic children as well. Also Krystyne is hosting a class on baking with the kids so she is right there in the kitchen, keeping an eye on all of the snacks for the week.

Our boys’ involvement in this week’s VBS stresses the importance of communication – communication with organizers, with school staff, with camp staff, anyone. If you’re longing to send your peanut- (or other allergen) allergic child to a camp, or are looking towards the coming school year with trepidation, let me encourage you to open a dialogue with those who will be responsible for your child in your absence.

Another method of helping your child have some of the “normal” experiences you remember as a kid is to offer to volunteer time, information, snacks, or anything else to help. The first time the boys went to VBS at their aunt’s church, Krystyne volunteered to provide the snacks to ensure they were peanut-free. The other volunteers were spoiled with homemade chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and other such goodies.

We just got back after spending some time at Grandma’s trailer (she bought it for the grandchildren to enjoy, and since none of them can drive yet we get to tag along), where the boys were able to attend a children’s program every weekday. The staff there were so supportive and a couple of times asked Krystyne to check the snacks up-front. Krystyne also attended a staff meeting to teach everyone how to use an EpiPen, just in case. During one of the days home to do laundry Krystyne baked a LOT of chocolate chip cookies to take back to the staff as a thank-you.

Open the door to communication, and keep it open.

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