I remember packing Ella's lunchbox on her first day of daycare when we first moved to Cincinnati in April of 2005. I packed the usual: cottage cheese, carrots, a hummus sandwich and some raisins. It was same thing I packed for her when I used to take her to daycare when we lived in New Jersey. It was a healthy lunch in my opinion, and I dropped her off at school without giving it another thought. Imagine my dismay when I opened her empty lunch box that night and saw a pre-printed note indicating that Ella's lunch had not met the State of Ohio's Nutritional Guidelines for Pre-School Children. Apparently they didn't count the hummus as a protein, so they counted the cottage cheese as a protein, meaning there wasn't enough calcium in her lunchbox. The note referred to the Goddard School Handbook for reference .
I remember being really pissed. How dare they tell me that I am not feeding my child in a healthy manner?! There were no cookies, chips or Diet Coke in her lunchbox. I didn't throw a Lunchables in her box and call it a day. I eventually got over it and made damn sure that Ella never came home with a note like that again.
When we moved here to Bethlehem in August, I started searching for a daycare for the girls since I was going to be going back to work. I found a daycare that was really close to our house. It was a happy environment, clean and fairly reasonable. The best part was that the weekly rate included everything--diapers, breakfast, lunch and two snacks daily. It was going to be GREAT to be able to drop the kids off three days a week without having to schlep food and diapers for them. Part of the information I brought home was a menu of the kids' meals. While I wasn't thrilled with the Beefaroni every other Wednesday and the canned fruits on the menu, I figured I would give it a shot.
Last week I was trying to coax Ella into getting dressed a little faster so that we could leave the house on time at 6:30 AM.
"Hurry up, Ella. We've got to get going. Where are your shoes?"
"I'm really hungry Mommy."
"I know, but you'll eat breakfast when you get to school."
"OH YEAH! We're going to have Lucky Charms for breakfast. Yummy! I do love those Lucky Charms!"
"Excuse me? Did you say you are eating Lucky Charms at school?"
"But Ella, are you sure you're eating Lucky Charms at school? I thought you eat Cheerios there."
"Nooooo Mommy, Cheerios are for babies."
"Honey, are you SURE? I mean, you ate Lucky Charms in Canada as a treat."
"I KNOW! Lucky Charms aren't just in Canada anymore!"
I chalked up our discussion to Ella's imagination and wishful thinking. While I don't feel I am a really uptight parent when it comes to food, I don't feed my kids cereals that have sugar. I just never have. I didn't think for one minute that the daycare was serving Lucky Charms to the kids, so I forgot about it until Ella brought up that she had eaten Lucky Charms for breakfast that day. I still didn't believe it, but I asked one of the daycare aides when I was there on Wednesday. Imagine my surprise when she said that they DO feed the older kids Lucky Charms. She asked if it was a problem. I told her it was and that I would appreciate it if she fed Ella only Cheerios. She said that it wouldn't be a problem, and that she would alert the other workers.
Friday night, Corey called me in the car to say that he had just picked up the girls and that the first thing out of Ella's mouth was that she had eaten Lucky Charms for breakfast.
I immediately called the daycare and spoke to Mr. Mike, the Director. I told him that I was willing to give the employee I spoke to that morning the benefit of the doubt that she had forgotten to inform the others to not feed Ella Lucky Charms. I did however, expect that it wouldn't happen again and that I want it made clear that my girls are to NOT eat sugar cereals. Mr. Mike apologized profusely and promised to make everyone aware that Ella is to eat Cheerios in the future. I was pleased that I had controlled my anger on the phone, yet made my request clear.
I'll give you three guesses as to what Ella had for breakfast this morning at daycare.
I'd love to hear how y'all would handle this.