Monday, December 18, 2006

Uptight Mother or Justified Anger? You Decide!

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?"

"Uh huh."

"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.


Kristen said...

Oh my god! You are freaking kidding me! THREE TIMES?!

I'm in so much shock I don't even know what to say. I mean, you've already called THE PRINCIPAL!! What the hell????

(P.S. I can't believe the Cincinnati school said your lunch didn't meet the state standards - that was the healthiest lunch I think I've ever heard of for a toddler.)

sarah cool said...

Well, the large scale solution is pretty simple.

Destroy the factory.

Small scale... I can't help you out, buddy...

lumpyheadsmom said...

I handed my eighteen-month-old son a chocolate-covered donut and let him run with it, much to my husband's horror.

Mine is probably not the opinion you want.

But I can see what my husband thinks and get back to you, he probably has a far more well-reasoned view.

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

Okay, many things to comment on here:

1) Lucky charms aren't inherently evil. That is, unless the kids are only eating the marshmellows and calling it a day. I warned Alex that if he tried that trick, the box would go home with you. He was great until you left, and his perceived threat was gone. Now the damn stuff is gone. And when he complained about the mini wheats I put in front of him today, I told him it was either that or cheerios. He chose mini wheats. I'll compromise with frosted mini wheats, since they can't pick it off and just eat the sugar. Abuse the privelege, and it's gone.

2) You don't have that control at day care. The teachers probably figure that if all of the other kids eat it, it isn't good (or easy) to single Ella out to feed her something more healthy.

3) HOWEVER, to fucking bad for them. It's YOUR KID and YOUR CHOICE. If they can't respect that, they're in for trouble. Raise hell.

4) I have to congratulate the both of us for having some of the few kids around that will willingly eat hummus.

Misfit Hausfrau said...

You're right June--the Lucky Charms are NOT evil. I guess I am just so irritated that this is a pretty simple request and they aren't honoring it. If they can't get THIS right, what else are they doing?! I guess I am also mad that they don't give the kids so much as a banana with the cereal (or yogurt, or ANYTHING.) Just Lucky Charms and some milk. I feed my kids quite a bit at breakfast (cereal, fruit and yogurt) because they are batshit for me at home if they don't have a good breakfast.

Melissa said...

I can't even believe they buy that shit at a daycare. I would be livid. I know for a fact that the day a week that Nata goes that early to day care, they get cheerios or eggs or oatmeal. Honestly, I'd find another daycare, that's nuts. First that they serve it at all and second that they've ignored you three times. Assholes.

The Hummus not being a protein thing killed me too. My kids eat hummus on Pitas and love it and it surly is a protien. What sucks is everyone tells us to feed our kids healthier to avoid obesity and those of us who actually do feed our kids healthy food as apposed to Lunchables or whateve, only get crap from people.

Rita said...

I was raised on the 70s Kid of a Working Mom diet: Hamburger Helper and sugar cereals.

I didn't die from it, BUT . . .I've been heavy my whole life, and I am diabetic now.

My kids eat way healthier than I ever did.

Keep fighting. Or give the kids a protein-rich breakfast before you take them. That will help offset the Lucky Charms, if they happen to indulge.

L. said...

Not worth changing daycare over, but.....DEFINITELY worth getting upset about, and pursuing.

They`re probably just thinking, "Oh, Lucky Charms never killed anyone, and her mother will NEVER KNOW...."

I am more than a bit surprised, though, that a daycare center is buying Lucky Charms as anything other than a rare treat.

Yeah, definitely worth following up...and up...and up...

Arwen said...

I am with rita, fill them up with a morningstar breakfast patty and a banana before they go and then they won't be able to each too much sugar cereal but it still isn't perceived as forbidden fruit. The morning star breakfast patties are a huge hit in our house.

Misfit Hausfrau said...

You're right Rita and Arwen--the girls currently share a banana in the car on the way to school, but I should probably give them something more before we go--it wouldn't be so bad if we weren't leaving the house at 6:30 AM. Yesterday Ella told us she was NOT fed Lucky Charms (YAY!) Instead, she was fed cheerios with Froot Loops mixed in.

Pendullum said...

Not good...

Hope that you and yours have a most merry of holidays...
Looking forward to reading how it all pans out in 2007!

Anonymous said...

I would really pissed off if I asked someone not to give my child something and they just went on like the conversation never happened. It does not matter what your reasoning is.

I was never allowed JUNK Cereal as my Dad called all of those boxed treats that I love as an adult. In defense of the "Junk Cereal" really read the labels of all cereal. Lucky Charms and Cheerios do not differ much and depending on distribution your Cheerios could have more Carbs (Sugar, yes it is all sugar any way you word it) vs the Lucky Charms. On averg. Lucky Charms has 3g more vs Cheerios, but Cherrios has 1g more of fat. What is really bad about Lucky Charms in the artifical colors used bad , bad, bad....

I would walk in Monday with the biggest F****** box I could find and ask if they get the message!!!! Kick some ass....


Anonymous said...

Are you sure they weren't the new fruit flavored cheerios just to make them think they were having a treat?

wordgirl said...

Find out what they're charging to serve your girls breakfast and then get them to subtract it from the total. Then...send them with their own Cheerios.

Anonymous said...

You shut up old hag your just an uptight fuckin asshole dick suckin bitch!!!! what now bitch

Anonymous said...

Type up your request. At the bottom, signature areas, one for you, one for the Principal and two date areas. Make two copies. Don't sign it until you get there.

Hand deliver it and have the Principal sign both copies. If he balks write "refused to sign" where s/he is supposed to sign it, date it, then sign yours and date it. Hand them their copy and keep yours while you say, "I'm sorry it had to be this way but I made my request know to you and your staff three times."

This could also backfire, though, they may find a way to get your children booted from their daycare.

I like the option to have the breakfasts credited/not charged to your account and feed them at home.

Interestingly enough, Lucky Charms has less sugar than Raisin Bran, go check it out. I was amazed when I found that out. I wonder how truthful these companies are on their labels.

I don't have kids but I feel for you. Good luck!