Friday, February 19, 2010

the (beanie) weenie wrap-up

Thank you all for your thoughts on the food situation. I needed a touchstone to make sure our instincts weren’t miscalibrated. We’re switching E back to meals from home. We’re also making a commitment to really work at expanding his diet and finding new foods for him to try. The part of him eating the center lunch I was most excited about was that it would give US ideas of new things to feed him, but there are other ways to reach that goal. It’ll just take some extra work on our part.

My concerns about the weirdness factor were never really about him and the other kids. I’m reasonably confident that there isn’t a lot of judgment around the toddler lunch table. It’s more about us not wanting to be That Family. We’re already the only two mom family AND the only cloth-diapering family in the whole school (and they’ve been completely awesome about both of those things) but it just seems cliché for us to be the only special food family too, you know? Once M and I talked about it in those terms and had a chance to acknowledge our hang-up, we saw how poor an excuse it was for accepting low-grade fuel for our little guy.

The other thing we were most stuck on was how to move him off the center food without it coming across as judgmental. All of the other kids eat the center food. All of the staff eat the center food. If we give any impression that the food isn’t good enough for our little prince, that implies a negative judgment of them and their own dietary choices, and we genuinely don’t want to hurt feelings. We were granted an out when E developed a wicked diaper rash this week. It may have been a coincidence, but you better believe I’m blaming it 100% on his rapid diet change. When I picked him up yesterday, I casually mentioned to his teacher that I was worried the new diet wasn’t agreeing with him because of the diaper rash she’d seen and some stomach upset I invented. I told her we’d like to switch him back to his regular diet for a while to see if it makes a difference. She agreed it was worth a try. Easy peasy.

This solution falls short of the activism some of you suggested, and a part of me is disappointed in that, but it’s the solution I feel most comfortable with for now. The bottom line is that I don’t feel that I know enough about the situation to advocate change at this point. I don’t know the center’s budget or by what means the food comes to them. It’s a non-profit urban center and I know they serve a lot of subsidized families that live in the neighborhood. I imagine that part (all?) of the food comes from the WIC program. A move to privately-purchased, healthy food options might revolutionize their expenses so dramatically that a dozen other major changes would need to take place first before it could even be discussed. I truly don’t know, and I don’t want to initiate a conversation about it until I’ve had the chance to educate myself a bit. I may look into the parents’ association in the future (you know, in my copious free time) but for now I’m just going to focus on my own family and making things work for us the best I can.

Thanks again for all of the feedback. I have no idea how parents coped in the pre-internet era.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

phone a friend

Okay Internets, I need some help.

About a week ago, Elliot’s teacher asked me if he could start eating the lunches the center provides for the older kids. He’d been munching on the fruits and veggies that accompany the meals for a while, but she wanted to know if he could start having the entrée as well. She mentioned that most parents start letting their kids have the center meals around this age in preparation for their move to the toddler room when they are one year old. I was hesitant because we’ve been so conservative in expanding his diet thus far, but I’ve also worried we are doing him a disservice by not exposing him to more foods and I figured that if they were willing to give him a variety of pre-made, kid-friendly foods, that was probably something we should take advantage of. So I said okay, with some restrictions (no dairy of any kind, no nuts or nut butters, no honey, no fish) and asked them to be very specific in letting me know what he eats each day.

The first day he ate the center lunch, he had a hotdog. *Gulp* It was cut up into little pieces so no choking hazard but geez, let’s jump straight to the holy grail of processed foods, shall we? The next day he ate a baked potato with bacon. Yesterday, he had a jelly sandwich (no PB for him) and refused all fruits and vegetables. (Um, duh.) He had to skip the mac and cheese and tuna sandwich days. I’ve been informed that today’s lunch will be “Beanie Weenies” which consists of hotdogs and baked beans. (I had to ask. Another mom laughed at me.)

I’m freaking out a little bit and we're considering putting the kibosh on the center lunches. In addition to me not being thrilled about the fact that he IS eating these not-so-wholesome foods, I’m also really concerned about what he is NOT eating now: all veggies and most fruits. He’s always been an awesome eater, but since he’s been exposed to the dark side, if you will, he’s been refusing his healthier (read: boring) foods at home. He’s also had a cold for the past few days, so that could be messing with his appetite, but when we offer him the closest thing we give him to a treat (veggie pirate’s booty), he gobbles it up as if he’s half-starved.

I worry that I’m being overly neurotic about this. One of the things I have found the most value in about having E in daycare is that I have daily access to child development professionals who know my kid and know what he probably is/isn’t ready for. They’ve given us tips that have helped us tremendously and I really value their input. So on the one hand, I kind of feel like if they think this food is good enough for him, it probably is. They’re relatively progressive and I generally agree with their philosophies on keeping kids happy and healthy. I feel the same way about the other parents and all of their kids eat the stuff. On the other hand, I’m starting to wonder if their food options (which come from an outside source) are the one thing that is out of sync with the center's M.O. My speshul snowflake has thus far only eaten mostly-organic, mostly-homemade real foods and it makes me feel a little icky to think of him tumbling head-first into the land of sodium, preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.

What do you think? Am I being too sensitive? Be brutally honest, please. If your opinion is, “Yes, K, you’re being one of Those Moms and you need to relax and accept that your kid is going to eat all that stuff and worse but his body will handle it,” then I want to hear it. Truly. I don’t want him to be the weird kid at school whose parents won’t let him eat anything good, but I also want his food to provide him with protein and vitamins and actual substance. He’s got my genes so there’s a good chance he will struggle with his weight at some point. I’d like to do my part by at least trying to imprint him with a preference for good, healthy foods now. But I can’t compete with a jelly sandwich. On white bread, I’m sure. *cringe*

So lay it on me. For reals. Thanks in advance. :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Scenes from a Living Room

Ours, to be precise.

Lights, Camera, Action:

M hands a powerless Wii remote to an 11-month-old and K half-heartedly attempts to contain her displeasure. M notices. This is not the first time a transaction like this has taken place.

M: What, you don't think he should play with this either?
K: Well... No, not really.
M: You don't want me to give him anything!
K: I just don't think we should be giving him things we don't want him to play with. Do you disagree?
M: No, I guess I just think it's okay for him to play with some of these things*. I mean, what is he going to do to this? (holding up remote)
K: (deadly serious and without missing a beat) Throw it in the toilet.
- long pause - 
M: Well, I don't want him to do that.
- another long pause - 
M: Why would he DO something like that?!

It's a valid question, right? Did I ever tell you M had never held a baby before Elliot? She literally never touched a baby before they handed E to her in the OR. She was the youngest in her family (by a lot) and never had any younger cousins or friends while growing up. We are the first of our friends to have a baby. This void of experience has led her into many misunderstandings, such as her expectation that we could expect our future child to potty-train around 9 months of age. Lucky for all of us, she's a fast learner and a good sport.

*Previous proposed playthings = our cell phones and the keyboard on our laptop computer.

P.S. I'm alive and well, just busy. I promise to return to substantive posting one of these days.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I have questions

M and I received a catalog in the mail a couple of weeks ago and opened it up to find this.

I am at a bit of a loss.

Question #1: Does it come with a certificate of authenticity? I mean, how can I guarantee that it is actual fairy, sorry... faerie dust and not some generic knock-off?

Question #2: Was it collected from free-range faeries or do I need to add faerie mills to my list of things to worry about? More importantly, how are the faeries compensated? For that price, it really should be fair-trade faerie dust.

Question #3: Does it come with instructions for use? I'm not familiar with the therapeutic dose of faerie dust, nor am I up to date on application methods. Is there an 800 number for user support?

And just to make sure it's them and not me... This is glitter. In a bottle. Right? I have previously purchased both items on several occasions and I'm having difficulty making their value add up to anything approaching that $68 price tag.