Bunky has officially graduated from pre-K.
This happened days ago yet I’m still in denial. Is that weird? I seriously feel like this year just started. Like it was JUST the first day of school and we took these pictures of her scooting along, determined and strong, toward the unknown.
She has grown up this year. So much. In inches, absolutely. The kid is a like a string bean, and not like one of those skinny ones, but a long lean sturdy bean soaring toward the sun.
Her pre-K experience was truly night and day to our nightmare play-school at age 3. We’ll obviously never know why. Clearly, having a new sibling and a recent celiac diagnosis were huge factors. But regardless, she began her new school at age 4 with nerves but no tears, and for the most part over the past ten months she went eagerly and happily.
We loved her teachers, and so did she. They “got” her Bunky-ness. The kid has always been slow to warm. (Which is putting it mildly if you knew her as a baby.) I will always be grateful to these women for nurturing, caring, and teaching her. They told us how much they enjoyed watching Bunky blossom each day, and throughout the year.
As in normal life, the hardest parts at school to navigate GF were holidays and birthdays. I had an open line of communication with the head teacher, and for the most part was able to provide Bunky with safe (and awesome tasting) alternatives to gluten. Sure, the whole Thanksgiving Feast kinda sucked (for my kid) but she might not have eaten much anyway because she’s so picky. She didn’t even try my gorgeous GF apple pie, for crying out loud (but I did, and it rocked, thanks to GF on a Shoestring).
When it was time to make Gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, I brought in GF ones and the teacher provided only allergy safe candy choices so Bunky could get the same high-octane sugar high as her classmates.
For me, the biggest food related issue had to do with graduation. I offered to bake the class allergy free chocolate cupcakes (ala Bunky’s birthday cake) thinking it would be nice (for once) if EVERYONE could eat and enjoy the same thing, but the teacher had other plans. Maybe I’ll write about it one day, maybe not.
But ultimately, upon realizing that my homemade confection would never compete with the gluten-rific cake being made by a pastry chef (!) I picked up a 3-layer allergy free polka dot cake from Tu-Lu’s Bakery (love that place) for Bunky and a pal in class who is allergic to eggs and nuts.
The cake was INSANELY delicious, and both girls enjoyed it, as well as Little Guy, but the point is – as I’ve said before – separate isn’t necessarily equal. I know my girl noticed that her friends were eating something different, especially after the teacher made a very big production about it in front of The Whole Class. This did not go unnoticed by my husband or by the other allergy mom in the room. It sucked, actually.
But, moving along…
In just a few short months our dear girl will be in kindergarten (!) and I will have to begin anew the whole GF education shebang to her teachers and school administrators. This is the mountain that I basically have to climb Every Year. We’re like Sisyphus, us allergy and celiac moms. For those of you not obsessed with Greek mythology, Sisyphus (unfortunately named, really) is that poor schmuck whose punishment is to roll a huge bolder up a mountain only to watch it roll back down and have to do it all over again. Forever. Unlike Sisyphus, who was apparently a real jackass (thus the horrible punishment, Greek gods style), us moms are doing this Sisyphean feat out of pure LOVE and devotion to our kids’ health. And not just physical health, mind you, but emotional as well.
I have to admit I’m rather relieved that my herculean task can be put off for a few more months. Now I don’t have to scramble to make lunch every morning before 8:15 am or coordinate with parents about birthday party cupcake flavors or volunteer for class parties. Nope. All I have to do is hang out with my two kids all day. ALL DAY?!?! Yeah, not really doing much camp this summer, so my posts may be a little more slap dash than usual. But stay tuned for the much anticipated Lunch Box review (I know you’ve been waiting for this) and my summer time equivalent to those endless ball recipes, ice and yogurt pops!
Happy Summer everyone!