An exciting development in recent weeks is that Y has really been able to tell us more about his day at school and activities he was involved in. It still requires a little bit of guesswork and interpretation, but it is nice to see his speech developing and that he can share his day with us on some level.
This past Friday, he came home from school and proudly told me that he ate pizza with his reading buddies. This was puzzling to me on a few fronts. As far as I knew, his reading buddies (5th grade mentors who read with his class) only come on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the school was under strict instructions not to give Y any food that we had not sent in. I wasn't sure what to make of his claims, but thought I saw some tomato sauce left on his face.
I decided to call his teacher and clarify. She told me that, yes they had made pizza in class that day with friends from a different grade. Although not the reading buddies, these were other buddies :). She said not to worry because she had bought all the ingredient herself and they were all OU-D. I asked where the pizza was made and she told me in the classroom toaster oven, which is what I had suspected.
I gently told her, that while I appreciated her efforts to provide Y with kosher food and to include him in all activities, the oven itself is not kosher, which therefore makes the pizza (in this case english muffins, marinara sauce and cheese) problematic. She felt very badly and apologized. I told her that I will gladly send in substitutes if she gives me enough advance warning.
It made me realize the truth of the saying, "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing." Y's teacher last year knew literally NOTHING about kosher. So she asked me about every little thing and was very careful. This year, when I initially discussed kosher with the new teacher, she assured me that she knew all about kosher and how to check for the kosher symbols. It is not her fault, it just shows me I have to be more vigilant.
We had a helpful conversation and I reiterated my request that even if she thinks she knows what is kosher and what is not, Y only be given the food we send from home. She agreed and said she will try to give my advance warning so I can send in substitute foods for their cooking activities. It is not as exciting for Y that he will not be able to taste the food that they make, but you have to work with what you have.
And the upside is, we are shepping nachas from our big boy who can share a bit more of his world with us day by day.