|Zax on his first snack day. He was very proud.|
This year, with Zax in kindergarten, Kal finally gets to attend preschool, and he loves it! He thinks it's great that the school Zax used to attend is now his special school.
This year, the preschool has changed the way they handle snack. Instead of the kids taking turns, the parents are supposed to send their kids with their own snack every day. You might think that, being a food allergy parent, I would be thrilled with the new arrangement. All of Kal's food is under my control now. But I'm actually a little disappointed. There are a few reasons why:
1. Zax used to love it when it was his special day. Yes, kids can take turns with other special duties, like line leader or show-and-tell, but I'll never forget the enthralled look on his face the first time he showed me that he had the snack basket to bring home.
2. If I never have snack duty, I can never surprise the class with a fun or special snack. And I enjoyed providing special snacks. For example:
3. Exposure to wider flavors. Because of preschool, Zax decided that he likes bagels. I have nothing against bagels, but I seldom buy them. And while I could never convince him to try cream cheese at home, the peer pressure at school got him to try it, and admit that he likes it. There were even parents who sent in far more exotic things, like seaweed, which I would never in a million years have purchased. Zax didn't like it, but a lot of the kids did, and they would never have known without snack time.
And last, but most important:
Partway through Zax's three-year-old year, I realized that snack time was a perfect opportunity to practice asking about the content of food. I told him to ask whether the snack had "egg or peanut or nut" each and every day. And I asked the teachers to please always answer the question. Never to say "You can trust us to always check" or "Nobody will send peanut, the school is peanut free." Because everybody makes mistakes, and while Zax was getting practice asking this critical question, it also didn't hurt to remind the teachers every day, just in case they forgot to look.
This process was a bit of a wash during Zax's three-year-old year--most of the time he forgot to ask. But during his pre-K year, Zax really took this responsibility on himself. After a while, he told me to stop reminding him in the morning, but he (and his teachers) reported that he still remembered to ask every single day. Now it's an ingrained habit, which serves him well when food comes up in unexpected situations.
I know I'll come up with a way to teach safety to my second-born, but I still lament the loss of the daily reinforcements at preschool. It was a safe environment, and the perfect place to practice.