She’s so excited. A four day residential trip with her school. Year Six always do this and its great fun. Sleeping in dorms, getting wet and muddy in the autumn sunshine (or rain as is most likely the case). A lot of schools plan this type of activity as a ‘post sats’ break. Ours does it now…which makes it much more affordable. So far, so good.
All the other mothers are busy complaining about the amount of labelling required…honestly who knew it could take so long to label every item of clothing, the toiletries, shoes, coats and books? Who knew they could fit so much stuff so much into a small suitcase? It really does boggle the mind. The playground debates re: thermal undies v no thermal undies are ongoing and strangely heated, with all parents trying to juggle that ‘I don’t want them to get a chill and get sick vs I don’t want them to look like a cotton wool kid’. There’s never a right answer so I pack it all and tell Molly to decide for herself (but I have ponted out that there’s very little that’s cool about getting sick and not being able to enjoy yourself).
Of course there have been endless missives from school about the trips. Pages of health and safety forms to sign and return. Details of travel, lists of what to pack, and what’s not allowed. Finally all the medical forms arrive. Are there any issues (dietary or medical) that they need to be told about? Well…ahem. Yes. Several actually. It’s strangely draining having to write it all out in detail for strangers. For the initiated here was our list:
No dairy, eggs, soya, oregano, chilli or curry powser. Limited tomato.
Omeprazole morning and night
Ranitadin morning and night
Piriton morning and night
Must use insect replellent on skin to avoid insect bites as she has an impressive allergic reaction to yet unidenfiied bug (I suspect spiders).
Anti-histamine cream in case of bug bite
Cortisone cream incase of rash
Non dairy milk, non dairy margarine, crackers and biscuits that are dairy free. All meds labelled with dosages and timings.
Letter explaining that as Molly ahs reflux she needs to eat regularly.Snacking oncrackers is good for her. She must NOT have fruit on an emplty stomach, juice under any circumstances and only a couple of sweets if they are going around. She must never be made to finish her meal - an over full stomach will cause her to vomit.
Her allergies are enough of a challenge but the reflux really does tip us over the edge some days. Low fat and low sugar on top of no dairy and no eggs can get a bit ‘worthy’ sometimes. I’m so delighted that there is a growing awareness of the high sugar content in juice. The less this is offered the easier it is on my daughter as sugar triggers reflux.
Here’s the thing about allergies, digestive issues or any child with a medical condition. Everything is a bit more exhausting, a bit more complicated and bit more worrying. Will they feed her properly? Will they take her allergies seriously? If it all goes wrong will they care for her properly? What makes it worse can be other peoples’ attitudes to allergies and reflux. It does sometime feel that since they don’t see the reactions, they don’t believe in the illness, or think that we are exaggerating it to cover up fussiness.
For many children its the first time they’ve been away for more than a night at a friends or trusted relative. We’ll all be checking our phones to make sure there are no ‘she fell down a hill and sprained her ankle’ messages. But some of us, a weary few, will be checking to make sure there aren’t more worrying messages about cross contamination or dietary mistakes.
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