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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Everyone else knows best

Current Book: Rereading the Honor Harrington series for the umpteenth time.
Current Baking: Lemon Tarts, Butterscotch pudding from scratch, pumpkin apple muffins

I've been doing a lot of research lately into all the different outlooks for food, family, etc. It's amazing how many opinions, options, discussions, and outright fights there are on what's best for a family. Everything from 'everything must be homemade from scratch and a mother's place is in the home'
to 'easy means more time with your kids after the work that saves your pocketbook and sanity'.

Almost all of them have legitimate, well explained arguments. What strikes me is very very few of them take the 'this is what works best for MY family, this is our situation, try it out and see if it works for you!'  approach to things.  Obviously, what works best for a family of three with two self employed, very busy parents and child who is involved in umpteen activities is going to probably not be the best solution for a stay at home mom with four kids and a spouse she sees 4 days in 24.  I'm tired of the militant, drum banging arguments that 'this way is best' or 'mom is smarter then dad' or 'always have supper on the table by five, and tv is the devil for kids.'

 Just because my kid is staying in daycare for the foreseeable future, even while I'm home on medical leave, does not make me an inferior parent. It means I have time to make those from scratch, healthy foods for him to feed his little body while trained educators feed his little mind. It means he interacts with his friends and learns how to be a social human being, rather then a child who's afraid to leave his mom at the beginning of kindergarten. I think that's more important that attempting to be a supermom who feels that despite being told no, you shouldn't be doing *&^%#, they must some how be everything to everyone. That just sets yourself up for failure and frustration and depression.

So, this is what works best for my family. I make sure there is food in the fridge for J to put into his lunch. I make sure Sprog is fed, and attempt potty time whenever possible. Sprog gets to go to daycare except on 'Mommy Days' where we go do something fun, like swimming or story time at the library.
And we make it through.

Please leave your torches and pitchforks at the door, you can collect them on your way out :)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Daycare battles and food issues

Current Book: Dead witch walking, Kim Harrison  Current Baking: Muffins, cookies and pudding

Ok, after a bit (?) of a hiatus here, I'm going to allow myself a rant or two.

To give some background on this, Sprogs daycare, while exemplary in most things, have become lunchbox Nazis to the point where they reject things that are on their suggested lunches list. I understand that the common opinion is that sugar turns small children into whirling dervishes, small demons of energy that will quickly burn out, become cranky, and fight.

There have been many studies now that show this is not the case, and it is our perception that changes, not the kids' sudden energy levels. Yes, if you load a three year old up on pop and pixie sticks, it's bad. No nutrition, instant shot of energy because there is no fiber or vitamins or other food products to slow down the process.  But seriously, people, PUDDING? Real Fruit Gummies, where the second through fifth ingredients are fruit? YOGURT? I've had a few battles, and homemade pudding and yogurt are remaining on the menu but the fruit snacks of most ilk are now gone. He gets fruit leather, which usually manages to mysteriously get buried at the bottom of his lunch kit and eaten as an after-school snack. I bake more then most, and it irritates me that my home made muffins and cookies are side-eyed when they're a helluva lot healthier then the average Lunchable.

Now, they're asking us to 'minimize our environmental impact', which in theory is a great idea but means that all the nifty prepackaged yogurt, fruit leather, cheese sticks, fruit cups, etc now must be repackaged before sending them to daycare. We should be able to save some cash and time at home by just buying the bigger containers and spooning it into the washables but that adds on more prep time and cleaning time as well.

So, off onto the interwebs I went, looking for inspiration...
I found all these cutely themed lunches with scrapbook quality notes, artistically arranged sandwiches and fruit, mini bento boxes, and crackers with smiley faces drawn on them. I found fruit kabobs, train shaped cheese and meat concoctions, and woe betide you if the sandwich is actually sandwich shaped.

Seriously, do these moms not have lives? Where the hell do they find the time for all this? Or is this actually what it takes to have my child eat a lunch I pack for him that follows all their restrictions?
I found a few really awesome suggestions that I plan on implementing. Reaching back into the dusty cobwebs of my own school days, I seem  to remember my dad doing a lot of them when he made lunches way back when. I'll let you know how they turn out :)