Today my plan was to endorse how important preschool is for our kids with apraxia. After all, I’d been mentally planning it for months now. What else would I talk about when tomorrow night is orientation, Wednesday Jake meets his new teacher, and Friday is the first day of school?
I also thought I’d be giving reassurance to worried moms who have kids with food allergies, cheering, “If I can send my child to preschool, you can too!” I’ve read so many viewpoints on this subject and most will agree that you have to take a leap of faith and trust that your child will be in good hands. In fact, last year I did just that three days a week and everything went off without a hitch.
But last Tuesday something happened that made me second-guess the preschool decision that I made a few short months ago …
I got the ALCAT blood test results back. Prior to our appointment on August 29th, the nurse wanted to share what severe food intolerances Jake tested positive for. (Intolerances are divided into mild, moderate, and severe categories.)
Jake has a severe intolerance to: egg white, peanut, tuna, wheat, and pork. She also added that gluten was on the moderate list. If I add those intolerances to the true Ig-E food allergies that he has – peanut, almond, and fish – you get one allergic kid and one stressed-out mama.
As I began digesting this news, Forrest Gump’s long-haired, heavily bearded face popped into my head when he decided to abruptly stop his three year coast-to-coast run saying simply, “I’m tired. I think I’ll go home now.” If you’ll recall, he turned around and then slowly forced his exhausted feet back to more familiar territory.
Wednesday and Thursday I continued to put one foot in front of the other, just like Forest Gump did in the movie, with the sole purpose of getting through my day. I tried to encourage myself to keep going. I tried to focus on the positive, even though I was mentally and physically depleted.
After spending a couple of days mid-week humming Jackson Browne’s song Running on Empty, Jenny Sanzo shared the song, Home that she defined as her “apraxia anthem.” This Phillip Phillips melody reminded me to keep the faith, pick myself up, and to continue moving ahead.
Friday, after speaking with two other moms who have kids with gluten intolerances and getting some feedback, my fighting spirit returned. I went to the health food store and picked up some new things to try to incorporate into Jake’s diet. I will continue this trial-and-error process until we go back to visit the doctor at the end of August and get our official attack plan.
So, what does this have to do with starting three-year-old preschool?
All of the daily snacks, cupcake birthday parties, holiday parties, and goodie bags push my stress level past the boiling point.
Yes, he is used to having a “different” cupcake, but now I have to find a new gluten-free recipe that tastes good. I hope to find one, but don’t know if I will. Yes, he is used to sometimes eating different from the other kids, but he is not used to doing it every day. Eventually he will get used to it, but it just so happens that he will be starting a new diet and a new year of school at the same time.
I know socialization and communicating with peers and adults is important, but he does have other situations where he interacts with kids his age. He starts Kindermusik next week and also goes to Sunday School.
On Friday, my mom called and volunteered to keep Jake two mornings a week if I wanted to hold him out of preschool this year. She kept my other son three days a week when he was Jake’s age while I worked and I credit her for the reason L is such a good student. She has a gift of creatively teaching and getting kids excited about learning. I think if she works with Jake on a one-on-one basis with numbers, letters, phonics, and reading that it will be a huge asset to his progression.
I’m giving the diet/supplementation program until the beginning of 2013. If I haven’t noticed any significant improvement in Lil’ Man’s speech, I’m taking him to Nancy Kaufman. In my wildest dreams, I will have a miracle on my hands and won’t have to make the trip to Michigan. In the meantime, we’ll continue with private one-on-one speech therapy on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and I will work with him as often as I can at home.