March Preschoolers

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    March Preschoolers

    How are all the "big kids"?  I have come to the conclusion that I am done with winter like everybody else, even though I generally don't mind it.  It's just too hard to take DD (3.5) and DS (10 months) outside together.

    I am actually feeling like I can't do much that pleases both of them at the same time!  It would be different if DD would go and play at a playspace or library or whatever, but she just won't.  When we go to the library, she wants me to read to her the whole time, and at a playspace with a lot of unfamiliar kids, she just sticks to me like glue usually.  We did have some success at a birthday party this weekend at a playspace, where she was actually (*shock*) running off and playing!  By herself, but it was still a huge victory as far as I'm concerned.

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    Med-that's awesome that she went off to play! And I think feeling like a failure as a parent is a sign of a good one! you realize you can't please them all all of the time.

    The only thing I am not looking forward to with spring is allergies. DS has them pretty bad, normally I start him by now on allergy meds, but due to the cold I've been able to hold off. But DS has either ripped or out grown hats/gloves-and trying to find decent ones now is next to impossible. I ordered one pair of gloves online (for $20) and they're too big. ugh.!

    So instead I have purchased swim suits and shorts!

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    Med, can you (start) to set some limits at the library? 


    I will read to you for 5 minutes, or I will read 3 books, (whichever is better and she can understand) and then you will need to read some books to yourself while I play with your brother.  She can learn to turn the pages and "read" them while you play with the baby, because you're right, he needs different things right now and you do need to meet his needs too.  She doesn't have to run off and play with other kids (although HURRAH for this weekend when she did run off and play!!!  woo hoo little med!!!!) but she does need to let you do other things. She's 31/2 yrs old now, she can do it.  Then after 10 minutes of her keeping herself busy then you can read to both of them a few books that he can stand (board books!) and then it can be her turn for 1 or 2 books if he's still doing well.

    If she gets bored then she can join you playing with her brother, or she can stare at the other kids, or she can forget herself and go play with others....

    but yes, 31/2 and 10 mos old is hard because they need very different things at this point. 

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    Yay Med for her playing at the party!  My DS1 (3.5yr) also won't play at those funspaces.  We've been to two b'day parties at those places with the jumpy houses and inflatables/slides.  Won't go near them.  It frustrated my DH who thinks he is way too cautious about many things.  I understand we can't force him, but its no rhyme or reason with him.  Especially when it costs us money.  We went to a funhouse/lunch place a few weekends ago because we were so cooped up inside.  DS saw the (non-inflatable, regular) slides and said he wanted to go (kids much younger than him were on them)  It was $20 for kids to enter.  So we paid hoping he'd play and have fun.  He did the slide once (I guess I should be proud he tried it), was terrified and didn't do anything else.  Expensive slide ride!  Here's where you can never tell.  We got hand me down boots and skis, so a few weekends ago when we were up north, we went to nearby mountain, and he was so excited.  He popped on the skis and went on the magic carpet slope with my DH.  He did many runs with my DH. He was still very cautious while skiing, and stayed very close to DH.  But we were both thrilled.  So we went again yesterday to a more local mountain and he cried and whined the whole time, only going once before he wanted to sit inside.  Again...expensive ski run.  I'd hate to not offer new things but at the same time, DH gets so frustrated that he gets so afraid so fast.  My DH is pretty fearless... but he has to remember he's not 3 1/2.

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALS76. Show ALS76's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    IPW - exciting about the skiing!  We've been wanting to try with DD1 too, who is also 3.5.  This winter has just been so darn cold that I'm afraid I'll rent the skis, buy the ticket, and all she'll want to do is go inside for hot chocolate. :)

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    IPW, fun about the skiing!  (First time, anyway.)

    We are thinking about skiing next winter.  DD should be fine as long as she's the only one on the slopes.  :)  Seriously.  CT, so true about the limits.  She does generally then stand there clutching a book and looking at everybody balefully.

    Today we went to a playspace (we needed to go someplace because last Monday at home did *not* go well).  After a little warm up, she did play and was super cute.  But she will be having a super fun time in the bouncy house, and as soon as another kid goes in, she suddenly remembers she needs to go do something else...  also, before we went, she whined a wicked lot about how she didn't want to go anywhere and just wanted to stay home "all all day".  Even though I remind her how much fun she had last time we did XYZ, she always whines that she doesn't want to go.  Teenager, anyone??

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    We now live where there is no snow, and although I never liked the daily hassle incurred by snowstorms like shoveling snow to get my car out, I do miss the ease of a short drive to NH for skiing. DH and I have talked about possibly going someplace for skiing in winter when the kids are older (although we both are more into cross-country skiing than downhill - and I know ski lifts are going to be out of the picture for a very long time as I can see DH stressing out about the kids falling or sliding off the ski lift). DS has said he wants to go someplace with snow so we will see. DH's mom still lives in Boston area, so we may combine a visit with skiing.

    now that DS is 3.5, we are suddenly starting to realize that kindergarden is not that far away, and questioning our original plan of just going with our local school. He misses the cutoff for public school here by 2 days and they are pretty strict, but we are concerned that he may get bored with school since he will have covered a lot of materials already in his current daycare, but his motor skills are such that we don't want to push him early anyway (DH really struggled with handwriting as a child, and DS's motor skills like art work is really where he has most struggles, and he is already one of the smallest kids in his daycare class) so we are so torn as to what to do. So we will be busy looking at all our options here (charter, public and private).

    One thing we were wondering... since he is only 3, we have decided to not do any extras for academics (we did not sign up for math, phonetics and those "learning adventures" other than music, which he asked us to sign him up for) and we definitely don't do any stuff like flash cards at home. But one of his classmate's moms was telling DH that they do flash cards at home a lot with their son.  The only thing we really do is Chinese school (which is just artwork, games and music in chinese) and that is only because it is a part of his heritage that we don't want to give up - but we tried otherwise to emphasize physical activity and play and I am wondering if we are crazy to not even think about flash cards and doing more structured "educational" sessions (we don't even really do much with board games other than when DS once in a while mentions he wants to play a board game) and having our focus be on play and movement. Both DH and I were taken aback about the flash cards because we could not understand the purpose of them at 3 years old.



  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    cwag - I am 100% with you on the flash cards.  I say a big NO to that!  No way.  Just... no.

    I believe completely in physical activity and just... play.  What they need at this age in the way of language and math "academic" skills comes from life.  Cooking?  We're counting how many tablespoons of sugar to add, looking at the letters on the baking powder can.  Blocks?  Spatial skills, counting, pretend play.  Reading together?  Of course.

    Also, this: toys that can have many purposes.  When a stick becomes a spoon or a canoe paddle or whatever, kids are learning that one thing can stand for another, which is key both for language development and for mathematical development (e.g. algebra).

    Flash cards (what do they even have on them??) and electronic toys where they have to push the button for the "right" answer - these things are not developmentally appropriate for this age.  Knowing the "right" answer is not the most important thing at this point.

    Rant over.

    Now, for DD, she does do swim and also music class, because she only goes to daycare two days per week, and she needs all the practice in social settings she can get.  And she loves music, and loves the water.  :)

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    I agree Med.  What are flashcards for this age?  Vocabulary or math??  We do learning by doing around the house as well, and lots of repetition.  Lots of counting activities lately since he loves to count (How many goldfish... ok you just ate one, now how many?) and still the colors, and we are slowly recognizing letters and numbers.  They do this a lot at his daycare... which also is a preschool curriculum, but still very focused on play and social skills.  I'm always asking DS questions to try to get him to think about stuff and verbalize what he already knows... but again, in a very informal, every day way.    In fact, last night we were going through what kind of trucks were on his placemat.  We were laughing and joking as I was purposefully trying to guess them wrong.   When I got one right, he would say "good job mommy!"  Cute when they think they are teaching you something! 

  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    from what I understood from DH, seems to be more vocabulary... it came up from what I heard was his mother was trying to coax out of him "what does that apple slice look like? remember we worked on this earlier..." to get him to say "semi-circle" (and DS pops out that he thinks it looks like a car body - not a car but car body - which was not what DH was expecting him to say). It was just strange.

    We do the same as you, IPW and med - if DS is interested in something, we go with it - like we have magnetic letters (which half of the time, the kids like to just swipe off and then put back on) and once in a while, he will ask us to spell something, and once in a while, when he and DH are playing with words, DH will spell out "mess" or "p00p" and then exclaim "what! there is a mess on the fridge!" or "oh dear, we need to clean up the p00p off the fridge!" that makes DS laugh hysterically but always fun and games with that. He wanted to know where milk really came from, so we did a family trip to a farm where he got to milk a cow - so we do try those kind of things too when feasible.

    We did "soccer" in winter due to weather (and our pedi saying he needs to move regularly since he is not a very hyper child at all - he would happily lie on the floor with his trains and trucks for an hour or so at a time if we let him - and we needed to ensure that he has sufficient physical activity) and that program does not really teach ball skills so much as they just run - playing red light/green light, avalanche, run from the aliens etc - I have yet to see any real "soccer" skills, and I am totally content with that.

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    p00p on the fridge...  Ah ha ha!  My DD would love that!

  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    Ditto to medford!  FLASHCARDS FOR A 3 YR OLD??????  UGH.  JUST UGH.

    seriously?  flash cards for semi-circle?  just give them puzzles with lots of shapes and there will be a semi-circle in one and then you can use it and call it what it is.  Way to "un-fun" your time with your child, use flash cards.  Oh, I'm really sad for that child and his/her family. 

    just do what you've been doing, with emphasis on having him be active.  You're right, a 3 yr old is too young to learn real "soccer skills" like ball handling and whatever they do.  Just run back and forth and back and forth and....  since it's winter you have to pay to do that, once the weather is better, he can just be out in your yard for 1 hour, minimum, every day.  Get a tunnel to use, a ball, hula hoop, parachute (small one, with about 6 handles, they aren't expensive at Discount School Supplies) - parachutes can be used with 2 adults and 1 child as long as they are the small ones.  

    also, use playdough a LOT - that will help his fine motor strength is his hands.  and see if he'll build with legos, mobilos, and other fun things, rather than just drive his trains and trucks back and forth.  pushing cars/trucks is fun, but doesn't challenge his hand strength like playdough and putting together/taking apart manipulatives do.  Start with easier ones, and build up to harder ones. 



  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    ugh, flashcards. Why can't kids just be kids?

    We read tons with the kids. DS' teachers ask how much we read with them since he loves to read so much. But DS (to my knowlege) does not indpendently read. He knows the stories and "reads" them. Perfect early reading skill. When I read to him I trace the words with my finger so he has a sense of where I am on the page. But beyond that, there is time for when he starts to read on his own. I refuse to push him to read before he's ready. I do not want him to get frustrated with it.

    But then DS and I were talking about going on a date and DS picked the day on the calender and started to write it to save the date. In the little date block he wrote:



    The then came running and to show me and said he ran out of room. The boy was trying to write "we are going on a date." but ran out of room. I nearly fell over. Looks like all that natural play and reading together did the job! go figure! No flashcards needed.

    The thing we DO do it math games. Similar to IPW. DS and DD have just taken naturally to math. At 2.5 we'd drive down the high way and DS would say "Mommy, there are three trucks!" and there would be three trucks, "Mommy, there are two strawberries left". DD has started the same. So we play math games-with chocolage covered raisens. :) If I give you 3, then you eat one, how many do you have? It's tough and we grill the kids with it. :)

    Yesterday we discussed viscosity of mud as the kids got stuck in mud puddles. wait, play as a natural way to learn. crazy concept.

    cwag-would your DS enjoy an obstacle course you made at home? I do that when we've been cooped up too long. Put pillows on the ground, a broom, you jump over one things run around the other. etc.. My kids also love to take all the cushions off the couch and either do icebergs-and navigate around the living room jumping from one to the other, or pile them up and climb the "mountains of China."

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    thanks, everyone! we were just taken aback about flashcards at this age.

    We have tried to incorporate some fine motor skills periodically - sometimes we can get him to join his little sister for artwork/table time and because she loves it so much, he has started to do a little more - we have found a few table activities he likes to do while she gleefully works on her artwork.

    Interestingly enough, it is his toddler sister who is into legos - but he will engage in lego play when she is pulling out all the legos to play with. And he is learning how to hold onto his stuff since his sister has no qualm about walking over to him and attempt to pull his toy right out of his hands. It does seem like DD's influence on him is such that he does work more on the finer motor skills at home with her than he would be if she were not around.

    We have done "freight cars" at home - put some stuff in two laundry baskets and they push them around and crash them (right now, whatever DS does, DD must do too) and once in a while, he would just run back and forth with his stuffed animals. But downstairs, the kids fight over who gets to drive the school bus, climb up the mini-slide so that play time disintegrates quickly but if left alone, he gravitates to re-laying his railways and playing quietly on the floor.

    Luckily as the weather gets consistently warmer, we can take advantage of the backyard, and the nearby park.

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    I could not be more with you when it comes to flashcards being unnecessary!  When DD was maybe 2 yrs 9 months, I went to a parent-teacher conference at her daycare center.  I mentioned to her teacher that I try to do a variety of stuff with her like coloring, puzzles, books, blocks and asked if I should focus on letter/number recognition or anything like that.  She said no, keep doing what I'm doing and they will start that stuff in the ~4 yr old room.  Later that week, I started telling a mommy acquaintance the story and mentioned flashcards.  As soon as I said the word, she was all over it and I didn't finish my story, Oh yes definitely you gotta do flashcards... What??!  It's great to have it on your radar that a kid should know XYZ when he/she gets to kindergarten, but so far DD seems to be naturally learning these things in ways like you have mentioned above.  Right now she is obsessed with the first letter of my name, her name, and D is for Daddy.  Every time we drive by a sign, it's "Mommy, D is for Daddy, D is for Daddy!"

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    ugh. flashcards.

    Kids learn better while playing.  Drilling doesn't work well.  The cruel irony is the drilling that people do is frequently implemented as a stopgap measure to attempt to target areas in which specific kids have fallen behind, usually due to some sort of developmental delay or a lack of practice [through play] and exposure to concepts at home--and the only kids who practice the drills are the ones who already have the other advantages of practice in other ways!  Sigh.  They do a "sight words"   curriculum at DD's daycare and SHE is really into practicing them but I had to put my foot down and explain that I would NOT take time I would normally be reading books to her in the evenings and practice sigh words with her instead.  We can look for sight words on the page while I'm reading, but I'm not substituting snuggly reading time with stupid sight words.

    On that note, I'm kind of graduating out of the boards. DD is 5 today!  DD#2 is 21 months but my oldest is 5! It's crazy!  I can't get over it! DH and I are discussing trying for $3 in the spring (whenever spring arrives.  It sure feels like winter for now).  I'm still not sure. 

  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    Huh? A 3 year old needs to know "semi-circle"?? That kid is in for a long haul. I'd much rather my kids learn through the "p00p on the fridge!!" method than through flashcards. Though I am relieved that you all seem to feel the same way and my kids aren't going to be way behind! Similar to KAM's story, the other day DD (almost 3.5) pointed out a "2" and a "3" in a book, by name, and I almost fell over from shock. Since then I've learned she can name most of the numbers from 1-10.  I certainly didn't teach her that, and she's only in school 6 hours per week and they mostly play and do art. Same thing when she told me she could write her name. It's only 3 letters, and quite crooked, but she did it. I didn't teach her. I don't understand a need for flashcards when they are like little sponges and will learn things through time and experience. It's different if they are actively behind where they should be for whatever reason and you want to strengthen skills they should have or need to have.

    Not sure where you all live, but we've recently started taking advantage of open gym times at local gymnasiums. DD takes gymnastics, and my MIL now takes both kids to the open gym there on Monday mornings. The three gyms we can go to are Legends, Legends South (both in North Andover) and Yellow Jackets (in Middleton). It's less crazy than those indoor playspaces, and usually cheaper.

    Hope everyone is doing well. It's been a stressful few weeks with constant sickness, craziness at work, and general overwhelmedness (I know, not a word) so I haven't been on BDC very much. 



  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    I am in total agreement on the learning through play, there is no reason to start with flashcards at such a young age. One of my favorite ways to teach math concepts to DD has been while we are cooking - We need two eggs for this recipe, can you give me two eggs? If we take two out, how many eggs are left? I need 1.5 teaspoons of salt, I am using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, so we do 1/2, 1, 1.5, now we have enugh salt. (hey look - we just learned about fractions!)

     Although DD loves to do workbooks - she calls it her homework, and will gladly do pages and pages of them. She is most fond of connect the dots, which come in both number and letter variants, but likes tracing the letters and numbers, and matching things (rhyming items, pictures with the letter they start with, items with their number, etc.) She is 5, though, and will be going to kindergarten in the fall, so I think developmentally she is right on track. When she was younger, she wasn't nearly as interested, and I really only started buying them because A) they had stickers, and B) she was doing the connect the dots on a menu when we were out to eat, and was so disappointed there was only one. 


  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    What an insane 48 hours.  Sunday afternoon, driving to friend's house in NH.  Give DS1 half of my Lara Bar (dates and cashews).  He said it was "spicy" (odd as it definitely wasn't), immediately complained of belly pain, and started getting hives all over his face and swollen lips.  Oh dear.  Never would I think my kid would have a nut allergy.  He's had almonds and walnuts... but I guess you can be allergic to one kind of tree nut and not another (and he's totally fine with peanuts/peanut butter).  Long story short, we end up in ER (per doctor's orders via phone) for 4 hours... mostly for observance and meds.  We're told to monitor him and give Benedryl every 4 hours once we get home (around 9:30pm).  Went to his pediatrician yesterday for review and blood panel.  Hopefully we'll get that soon, and then she said she will probably send us to allergist as well.  Then, the poor kid... starting at 5pm yesterday starts vomiting everywhere.  Lasted until 10:30pm.  Doctor said with his immunity down from the cashew, he definitely could have caught the stomach bug just from going to their office that morning.  It was heartbreaking watching him.  Once over the toilet he says with tears "mommy, I need to go back to the doctors" because he felt so sick. 

    Needless to say, not a lot of sleep for this mommy.  Sunday night was asleep by 10:30p, woke at 11:30p to check DS1, 12:45a for DS2 (4 mths), 2am for Benedryl, 3:30am for DS2, then 5:45am to DS1 standing next to my bed ready to get up.  Last night, DS1 slept in our bed after he finally stopped vomiting.. and two wake ups again for DS2 (4 mth sleep regression gotta love ya!).  So I'm about to fall over...

  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    IPW, you poor things!! What an ordeal. I'm so glad to hear that, in the end, everyone was ok. What a good boy, telling you exactly how he was feeling! He deserves a big, nut-free treat once he is feeling better! Hope you all can get some rest tonight.

    On a related note, I can't believe the stomach bug is STILL going around!! Insanity! My MIL showed up at our house Monday morning as i was walking out the door and told us that she had it, then FIL too, 24 hours prior. If I had known, I would have taken the day off, maybe 2!! So I've been cleaning like crazy with bleach. I'm hoping it's the same strain we've already had, but who knows... Ugh.

  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    IPW, so scary!  I'm so glad he was okay, and like Poppy said, he did a great job telling you.  I hope he's feeling better, and that you get some sleep soon.

    That is actually the same allergy I have, cashews.  I can eat other tree nuts - walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts - and peanuts.  The only other nut that has ever given me a reaction was pistachios.  I have no idea if the two are connected or if it's just random.

    I previously had no idea you could be allergic to one kind of tree nut and not others.  Watch out for stealth cashews.  There is a Brazilian fish stew that is all pureed cashews, and I recently saw a pasta dish with a faux-cream sauce that was cashew-based on the menu at not your average joe's.  They also frequently pop up in Asian dishes like stir fries and curries.

    Poppy - yes!  DS has had the stomach bug and so far fingers crossed for the rest of us.

  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    I am allergic to all tree nuts, while my sister is allergic only to Brazil nuts.  Remember, peanuts are not a tree nut, they are a legume, although many people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts, and vice versa. 


    "spicy" is often a word used to describe the way their mouth feels when they are having the allergic reaction.  I would use the word "tingly" but of course they usually don't have that word in their vocab.  Good luck with the allergist, and getting an epipen.  For great info for parents of children with food allergies of any kind (including to milk, dairy, wheat, blah blah) go to FAAN - Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network - at


  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    Med, that is so interesting that you have an allergy to only cashews (and yes... according to Google, the cashew and the pistachio are directly related... as is the mango... do you react to a mango?).  I really hope DS1's allergy test comes back just as yours... with only cashew.  We can easily omit that at his early age (especially since he's become such a picky eater) and would be fairly easy for him once he's older.  For all the "nut" allergies, cashew seems to be the second greatest allergy after peanut... so there must be something in that little guy.

    CT - my SIL is also only allergic to the Brazil nut (and her daughter has them all... all tree nuts as well as the peanut, poor thing!).  As soon as I re-lived the ordeal in my head, I totally realized what he meant by spicy.  Makes perfect sense.  The only other thing he has ever called spicy was seltzer water... which he does NOT like at all.  So really good for him to know that sensation going forward.  Oh, and now I have 5 epi-pens.  My doctor went a little overboard.. but better safe than sorry I guess. :-)

  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALS76. Show ALS76's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    IPW - you poor things!  That must have been so frightening!  I'm so glad that you were able to get medical help quickly and now you have that stash of epi-pens!  I had no idea that a cashew allergy could come on that fast when there have been no nut allergies prior.  DD eats peanut products just fine - but I will keep this in mind when she tries any other nuts.

    And yes - the stomach bug is still around.  DH and I got hit with it hard last Friday.  Almost at the exact same time.  My mother had to come over Friday night and help get the kids dinner/bed.  Luckily the kids have managed to escape it - for now.  Was a real bummer though.  I was supposed to go away for the weekend for my sister's baby shower - but had to cancel because of the puke-bug.  Had to cancel my flight.  It was going to be my first time away from DD2 (9 months)... guess the universe was trying to tell me that was not allowed!

    Med - it may have been on the I&T boards... but that is also so scary about your DS puting that furniture plug thingy in his mouth!  So glad you caught him with it before it went totally in his mouth.  I will surely be on the lookout for those at home.  DD2 is crawling EVERYWHERE now. 


  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: March Preschoolers

    IPW, does he go to childcare?  I think so, (I can't remember) make sure they have 1 or 2 there.  Also, please get an epipen trainer and learn how to use it and then SHOW your son's teachers and the administrative staff how to use an epipen and have them practice using one. And tell them the words he might use if he has the reaction - he might say spicy, he might say hot, and to trust him that if he is upset and doesn't want to eat it then to listen and not force.  Because if something makes your mouth feel spicy then you shouldn't have to keep trying it.  (of course, not for something you know he's had 100 times before (broccoli) and he needs to keep trying it, this isn't a pass to never eat food again, LOL). 

    Better yet, get the training DVD from FAAN ("It only takes one bite" is the title, I think) and watch it, and ask if your director will show your son's teachers and watch it herself.  It's about 15 minutes long, then they'll practice using the trainer on their thigh until  it's no big deal and they aren't squeamish about the "needle".  (by the way, you don't see a needle until after you've used the epipen, but everyone gets freaky about "I can't use needles, I dont' "do" needles, blah blah). But I make my teachers take the epipen trainer, and actuallly push it into their thigh - you'd be amazed how they don't hold it right, don't push hard enough, or just get plain old nervous about it.  Time to be nervous about using it is during training, not when you need to use it.  And I've also had a teacher use the epipen on a child after taking my training, and not hesitating and 2nd guessing herself, so it works!

    Also, the epipen should NOT be locked in the director's office, or the nurse's (for elementary school) office.  Period.  I hate that "medication needs to be locked away" rule when it comes to epipens!  If the director is out for a day, and the Asst. Dir is also out (yes, it happens, we get sick, too) then what happens?!?!?  The epipens must go with him everywhere he goes, which means in the class emergency  backpack they take on walks, to the park, on field trips, and that they use to evacuate the center with.  (because if you evacuate for some reason, you never know when you'll be allowed back in the building, and he must not be separated from his epipen).  Then you must remember to have one/two in your purse, keep one in the house, and your husband has to take one with him when he's alone with the kids.  I don't know how a man carries an epipen without a purse, but whatever. 

    It will be fine, there are many of us who are old and grey with allergies, but you will learn to read the labels on food.  Watch out for regular breads that have nut flour in them (like the 5000 grain ones) that they sell at the grocery store - I mean like pepperidge farm or another one, which has almond flour in it. Of course, almond flour is probably fine for your guy, just not for me!

    And of course, make sure he knows he can't eat cashews because he is allergic and they make him very very sick.  Don't say "he doesn't like them" because you don't want him to wonder if he does and try them.  And model for him - "Before you may eat the cookies at this party, I'm going to check the ingredients to see if they are ok to eat. Mary, did you make the cookes? Yum, they look good - can you tell me whether you put any nut or nut flavoring or nut flour in them?  Oh, you bought them from Stop n Shop, may I read the box to see what's in them? He's allergic to cashews."  Always said with a smile. And then, yes, go right into the kitchen, find the box and read the label.  (watch out for chinese and thai food - they use cashews and peanuts, but if they don't put them on, the food is fine, I love pad thai! )

    The goal is that at 5 yrs old he'll be able to say "I'm allergic to cashews, they make me sick.  Does this x have any cashews in it?" as clear as day.  I will say, the hardest time for me was my teenage years - I hated having to call myself out in a group and go through this big song and dance at a restaurant, it was embarrassing, people looked at me, etc.  That was in the 70s and 80s, however, when restaurants didn't know from allergies. Now I've had chefs walk me through the entire buffet line to tell me what is and isn't safe, etc.! And that's a standing comment on our Open Table thing when we make a reservation "My wife has an allergy to tree nuts." and they read that thing!