When our son was 16 months old, we learned about his peanut allergy the hard way. After learning as much as we could about food allergy management, it came time for our son to be enrolled in daycare.
Putting your child in daycare is hard for all moms (ok dads too) and even harder with your first. But putting your food allergic child in daycare can be nightmarish. Armed with an epi-pen demonstrator and an interrogation journal, our search for a peanut-free or at least allergy aware daycare began. The year was 2005.
Our search for a peanut-free day care was over pretty quickly. There were none. We then tried allergy-aware. While some seemed to fit the bill, when we asked the important questions about cross-contamination the responses we received were insufficient and the made up answers were disheartening. We thought that maybe the mega-daycares would have the answers because of the great masses of children they housed. We were wrong.
Re-armed with a mother’s determination and a general “I won’t stop asking until you say yes” attitude, I called on the smaller, family owned daycares hoping I could convince just one to be peanut-free. I found one.
In 2005, family owned Sedona Daycare and Learning Center had just opened their doors. It was a parents’ dream- new, clean and run by a family that actually wanted to care for other peoples’ children.
I descended upon Sedona full of verve and peanut free self-righteousness. I pleaded with them to become peanut-free so that my special son could be relatively safe and so that I wouldn’t have a daily nervous breakdown. I even offered to pay extra (obnoxious I know).
Sedona accepted my invitation to become peanut-free but declined my offer of overpayment (like I said- good people who actually want to take care of kids).
My son started at Sedona at age 2 and stayed on until he left for pre-k at another peanut-free school at age 4 1/2. While he was at Sedona, like many food allergic kids, he grew into new allergies like eggs, soy and shellfish. Sedona took each new allergy in stride and did whatever they could to make the environment safe. We are forever grateful.
I ran into Ms. Selina today at Whole Foods ( yes I still shop there and continue to complain about their lax attitude towards the public display of peanuts.). Seven years since our son started, Sedona remains peanut-free and allergy aware. Thumbs up to Sedona Daycare and Learning Center. We wish every early childhood center was just like you.