Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Haunting Good Time

Halloween weekend was full of fun festivities for our family. 
We held our breath throughout the week when Bumblebee developed a fever and took to bed for a few days, not out of undue concern for her health (we were certain she'd recover fairly quickly, especially if she'd consent to taking just a little dye free motrin to bring it down) but because it was so close to Halloween.  What if she missed all the fun?  :P 
Thankfully, Friday morning she bounced (well, rolled and stumbled, really) out of bed and double checked her costume one last time before leaving for school.  She had settled on a Graduation Girl in honor of Junie B Jones, but couldn't quite bear to spill grape juice "splotchies" or "Polka dottie" all over the beautiful white graduation gown I found stuffed unceremoniously in the back of the closet.  I made a new mortar board for her, tacked on a tassle, and we quickly rolled up a diploma for her to proudly carry around the schoolyard for the parade. 
Penguin, the mature middle schooler, was allowed to wear her costume to school and glowed with the reviews.  Thankfully, I had no last minute baking to do since middle school skips the official class parties and what not.  There was a cookie in her lunch.  She had a perfect costume (Minnie Mouse, with a skirt long enough to remove the black leggings if the California weather got too hot)  She was happy. 

The elementary school hosted a parade where Bumblebee proudly marched around the blacktop with her class.  Nothing special.  But it's fun for the kids, and I went to support her and snap pictures. 
Afterwards was the class party.  I must say it was surreal to not have to provide anythign or fuss over my kid.  I opted to stay for awhile when I overheard the teacher warning the other moms to cook the separate pancake mix first so it didn't get cross contaminated with any wheat at all. 
Oh.  Celiac?  Curiosity and this weird innate sense of protection for unknown children got the better of me.   
They did a wonderful job at ensuring that one child in the classroom stayed safe (there was another food allergy child as well, but his mom was there so I removed him from my warning radar) and were extremely discreet about the allergies.  The children know about the child who has life threatening nut allergies because there is an epi pen in the classroom and because they aren't supposed to bring peanut products during rainy day lunch, as we learned before.  They didn't know about the child with Celiac, they didn't need to.  They still have no idea.  I wouldn't know if I hadn't picked up on the food policing and offered to help. 
I turned down the request for help flipping pancakes.  Not that I didn't want to help, but I was concerned about the safety of spraying Pam.  I know it's an issue for other uncornies, and coupled with the proximity of the whipped cream can (and the way the flecks of whipped cream kept hitting one mom in the face) I felt it was a little safer to stand elsewhere.  
I was then asked to go around with the milk. 
Blank stare. 
I'm afraid I had to ask them to repeat themselves several times before it occurred to me that "Oh, right!  Some people drink milk!" 
I felt like an idiot.  But, I learned that another family doesn't keep milk or milk products in their home.  They don't like to be different or make a scene, so they let the kids have milk products when out and's a "happy compromise" and they don't seem to react too much.  I really wanted to say something more about our we thought Penguin was fine and dandy with a little milk baked into goodies, a bit of cheese or yoghurt with dinner, an occasional serving of real ice cream.  That she didn't know that the nausea and abdominal pain she felt were abnormal.  She never thought to complain, only occasionally comment.  But this really didn't seem like the place or the time to get into those details, so I simply said something about how we used to think the same thing, but my oldest can't tolerate any at all now and asked the first table if anyone wanted milk. 
I felt like a bit of a hypocrite pouring this white poison into their little glasses...thinking of what it would do to my poor daughter.  But then the other half of my brain snapped in and said "You idiot, as long as they aren't allergic to it, it's better than soda!"  And I kept pouring with a smile. 
One girl asked "Is this real milk or fake milk?" And I snatched the cup out of her hand almost before she'd finished speaking. 
"This is cow's milk, what do you usually drink at home?"  I asked suspiciously. 
"Whole milk with vitamin D," she proudly stated and I handed the cup back to her. 
When we ran out I looked at the next jug thoughtfully, and asked myself if you shake cow's milk.  Tried to discreetly hold it up to the light, but it didn't look separated so I decided to stick with a gentle swish just to make myself feel better before I opened it. After all, Rice Dream needs a good shake, but that gallon jug was awfully heavy and awkward. 
Bumblebee was ecstatic.  The main highlight of the party were favor sized card games which the children were given time to play, and little plastic "knock the ball into the cup" type games.  The food was relatively healthy, and colored like real, normal food.  She drank water instead of milk, although I'm not sure she's ever tasted cow's milk.  They had lots of fruit ("Yum!") and pumpkin pancakes. She says her teacher makes "good choices"; which is a wonderful way to wrap up Red Ribbon Week, too. 

After school was the elementary school carnival.  We played games to our hearts content, and won plenty more than candy.  In fact, there was only one piece of candy that was brought home total.  I told them to throw it in the trick or treat bowl and we'd pretend the rest had been taken already.  :P 

All in all...a great start to the weekend. 

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