This week we’re slowing down and getting back to the basics. Last week Storyteller got sick again. I’m not sure she recovered completely from the last time. It was just a minor cold but the congestion lasts so long because she hates blowing her nose. It seems that we had a few days of the ‘perfect storm’ coupled with busy activities that led to her getting sick. It made me think about how far we’ve strayed from two important aspects of how we want to raise our girls. It’s time to get back to those two basic ideas…limiting junk food and television.
From the beginning we’ve done our best to limit junk food and feed them nutrient dense real food. We lived in a rural area until Storyteller was 2 1/2 years old. We didn’t have much interaction with other young kids at least not nearly as much as we do now. I was still working and we occasionally needed to use a daycare center. Luckily, it was only a few days here and there but they allowed drop-ins which is what we needed. One day when I picked her up I found out that they had served Oreos for a snack. Storyteller was only 14 months old. The age range of the kids in that room was 12-18 months old. The teacher was completely confused as to why I had a problem with that. I couldn’t understand how someone thought Oreos were good for babies who were barely toddlers. This was a large daycare and preschool chain. Their menu was supposedly designed by a nutritionist and apparently Oreos had his or her stamp of approval for babies. Seriously?! I think that was my first glimpse into ‘mainstream’ food choices for young children. As a society, we feed our young children garbage and then complain when they’ll eat nothing else.
Based on what I’ve seen since then, we’re pretty weird when it comes to food choices. We’re not perfect by any means but I think we do pretty well when it comes to feeding our girls a healthy diet. We were very strict when they were younger. We’ve eased up a bit in the last six months or so. We’ve been okay with the occasional sweet treat at Grandma’s or a friend’s house but lately it’s gotten out of control. Those little treats have been adding up. Leading up to Storyteller’s last cold they had sugar treats four days in a row. Each treat in itself was no big deal but all together it was definitely a big deal especially for kids who normally don’t eat that much sugary junk. I believe it played a key role in her getting sick.
The other aspect of raising our girls that we’ve strayed from is how we handle television time. When Storyteller was born we read somewhere that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 do not watch television. That seemed to make sense to us. When she was only a few weeks old we noticed that she would wiggle her way into position to look toward the T.V. She wanted to see what was making the noise. Not everything we watched was something we wanted her looking at even if she was too young to understand what she was seeing. We turned off the T.V. when she was in the room. Very quickly we noticed that we never watched T.V. anymore since she was always with us and we tried to sleep when she did. Getting rid of cable was the first thing we did when it came time to cut our income in half so that I could be a stay at home mom.
Storyteller was just shy of 3 years old when Comedian was born. We still didn’t have any type of television service but we occasionally checked out a movie from the library or found something on the internet for her to watch when the baby slept. Television just hasn’t been an important part of our lives until lately. Just like the junk food it slowly crept in a little bit here and there so we didn’t even really notice it until it was just too much. Over the last few months both girls have watched way too much television especially when we’re out and about. I believe that many of the movies other kids their age are being exposed to are just too mature for them. However looking at the “mainstream”, we are the weird ones. Are we too strict? Maybe. I just don’t see the point of them watching violent shows even if it’s just a cartoon. There are plenty of other quality cartoons that don’t have violent battle scenes, scary monsters or wicked stepmothers.
The amount of junk food and television in their lives has gotten out of control. It’s time to reign it back in. So yes, I’m going to be THAT mom. One cookie or piece of cake isn’t a problem but it becomes a problem when the junk food starts to multiply. We end up with sick kids who miss their fun activities. Storyteller missed a field trip with our nature study group to the Springs Preserve to see the new butterfly exhibit. She was really sad to miss her swim class. We skipped three days of school and a whole weekend was lost. She’s feeling better now but I still canceled a trip to the Bellagio Gardens with her friends so that she can really rest and recover well. So was it worth it? I don’t think so. She was miserable from being sick and sad to miss her activities and friends. The girls have come to expect lots of sweets and television when we’re out visiting friends and family. So yes, I’m going to have to get back to saying no.