Warning, Gentle Readers. I'm on a tear. Emotionally-charged food issues ahead.
It shouldn't be this hard...
Last year, when Penn started preschool, I had some misgivings about the food he was being offered at snack-times. Those misgivings have blossomed into concrete-and-rebar road blocks over the course of the past 48 hours. What finally pushed me over the edge? Not sure. The Otter Pop incident was last month, and I spied the Skippy Peanut Butter on the counter a couple weeks back. The preschool kitchen is no stranger to trans-fat and sugar-saturated muffins, cookies, etc. I've sat on my hands all year, comfortable to be privately horrified, so why now? Maybe I'm just that slow. I suppose I finally took a minute to think. Anyway--today I brought in some "snack alternatives" for Penn, in a little container. Almonds, apriums, bananas to offer, instead of... what, exactly? This morning, "crackers" and "peanut butter" were set out for snack. Sounds benign, but I want Penn to take a break from Goldfish and Jif. (I cannot believe I have to say this out loud, or out blog, or whatever/wtF.) So now. I'm tasked with figuring out how to convey a set of standards, a set of guidelines, to help his (otherwise amazing) teachers keep him from eating junk. Don't feed Penn anything that isn't a whole food... don't let him have anything with added sugar... are these clear-cut enough parameters? I okayed cheese. But now that I actually think about this, I'm not sure cheese means cheese to everyone. If Fla-Vor-Ice made it through the castle wall, what's to stop Cheez Whiz? *strangled scream of frustration*
Does Penn ever eat processed food? Sure. But we, his parents, prefer to say when, how, and what. Unmitigated sugar intake leads to cravings for sugar, which leads to poor relationships with food. Poor food management is the reason for obesity (in 1/3 of Americans these days), inattentiveness, and myriad other maladies. The percentage of obese children in this country is higher than that of adults. Blah blah, everyone knows this, blah--but that means it's on us to teach the littles about food. It's our job to provide them with healthy stuff to munch. (Am I crazy? I feel like I'm in the twilight zone, with everyone insisting day is night and night is day.) Here we are, by the way, living in an educated, affluent part of California. Penn's school is private, rather expensive, and the kind of place that ought to know better than to serve kids a giant tube of frozen water and high fructose corn syrup. (Right???) Why, my boss rightly asks--why, oh, why are they feeding the children poison?
I don't know. And I suspect I'm going to make myself really unpopular, least of all with my poor son (who loves sugar just as much as the next human being). THIS SUCKS. It has been so much easier to roll my eyes and kvetch and not actually do anything. Packing date rolls and almonds and little carrot-chip-and-peanut butter sandwiches isn't hard to do, but it singles Penn out. And me. And now we're the hippies (we're the hippies?? Are you kidding me??) Did I mention I think this is ridiculous? On the bright side, the kid. My kid. Loves fruit and vegetables. He will survive. And it's summer. Apriums, berries, snap peas. Figs to the rescue.
This should be easy. This should be a no-brainer. I should be pulling myself up by the boot-straps. I should be in fine form (mountain pose, grin-and-bear-it, come on, Harv). I'm not.
This feels about as good as standing in the middle of the highway at dusk. Blinking, stupid, too scared to run or cry. xox
What I'm up against.