Last year I attended my first ever Anaphylaxis Canada Community Conference in Toronto, Ontario and wow, what an eye opener it was. My son, four soon to be five year old William, has Food Allergies and was diagnosed at the age of 8 months. Ever since then my husband and I have been trying to figure out the best and safest way possible to feed William. For the first two years that meant no dairy, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts. William has thankfully outgrown the dairy allergy and I pray he will outgrow the rest to. In trying to find the right path for our son and our family to take we have devoured books, checked out websites and reached out to other Food Allergy families for support and guidance. We have a wonderful doctor who is great with William, but I always seem to come up with a question after I have left his office. Attending the Anaphylaxis Canada Community Conference last year was a blessing. You can read a bit about our experience in this post, if you’d like.
When it comes to being prepared for an allergic reaction, I consider myself to be a well equipped parent. I have an Epi Pen in my purse at all times. We have one in the house as well as at our daycare provider’s home. My son’s school has one in the office and William wears one every day. I have practiced with an expired Epi Pen and even shared that with my readers (check it out)! My ten year old daughter was in on that little session and I think it helped to demystify the whole “what does the needle look like” issue. I have educated myself, my family and my children’s school on the importance of awareness and being vigilant. Yup, I think I am prepared.
There is just one problem; I have never actually injected an Epi Pen into human flesh.
I have no desire to ever have to use an Epi Pen in a real life situation, let alone it be for my son. I have one fervent prayer and that is he never have an Anaphylactic reaction. But, what if he does? How can I be sure I will know what to do and remember my training?
There is a great product on the market these days, perfect for the treatment of Anaphylaxis. It is called Allerject. It is a different type of auto-injector. It provides the same life saving dose of epinephrine as the Epi Pen, but there is one huge difference. This product talks to you. Allerject quite literally tells you what to do when you need to inject yourself, or someone else, with epinephrine. How cool is that?! Does it replace the need to be prepared and even practice with an auto-injector? No, but what it does do is be a voice for your allergic child when you are not there. And even when you are there.
I have had the chance to test out an Allerject trainer. There was no needle or medicine in it, but the calm and confidant voice of the instructor was the same. In just a couple of seconds you can inject someone in distress and not worry that you might do it incorrectly or take too long. To me Allerject is revolutionary. I was recently updated with some exciting news.
“All schools and public health units in Ontario have now received educational materials about Allerject™ as part of the kits and update packages produced by Anaphylaxis Canada in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Educators and staff in all 5,270 publicly-funded schools in the province, as well as all school boards and public health units, now have the materials. These bilingual resources include auto-injector training devices, awareness and instructional posters, instructional videos, a presentation for school personnel and related materials, and other information.”
Having trainer Allerjects in schools along with the educational materials not only means the adults who take care of our children during the day are prepared, but they are also being made aware. Awareness is such a huge part of the fight against food allergies and if it takes having an auto-injector that talks to you then I am all for it.
The past few weeks have been as predictably busy as they should be. A new school year means not only the start of a new grade, but also the start of extra curricular activities, adjusting to new teachers and how they “do” things, sometimes doctor’s appointments for annual check-ups and even, in my case, renewing my license. Busy, busy, busy… A new school year usually brings with it a lot of complaining about homework, old pals ignoring you for new friends and the “I don’t know what to wear” war cry. :-( Three weeks in and I am ready for a vacation. Seriously. But this year I would happily take on even more of those complaints ( okay, maybe not happily, but less unhappily anyway ) then deal with what has been transpiring.
William, my four year old son, started full time Junior Kindergarten this fall. Today marks his 11th day of school when you add in the first PD Day already taken. William is taking to school very well, thankfully, although he does still say every few days that he wants to stay home. I am still not an advocate of the full day program, at least for the littlest ones. William is most often exhausted by dinner time, which means he can get grumpy. Add in a hormonal pre-teen and it is no wonder I have started to drink. ;-) There is one other dimension I have to address this year and that is dealing with William’s Food Allergies. I know I have lamented, okay complained, about the potential hazards or accidents that can happen when he is at school all day, but as his mother I feel somewhat entitled to those feelings. That is never going to change.
So despite my misgivings I have given this whole thing a shot. And you know what I am thinking right now? I am thinking: Is it too late to homeschool? I am chuckling a bit as I write, but it is not a laughing matter. Today was the straw the broke the camel’s back. In the eleven days that William has been attending class Doug or I have visited his school at least six times and talked with them on the phone EVERY SINGLE DAY. The reasons vary for each call or drop in, but they all center around one thing: my son’s safety. The first issue happened on his third day when William and another child shared their snacks with each other. I do not blame the kids, for the most part, because they are both only four, both are new to this all day experience and just trying to impress one another. The only reason I am almost certain that William did not eat any of this other snack is not because the teacher stopped it, but because his big sister Emily happened to see it happen. Not recognizing the snack William was about to eat she took it from him and threw it away! I can just imagine the trouble that caused, but I am so grateful she was there.
The next incident happened the following week when I discovered William came home without the waist pack that holds his Epi pen and asthma inhaler. Ironically we were at the doctor’s office when I found out because not only does stress come with back to school time, so does nasty colds and flus. What this means is that for a good thirty minutes William was without his life saving medication. From the moment he left the class until he got into our day care provider’s van, William was vulnerable to every egg, peanut and tree nut contaminate out there. Since our school is not a nut free school ( don’t even get me started..) and William shares the school bus with kids up to 13 years of age, there is no telling what danger he was in. The only saving grace is that he was not aware of it.
Another incident took place the same day. My son takes his own water bottle to school for obvious reasons, yet there he was with his mouth area breaking out into a rash of some kind. I have witnessed hives literally pop out onto William’s skin, face included, more times than I can count, but this rash had a slightly different quality to it. The doctor’s diagnosis? A rash caused by cross contamination on the water fountain in the classroom, most likely eggs. William said he couldn’t find his water bottle and he was thirsty, well, he actually said “firsty”, but I digress. :-) I realize that I can not expect the teacher to monitor every single thing William does, but the school are the ones that insisted he would be fine, that they have done this many times before. Then why are my son’s needs, after eleven days of school, being neglected?
Can you bear to listen to more? Later last week William was given candy by another child. I am honestly not certain if he ate any or not. There was a supply teacher in the room for most of the week and it is my opinion that she was not paying that much attention. My husband even saw her come out to lock the gate in the play yard after the bell rang and in her hand she was already carrying William’s waist pack. You know the one with his life saving meds he is to wear ALL THE TIME.
That brings me to this week. William again came home yesterday without his Epi pen and inhaler. At the time of publication, it still has not been located. The school couldn’t find it, nor could the school bus company. The bus people, called STOPR, did confirm that they were totally not aware of William’s allergies and asthma. The school had not shared that information on the student forms with them. Say what?! It is bad enough that William does not have his sister to ride on the bus with him, but now I find out the bus driver isn’t even aware of his medical issues! The funny is the first day William rode the bus I deliberately wore my “Warrior Mama” shirt proclaiming “I am the mother of a child with food allergies.” The bus driver thought that my shirt was great! I felt some relief when she shared that. STOPR told me today that bus driver had to switch routes three days later so we have someone different now. Ya think the parents might have liked to know that information? That homeschooling thing is looking better every second..
It is week four of the massive giveaway to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Gluten Free and Dairy Free at WDW and you know what that means. This week’s prize is brought to you by us, MapleMouseMama!! To honor the great work Sarah at GF&DF@WDW does and to give a nod to a subject near and dear to our hearts, Food Allergies, the prize we are donating is a wonderful CD called “You Must Be Nuts” by Kyle Dine. Kyle is a singer/songwriter, an advocate of Food Allergy Awareness and a great entertainer. He helps bring the message of awareness to children and adults alike with his shows and music. You can read more about Kyle HERE. This is a little bit about the CD “You Must Be Nuts” from Kyle’s website:
“Music about food allergies? You Must Be Nuts! Kids are loving Kyle Dine’s CD packed with sing along songs that the whole family will enjoy. Favorites include “EpiMan”, “Smellephant the Allergic Elephant”, and “Stop! Please Don’t Feed Me!”
I can personally attest to how great Kyle’s songs are. I own and listen to his second CD “Food Allergies Rock” with my kids and LOVE it! His message makes dealing with Food Allergies a lot easier for children and even their parents. Don’t tell my kids, but my favorite songs from “Food Allergies Rock” are “I Can’t Eat Eggs” and “Benji the Chipmunk.” Whether you deal with Food Allergies or know someone who does you will truly enjoy Kyle’s music, I promise! You can listen to his songs HERE.
The second part of our prize is a book entitled “Iconic” and it is all about the treasures you must see at the Royal Ontario Museum, located in downtown Toronto, Ontario! My family and I recently spent the day at the ROM and we did not see even half of the place! From digging up dinosaur bones to dressing like an ancient warrior, the ROM has lots to keep you entertained.
So there you have it folks. The Summer of Giveaways presents week four in the fourth anniversary giveaway for Gluten Free and Dairy Free at WDW! Click HERE to enter via MapleMouseMama’s Facebook page. Just click on the big red GIVEAWAY sign and enter via the Rafflecopter widget. This giveaway is open until September 13th, 2013. It is open to residents of Canada and the US, ages 18 and older.
Thank you for entering everyone and good luck!
The moment has finally arrived when I can share with you, my loyal followers, family and friends the awesome giveaway we have set up to celebrate our second birthday!! I am very fortunate to have had the help of my friend Kellie at My Disney Devotional. Kellie created all the amazing graphics you see for this giveaway. Isn’t she amazing?! Please show Kellie some love in the giveaway, okay? My second blessing came in the form of not one, but two contributions to the giveaway prize pack from Leslie at Ava Baby Co and Brooke at About the Mouse. These ladies run two very wonderful shops on Etsy. You can check them out in the giveaway widget as well. You won’t be sorry that you did.
Now to the prize pack!! MapleMouseMama has complied a group of six items to give to one very lucky winner. These prizes best represent what MapleMouseMama is all about, with a little wiggle room for your own interpretation. :-) Have a gander at Kellie’s graphics to see just what I am talking about. I am pretty excited about each of these items and I hope you will be to. ♥♥
As with every giveaway there are some rules, but not too many. In the MapleMouseMama’s Big 2nd Birthday Giveaway Celebration entries are accepted from residents of both Canada and the USA, but they must be 18 years of age or older. The giveaway will end at midnight on Sept. 4th 2013. One winner will take home all six prizes and they will be contacted by email. Once the winner has been confirmed and has provided their mailing address we will announce who they are in a special blog post!
Go forth and enter this awesome giveaway by clicking HERE to go to my MapleMouseMama Facebook page, look for the big, blue Giveaway tab and enter through the Rafflecopter widget. Easy peasy. :-) Thank you for all of your support and good luck! ♥♥♥
It is hard for me to believe that on August 31st of this year the little blog that could will be turning two!! To some that is maybe not such a huge deal, but for me, well I count it as one of my biggest accomplishments. Right up there with childbirth it is. :-) I first thought about starting a blog almost three years ago. I tossed the idea around for bit, but it wasn’t until a conversation with a friend in January 2011 that I got serious. That friend was blogging at the time and I admired her style, her sense of self. She inspired me to go for it. The next step was to start writing. I did that by doing a few reviews for other blogs. That itself was an interesting journey. The one I am most proud of was way over the word limit the first time I presented it to the blog owner and even after a couple of revisions I knew I would be hard pressed to stifle the yakker in me. If you are at all interested you can check out that review HERE at ThemeParkMom Leigh Caldwell’s site. You could say that Leigh gave me my start and I will always be grateful. ♥
Shortly after that I bit the bullet and put my research into action by opening my first free blog on WordPress. That didn’t last a day before I was paying to upgrade to owning my domain. It is not expensive at all and it gave me a little more to be proud of. :-) I had already determined my blog’s name several months ago. It came to me very easily and after market testing it for a predetermined time frame ( my friends at lunch one day ) I knew it was the one for me. Some may think that having the Mouse in my name limits me to just being a Disney blog, but I don’t agree. A blog is like writing your autobiography. The story is yours to tell. Yours to shape, yours to change, yours to define. I will always be a lover of all things Mouse, but I am also so much more then that.
Even after doing some reviews I thought I knew the direction my blog would take. I was pretty sure I just wanted a place to write, to share my love of Disney and to document my kid’s exploits as they grew. It actually even followed that path for the first several months and then I was bitten by the Social Media bug. I started to invest more time into MapleMouseMama, more energy. I asked my blogger friends how they were making money with their blogs, getting big brand names to send them things to review. I even started to dream about a having my own business cards, LOL. :-) (You can see how that turned out HERE. ) Then my radar went all crazy when I first learned that I could potentially be invited to an exclusive blogging conference in Walt Disney World. That would be the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Suddenly I wanted more for my blog. I guess you could say I have not looked back since then. No, I can’t quit my day job to be a full time blogger, but I can continue to learn and grow until that happens.
I define the success of MapleMouseMama in several ways, not the least of which is the technical stuff I have learned. I have had help along the way ( thank you Janice ) and support galore ( have to shout out to my mama, and aunts Gemma and Brenda here), but I am truly proud of what I have done on my own. From the more simple things like designing the layout to the more advanced like creating my logo, my button and pretty much anything widget related, LOL. I have yet to tackle the biggest challenge, becoming self hosted, but that may be on the horizon yet. MapleMouseMama has caused me to grow beyond anything I could have imagined two years ago.♥
I am truly proud of this little blog and all that is held within it. I am proud of myself. Yup, I can say that out loud! I look forward to new challenges as we head into year three. One in particular has me totally restless with anticipation. My first Social Media conference, Blissdom Canada 2013! Stay tuned for more details on that later. In the meantime I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read what I have to say. Thank you for leaving complimentary remarks and thoughtful suggestions. Thank you for sharing my posts on your own pages and groups. Thank you for hanging in there as my view grew to include Food Allergies, among other things. Thank you for your support. I could not have done it without you. ♥♥
I want to give a special thank you to my daughter Emily and my husband Doug. Their love and support has been a lifeline at times and a comfort always. William is a little too young to understand this stuff yet, but he has been a source of inspiration and many laughs in this blog. ♥♥♥
To sum this all up, Happy Birthday to me, MapleMouseMama. :-) To celebrate this, it is time for a giveaway!! What better way to share my joy and show my appreciation then to offer up a lovely prize pack to my lovely readers. I promise it will be a good one to, but you will need to stay tuned just a little longer. :-) Check back later today, August 25th to see what is up for grabs, what amazing bloggers / creators are contributing and just how you can enter. I promise it is worth waiting for.
Sweet little post about Medic Alert bracelets for those who deal with Food Allergies on a daily basis. It made me smile and get vaklemp, all at the same time. Thank you to FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education ) for sharing this bright spot today…
Simple, allergy friendly dessert from Rachel at Mom Vs. Food Allergy! This is one I will attempt, LOL