TODAY'S post is going to continue with the discussion--until it doesn't, because THAT my friends is how I roll. Yes--I "roll" by yammering on about one thing and then switching to the next while everyone else is still on the first thing. I was inspired today by http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com/ who wrote:
This really angered me because, while I think that child obesity is on the increase and a great deal of the parent population are to blame (I recall watching a documentary on kids as young as 10 years old being given gastric bands because their parents were incapable of monitoring their food intake. One girl, after having a gastric band put in, was invited to a family meal where they all sat down to KFC. Her KFC was liquidised ... please explain to me how this is RESPONSIBLE parenting?!) But, I digress ... it's going a bit far to scare little children by confiscating their lunch. All that succeeds in doing is giving a little girl a complex about food and weight. In the UK, a doctor sent a young girl a letter saying she was 'obese' for being about 5 pounds above the national average. What kind of message does that give a child? The key is to not make a big deal about food. And to educate kids (and parents) on healthy ways of eating. This police-state approach will never work. All it will do is aggravate the situation. Because, what happens when you tell a child they can't have something? They want it more. It's all about education, education, in my opinion. And since when is chicken nuggets a healthy option ever?! Looks to me like the inspectors and teachers need to be educated too.
To which I responded...and responded...and responded. Instead of doing all of that "responding" as a comment, I decided to copy and paste my responses as today's post. Only I thought I LOST all of those responses, which is one of the WORST. FEELINGS. EVER. LUCKILY, I'm not as dumb as some of you think I am and my work was not lost (though after reading it you may wish it HAD been...)
Doesn't everything come down to education? The problem is, too many people are like my son--they came out of the womb KNOWING everything, so they figure, they don't need to listen when others try to teach or educate them! THIS is my BIGGEST pet peeve (though "pet peeve" is too kind)! I go into every situation assuming I know very little. THIS doesn't make me less intelligent than others (there are OTHER things that make me less intelligent than others, but THIS is not one of them). IN FACT, being able to admit to not knowing things helps to make people MORE intelligent. Amazing, right?! Why are so many people afraid to admit that they do not know everything? HUMILITY people. Get some.
I am trying to unthink the whole liquefied (or liquidized) KFC thing and I threw up a little bit when I read it. EEW--there it is again--make it go away! I cannot even IMAGINE being responsible for my children having to get gastric bypass. I know that obesity is often times genetic (and there are MANY unhealthy slender people), but my philosophy was (until I was outnumbered, but THAT is a different story!) why start giving the junk to the children? They don't know what they are missing if they have never had it. Unfortunately, we can't lock them away like some bizarro Tangled movie and only expose them to the foods WE want them to eat, though that seems like the only way to REALLY keep the whole food insanity under control.
I used to battle with my husband and mother about food for my children. My mother wants them to have "fun" food because she is the grandparent and she already lived through the days of saying no. When my son was nearly three, we went to a carnival down the street from my mom and dad's house. My mom INSISTED on giving my son orange soda pop. After deliberating for what felt like hours, she won (or simply didn't listen). My son took a sip, spit it out and said, "This is yucky--too spicy..." and that settled THAT argument--for that day at least! These days, he would probably sell his sister for ANY sweet beverage, but that may say more about his relationship with his sister than his relationship with sweet beverages!
My husband uses (I swear!) almost an entire bottle of syrup at one sitting. You could DRINK the syrup off of his plate with a straw--it's disturbing. The first few times ANY of my kids had pancakes (or french toast) I didn't give them syrup or butter and I never put salt on any of their food either. Everyone gave me a hard time, saying that my children should be able to enjoy their food (and I kind of agree now), but my theory was that since they were never introduced to syrup, butter, or salt, they wouldn't NEED those things. I was (and still am) so afraid of them A. becoming the "typical" American junk-food hound or 2. having any of the issues (with food and with health) that I have.
That's not to say that I didn't eat healthy growing up--I think we were the first people to eat wheat bread ever (the closest thing to wheat bread anyone I ever knew got was the poptart sandwich one kid brought to school one day. We LOVED him...but everyone else ate white bread) and we NEVER had sugared cereals. We drank water most of the time and were allowed KoolAid on occasion. Maybe my mom figures that keeping us healthy as children didn't really work for us as adults, so we should take a new approach with our children? Or maybe she wants to see her grandchildren having fun ALL the time and children don't have fun eating veggies all the time? Or maybe it is fun for her to see us tormented like we tormented her? Whatever it is, I've learned not to worry about it since 98% of the time my children are eating healthy meals--why shouldn't they be able to splurge here and there?
I am horrified and appalled that a DOCTOR would condone let alone be responsible for writing a letter like that--to anyone. Five pounds over the NATIONAL AVERAGE?! I understand that OUR national average is considered to be obese, but writing a letter to a young girl about being overweight is more detrimental to her health than five pounds will ever be. My NOSE weighs five pounds! I remember in high school asking a guy friend of mine if he thought I would win for class officer. The girl I was running against was about five feet tall and 70 pounds soaking wet (NOT that it should matter, mind you). I was just shy of 5'9" and 125. My friend told me, "Well, she IS much littler than you and people like that..." SERIOUSLY?! What I heard was, "Well, you are fat and disgusting and she is not, so she will definitely win..."
I stopped eating. I was working at the time (at McDonald's--GREAT cover!) and in the school play (along with a zillion other activities), so it was easy for me to claim I had eaten elsewhere. At one point I got down to 110 (and STILL wore my size elevens and a coat over my outfit because I was afraid that people would see my body. THAT is a problem, though I don't know who to blame. I'd like to blame a family that was consumed with weight and size, my sisters for always being so little, or my mother--because you always blame THE MOTHER, right?! I could blame the "friend" who so callously sent me down an unhealthy path. Only, when my daughter started wearing HER coat during the school day (at the age of SIX), I started to think.
It is no secret that I am (and always have been) unhappy with my weight, but I try DESPERATELY to not make weight a factor in ANYTHING with my children--I try to simply make it about health (and try to eliminate my own self-doubt when my children are present). So why then is my daughter wearing HER jacket and covering up all day? Could it really be an inherent quality and if so, how do I help her to fight it? It took ME over twenty years and truly BECOMING what I thought I was to learn--I certainly don't want to see her go through THAT. The good news is, I think she was blessed with my husband's ridiculously speedy metabolism, which will definitely be helpful, though I refrain from commenting on size--skinny or otherwise--and simply commend them all on being healthy, stressing that healthy is beautiful.
Today, I packed carrots, peppers, ants on a log (celery, peanut butter and raisins) and cucumbers in my son's lunch. he also asked for a PB &J on whole grain. I was going to let him take a treat from Valentine's Day to have for dessert and he told me, "We aren't allowed to have candy at school, but thanks anyway, mom. I'll take a clementine instead." Now my daughter had smuggled a dozen candy hearts and a pixie stick into HER lunch (which I found and confiscated) even though A. they are not allowed to have candy and@. even if they WERE, SHE would not be allowed to have it because she doesn't eat her lunch.What works for one...well, I don't know how the saying goes, but you get it.
I guess my whole issue with other people telling my kids what to eat is the fact that it takes away what little control I have left. I KNOW that I am feeding my children healthy (sometimes ridiculously so) foods and that is my only insurance that I am keeping them safe. I need to send them off every day and hope that they are behaving the way I've taught them to behave, that they are safe and happy on their own, and that nothing happens to them while they are gone. There is so little I am able to control in their lives and that is scary. Horrible things can happen that I have no control over, but no one can make fresh red peppers, cucumbers and carrot sticks unhealthy (unless they deep fry them, but I feel quite certain that no one is going to steal my children's lunches for the purpose of deep frying them). If I want to give my son a treat in his lunch because he is such an unbelievably healthy eater--ALL of the time--then I should be allowed to do so.
So...I may mess up my children mentally and emotionally, but they will be the best EATERS you will ever meet. If it kills me (and if the school gets involved, it just may...)