We walked into Boo's ECFE class this morning and ran through our routine of signing in, putting on name tags, washing hands, and finding Boo's name on the attendance board. Then Boo ran over to one of the tables that was set up with scoops and containers in a flaky, white substance. Immediately I recognized it as rice cereal. First of all, let me say that I think it's a most creative idea to fill a play table with different mediums each week. Sand, dried beans, confetti, etc. are all fun for Boo and his friends to dig around in. So I thought for a minute and decided I wasn't going to make an issue of it. The classroom is really set up for two year-olds and Punky just comes along with me all the time. I went across the room and sat her down to play with some age-appropriate toys.
It wasn't two minutes before Boo came running up to me saying, "Mama, hands!" His hands must have still been damp from washing when he stuck them into the play table because they were completely caked with rice cereal! With Punky in one arm, I hurried Boo over to get a paper towel and wipe him off, but not before bits of cereal flakes scattered all over my jeans. I brushed myself off, aware that there were now tiny fragments of rice on the floor, in the air, and all over Boo and me. I wasn't too worried about Punky having a reaction. She would actually have to ingest some, and I'm not even sure a trace amount would set her off. But I saw firsthand how easy it would be for her to get a hold of a trigger food if it was in her environment.
I talked to a teacher's aide, who wasn't fazed in the least to have to stop using rice cereal in the play table. I felt a little sheepish explaining it to her, though. I'm sure rice was used because NOBODY is allergic to rice. And I come in with one kid with food allergies and another with FPIES and I wonder if I sound just a bit high-maintenance. But it looks like I'm going to have to get used to it.