Fridays are Ethan's kindergarten are seirously fun. The day starts with an all-school sing-along assembly, where the kiddos learn patriot favorites like "This Land is Your Land," holiday favorites like "The Monster Mash," and sometimes, a few Beatles songs (yeah, that's right--All You Need is Love on a Friday morning with coffee and 100 elementary kids--pretty sweet.)
Then Ethan's class pours out of the building to recess, 20 minutes of controlled (more or less) chaos where the boys spin BeyBlades while the girls build fairy forts on the hillside. Apparently this is the age/grade where the genders cootify (Shakespeare invented 10,000 new words, leave me alone) and can no longer bare to socialize with each other--it happens so organically its hard to fight--these days I watch Ethan catch pretend footballs on the lawn, wrestle his way out of a pile up of fellow kindergarten boys and engage in to-the-death light saber battles in the courtyard with his guy friends, after school. Only when we get home does he readily admit that he would still like to go to his girl friend's house and put on Disney Princess dresses and conduct fashion shows for the moms until the sun goes down.
After recess the kindergarteners come in for their enrichment centers--each week revolving between gardening, cooking, art and glass/ceramics. I volunteer on Fridays, which means I spend my Friday mornings in sing-along, recess & then enrichment center. Apparently I garden. This is news to me, although as an aside, I have to say I did in fact not kill any of the garden left behind by the previous tenant AND I seem to be, at least currently, keeping our lettuce and cauliflower alive. So while I'm off digging in the dirt with one group of 5-6 year olds, Ethan is engaged in one of the other activities (except for once a month when we're together).
A couple of weeks ago, his activity was cooking. To make use of the last of the tomatoes growing in the school's gardens, the recipe of choice was bruschetta. Which calls for garlic. Something my child has probably eaten several times without either of us knowing it, but certainly not something he would, at this point in his life, opt for under any circumstances--when asked what he'd like for dinner, I guarantee you Ethan will never say to me, "You know, Mom, I think I'd like a good scampi." Won't happen.
So thinking he could avoid mixing his tomatoes (which he loves) with garlic (which he does not), he decided to tell the teacher in charge that he was actually allergic to garlic. "Allergic" is a new word to Ethan--Daddy appears to be allergic to gluten and dairy, and Ethan's school is rife with kids allergic to nuts, eggs, citrus, dairy and just about any other food product you can think of. All Ethan really gets is that "allergic" seems to mean that you don't have to eat it. So, in Ethan's mind, a garlic allergy? Very convenient.
What he didn't realize is that, as his parent, it is my duty to inform his school of any and all allergies my child might have. He also doesn't realize that allergies can be a deadly serious thing (literally). He knows nothing of anaphylaxis or EPI pens. He's never witnessed anyone having a life-threatening allergic reaction. He knows a couple of kids who have relatively mild allergies, but he's not been briefed on the significance of or the responsibility that comes with a truly serious allergy. Why would he? We're unbelievably lucky that he has none.
To say it was like he shouted "fire" in a crowded room is definitely an overstatement (but you know how I love me some hyperbole). But. The garlic was immediately whisked away and stricken from the recipe. One of the other moms volunteering offered to go check with me and either verify or debunk the claim, since she knew I was out in the garden beds trying to convince a small horde of kids to help me shlep rotting pumpkins from one bed to the other (yeah, that was not so successful. Mostly they just squealed "Ewwwwwww!" and "Cooooool" while the pumpkins disintegrated in my hands--it was really special.) The teacher declined her offer, probably thinking I was a total deadbeat of a mother not to inform the administration of my child's allergy. Apparently they asked him a couple of times if he was sure he had a garlic allergy & he insisted that yes, indeedy, he was not allowed to eat garlic.
At the end of the day, I was approached by the Dean who asked, "Does Ethan have any allergies we don't know about???!!!" Oh my. Never in my life have I done nothing wrong and felt more awful for having done something wrong. I assured her that no, he was absolutely not allergic to ANYthing, and I apologized on Ethan's behalf for making something like this up (I knew this was coming, as the aforementioned mother told me about the situation during lunch recess after the enrichment centers).
I then went in search of the cooking teacher, to offer my apologies for my silly son and his make-believe dietary intolerances. I found her in the midst of a meeting with other teachers regarding---please take a guess....kids who make allergy claims without any corroborating information from parents. Thank you, Ethan. I assured her that it wouldn't happen again and that she had not, in fact, almost killed my child with her bruschetta.
After all but taking a blood oath that my child has no food allergies, we put the whole thing behind us. Except for the discussion with Ethan about why we don't make stuff up about things that could put us into anaphylactic shock, and how thinking you might not like a food does not equal being allergic to that food.
I am poking fun at the response, but I'm actually really grateful that Ethan's school is so vigilant. Knowing that they are that careful to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their students makes me that much more confident that they are committed to looking after my child when I'm not around the other 4 days of the week. Because even without the vampiric allergy, he's still my special snowflake.