February 15, 2006

My son, the Smurf

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 2:30 pm by Erin

I’m mostly a pretty easy-going person.  I accept the fact that since I send P to daycare, I can’t control every morsel of food that enters his mouth.  I accept the fact that he’s now of an age (at 2?  OK, whatever) where they have little Valentine’s day parties at school.  I even accepted that they needed food for said party, and baked strawberry cupcakes with rainbow chip icing.  I was a little upset when I discovered that they had put lollipops in the Valentine’s Day basket that they gave the kids to take home, because I discovered it after P found it, unwrapped it, and had begun happily eating it.  I didn’t take it away (what an incredibly pointless endeavor that would have been!), but I wasn’t happy about it.

Today I went to pick P up, and found that he was a little blue around the mouth.  And hands.  And clothes.  And that all of the other kids were, as well.  When I asked why he was blue, as any parent would do upon finding out that their child has turned into a Smurf, the teacher launched into this whole thing about how they had extra cupcakes left from yesterday and had to eat them up, and how it was such a disaster.  There was apparently blue icing all over everything–what a mess for the poor teachers!  (Note that my frosting was vanilla with rainbow chips.  Not blue.  So this was not my fault.)  Oh, and if the P was a little hyper this evening, it was because he’d had quite a bit of sugar.

Now, I accepted this explanation yesterday when they had their party.  P does not get sugar at home, so even a little bit makes him go insane.  I dealt with my psycho, hyper, sugared-up child who also ate the lollipop that they thoughtfully put in the kids’ baskets.  We managed to get through his crash down from that sugar-high that happened when we went out to dinner last night.  I didn’t complain because, hey Valentine’s Day only happens once a year. I know that there will be other times they have parties in there, but occasionally is not bad.

I was not so accepting when it happened again TODAY.  I failed to commiserate with the teacher who complained about blue icing everywhere because, quite frankly, there shouldn’t have been any icing around anywhere today.  And because I have to give my kid another bath tonight because he’s blue everywhere.  And because I HAVE TO DEAL WITH A PSYCHO, HYPER, SUGARED-UP CHILD WHO WILL HAVE ANOTHER MISERABLE CRASH THIS EVENING.  Probably while I’m teaching my Bradley classes in my living room.

I didn’t say anything today because I honestly didn’t trust myself to speak in words that should be used around small children.  But tomorrow I will go in there and say that I would greatly prefer that P be kept away from sugar from now on.  I will stress to them that I don’t think it is healthy for children of that age to be ingesting sugar on a regular basis (and I do know that they give them lollipops, maybe more often than I’d realized).  I will also mention that we have a family history of diabetes and try to keep him away from sugar in the hopes that he will never have to deal with it.  This is true.  It’s not our primary concern, but I find that people are more willing to do what you want if you mention bad and scary diseases in connection with what they’re doing.

I buy organic when I can (and we can afford it).  I made all of his baby food, even going so far as to send homemade food with him until he started eating finger foods (they provide foods for the kids).  P’s only "cookies" are graham crackers and a very occasional granola bar.  He only gets watered-down juice once a day, and it’s always 100% juice with no artificial colors.  I try my hardest to make sure he eats a healthy and well-balanced diet.  (The cupcakes I made, while not healthy, were not as sugar-laden as a boxed mix.)

Am I overreacting on this one?  Should I just deal with the fact that it happened again today, and hope it won’t happen again?  Or should I speak to them about it?

I seriously could use some advice–dissenting opinions welcome, of course, as I’m really not sure if I’m just being overprotective or not.



  1. Kristine said,

    Two comments for you!
    I think you are perfectly within your rights to request that P be limited in his sugar intake at daycare…you are the parent and responsible for making those sort of choices. You might let the daycare know what you want them to do when they do serve sugary treats. Is there an alternative you could send in? They may be concerned about “leaving him out,” so if you provide an answer to that issue, it might help them comply. If it’s something as simple as not tucking a lollipop in a take-home bag, that’s easy. They may find it harder to deal with when every other child has a treat and P doesn’t, so you giving them a solution beforehand might make things go more smoothly. The diabetes issue is a legitimate concern, as well, so I’d include that in your request.
    I’m not sure I would do the whole “stress to them that I don’t think it is healthy for children of that age to be ingesting sugar on a regular basis,” only because there are so many ways that could go wrong, as well-intentioned as you are. Do you know what I mean?
    And on your other topic…my mother was frightfully enthused about having a granddaughter when I was pregnant the second time around. I seriously did not think that was possible (huge family history of boys on DH’s side…NO girls in the last 56 years!), and things progressed so that I nearly didn’t want to tell her what we were having (since I knew we’d have a u/s and find out early) because I didn’t want to feel as though she was disappointed with another boy.
    In the end, she got her wish, and it’s turned out just fine. She dotes on both kids, equally but differently, and that’s just the way it should be. She was simply excited about things like buying girly clothes (of which, to be honest, there are a TON more choices than boy clothes!) and hair ribbons and whatnot. Also, in a sweet way, I realized that she was excited about sort of “re-sharing” my childhood. I have a brother so she’d gotten to “re-live” the boy stuff with him through Jacob. If J has sisters, she may be excited about that. If he doesn’t, she may be like my MIL, who had 3 boys and 5 grandsons and was simply hyped up about something new!
    Either way, I don’t think P will get the short end of any stick as far as gender is concerned!

  2. Dawn said,

    I think I lie somewhere in the middle, much like Kristine said. While I agree with you about how kids ‘these days’ are just way over-sugared in general (I still don’t let Gavin drink straight juice, and he’s almost 4 – it just feels like drinking sugar to me), I don’t think it would go over well to try to attack the daycare on it or try to convince them of the evils of sugar for small children. Perhaps I just feel like it would be a losing battle anyway and not worth fighting?
    But on the other hand it is absolutely your right to let P’s daycare know that you are very concerned about limiting his sugar intake (you don’t have to explain yourself, but could cite very strong reactions to sugar, or the diabetes thing). You should probably think through how to handle times where treats are handed out in front of all the kids, and provide alternatives maybe for P? That’s likely to be a hard situation regardless – any two year-old who sees everyone else getting something is inevitably going to want one too. 🙂

  3. Amy said,

    Hi Erin. Just thought I would throw another perspective out there. I taught daycare/preschool for a long time and often had this request made. Now, we didn’t serve sugary food very often, parties, special days, etc. And when the parents asked us to reduce sugar, we said sure, rolled our eyes and carried on. Honestly, this is one of those pick your battles things. You trust these people with the most important person in the world and therefore you have to trust their judgement. If you are uncomfortable with doing that, then it’s time to either take him out or look for alternate care. I am SAHM to 2 boys and we are very careful to limit their sugar consumption but even at age 2, Nate is likely to want what he can’t have and when he does get it, want it in excess. Everything in moderation is ok, so if daycare gives him the occasional treat and gets to have a fun day in a really tough job, then limit the amount he gets at home and begin talking about making good food choices. At our playgroup parties, we have sweets and good for you stuff, given the choice, Nate will choose the good for you stuff so long as I give him the choice. Good luck, I’m interested to hear what path you take.

  4. Mary said,

    Yeah, that’s a tough one. It’s unfortunate that the daycare teachers don’t have to be the ones dealing with P’s sugar meltdowns. Sugar ’em up and send ’em home. (favorite tactic of grandmas everywhere)
    I like Amy’s idea of having alternatives available at “sugar parties.” Our playgroup should start doing that more often, too. I know that when a fruit salad is presented alongside cookies, half our kids (also 2-year-olds) will fill up on fruit salad by their own choice.
    If you do talk to them, tell them your health concerns, and then they ignore you, that would be a problem that might justify looking into other daycares.
    Of course Charlotte just ran up to me and said “I wanna cookie!” Sigh. 😉

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