As we dive deeper into this new way of eating - or old way of eating depending on how you look at it - we have lots of ups and downs. When I make pork chops with a salad, steamed cauliflower and cucumber slaw, and Peanut eats her cauliflower first, and asks for more, I know we are on the right track. When she doesn't know what to do with a food that most kids her age have eaten before (lollipops for example) I am so pleased to see that we really are making a different way of food with her.
But them there are the downs. Today at her farm school class, we had a snack that I was totally shocked with. I have come to expect that I won't be pleased with the snacks we have there, but since it is not the end of the world and we only have one more class to go, I haven't said anything. The snacks aren't horrid - there is always juice (which we rarely have at home), and crackers or pudding or chex mix, or whatever. Today, snack was an ice cream sandwich. That's right. At 11:30 in the morning for a bunch of 2 and 3 year olds. Ice cream, sugar, cookie, and processed trash galore. What makes a preschool teacher decide that this is OK? When we saw them, one of the teachers made a comment about how Peanut would like snack, and all I could do was say that I wasn't sure she would know what it was as she had never had one before. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the overall program, (that is a whole other story) but my expectation could never get so low as to assume we'd have ice cream in the morning at school. I think the worst part was that not one of us said anything about the snack. No one called them on it. We all sat there and let our kids eat it (and some parents ate most of it themselves). I'd like to think that we were all in the same boat - too shocked to do more than tightly smile. I'm not sure that is true.
I think that it might be common to give your 2 year old an ice cream sandwich before lunch. Peanut and I had a whole conversation about the snack once she figured out it was ice cream. We talked about what was on the outsides (the cookie) and how that makes it a sandwich. So at least she learned something new, oy. I don't know - I feel like we are so weird sometimes that I can't tell what is really crazy and what is just me.
Last week, I told my grandmother (who has always eaten well - no processed foods) that we were focusing on boosting our immunity to prepare for the flu season in lots of ways, including decreasing/eliminating sugar. Even she was surprised and admonished me, telling me how I would cause my kids to gorge on sweets the first minute they got if I controlled them too much at home. Why is it expected that kids will eat crap and crap alone? I grew up eating pretty well, and yeah, I liked to sneak cookies and all when I was in school, and I certainly saw the freshman 15 consequences of eating junk when I started college, but the pendulum swings and look at me now.
I want my kids to learn how food makes you feel and how when you eat things that are real foods with good nutritional value, you have energy and focus and when you eat things that are processed and have too much sugar and chemicals you feel fuzzy and tired. They can choose, but I want them to think about what their choices mean. Why on earth would I sabotage that by giving them ice cream in the morning at school of all places? I could go on and on about school lunches and vending machines in public schools and fast food commercials and toys in the meals... but I know I will need that energy for elementary school, and this is not ever really preschool yet and I am already wound up about how people who should be setting good examples just don't.