The system has holes.

My blood is boiling.  And frying.  

When my daughter was about 3 years old, i bought her her first doughnut one weekend so she knew what they tasted like.The next time was for her sleepover the morning after she turned 8.

Yes, she’s had them in between.  But i didn’t buy them for her.  She would have them at church after mass, at the park in the morning for a friend’s birthday party, and at a garage sale.  I did buy her Indian fry bread a few times.  I looked at it as culinary exploration of different cultures, we do live in the Southwest you know.

So… yesterday after school i served her a juicy, ripe, sliced nectarine as an after school snack.  She told me she wasn’t hungry because a boy in her class brought in doughnuts for his birthday at school.  That’s when the steam came shooting out my ears and my timer buzzed.

  My daughter is going to have 27 more doughnuts in the next 9 months.

I say this because a few nights ago, at parent orientation at school, the classroom of parents were told to be careful what kind of birthday treat they bring in, because there are nut allergies in the classroom.

“Just bring doughnuts” was the recommendation.

So that is exactly what the next mom did.  I was a room mom with her two years ago.  She wants to make people happy and help out teachers.  So she did what she was told.  She brought in 28 doughnuts with icing and rainbow sprinkles.

The system has holes.

I don’t remember any standout birthday treats in my school growing up, although i do remember having them.  The memory that stands out for me was in gym class, or P.E. as they call it.  We had to crawl through a spanking machine!  Weird and strange i know, but true!  All your fellow classmates stood in a line and spread their legs.  You would crawl through all the legs and they would spank you as you went by.  It was scary, it was fun, it was crazy and it was memorable.

Are we going to keep going round and round in circles?  Can’t the birthday person sit in a special chair and be sung to?  Can’t he or she have special privileges that day? Does it always have to revolve around sugar? Aren’t we more creative than that?

I know i could exempt my daughter from the class treat, but then i’d be singling her out… for being health conscious.  I could email the teacher, but then i’d be the mom who ruined it for everyone.  But i emailed her anyways and offered to type up a sheet of other acceptable things children could bring in…like nut free stickers.

Teachers and parents need to realize they have a social responsibility to this young generation.  Parents who feel as strongly as I do need to voice their concerns- at the very beginning of the year when you’re filling out all the paperwork.  I offered praise to the team of teachers of my other daughter twice for their entire grade’s decision to ban edible sweets due to sugar concerns. Between birthday treats and star of the week treats, it saved me over 50 sweets for my little one.  After all, we’re not in preschool or kindergarten anymore.

One third of all Americans will have Type 2 Diabetes by 2050 according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)  Sound far away?  It would put your child somewhere between the ages of 40 to 50.  And for me, that’s too young for a person’s quality of life to diminish.  The CDC also reports that this is the first generation expected to live shorter life expectancies than their parents, and that 35% of U.S. kids are overweight or obese.  Our youth are heading straight for a health crisis.

I’m not willing to accept that, are you?  I don’t want them pricking their finger, monitoring their blood levels, having mood swings, bouts of unconsciousness and endless trips to the ER.  I watched my dad go through it- it’s not fun. Not to mention the more extreme cases of coma, amputation and loss of eye sight.

Wake up America.  Bring dark chocolate.  Bring long stem strawberries.  I know a mom that proudly brought baby carrots! Good for her.  Heck, bring every kid a wrapped one dollar bill!  Or do the nut free sticker idea.  Go to Walmart’s pinata section and buy some cheap pinata toys! They’ll love the darn things.  I think i’d even compromise and feel a little better with people bringing in just the doughnut hole or even a cake pop- a more appropriate, kid-sized portion and without all the sprinkles.  

Just promise me that you’ll…

 BRING IT. 

(Source:  ExperienceLife.com & Lifetime Fitness Magazine / The CDC / Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.)

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5 Responses to The system has holes.

  1. Jeannine Stankovics says:

    Amy, I love your blogs! You go girl!!! Good for you for speaking up on behalf of your kids and spreading the knowledge to parents and educators on the poor nutrition that is being pushed on our children. I loved this particular blog and have a suggestion which you may want to approach the principal and PTO about. In my girls school, they have a program called the birthday book club. Every child has an opportunity to participate in. The parents are given a slip to fill about a month before the celeberation. The parents make a donation, I beleive $10-20 for a new book to be purchased by the bbc coordinator. All birthdays that are celebrated in that month go to the library on a selected day and the child has an opportunity to select a new book of their choice that the coordinator has bought with the collective money from the orders. That book is then dedicated to your child, a sticker is placed inside the flap with the child’s name, birthday, and school year, they get to take the book home for two weeks. The book is then brought back to school to be donated to the library. The celebration on that day is a small treat and drink. Yes, it may be a cookie or muffin but at least it’s only one day out of the year and not 27 celebrations revolving around sugar. The school still acknowledges those children’s birthdays, whose parents did not purchase a book. They still go through the process like the other kids but they won’t have the book dedicated to them. Summer birthdays are celebrated and acknowledged during the year too. My daughters first grade teacher this year, has all the kids make a picture and write something about the birthday child and a book is created for the child by his/her classmates…memories are what is important here not who brought the yummiest treat! She specifically told us to not bring in anything for birthday celebration’s. I hope this gives you some ideas, not that you don’t already have some of your own. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for your supportive comments Jeannine! I got the time and date last night of my school’s next board meeting. I want to attend to acknowledge and commend the entire first grade team of teachers on celebrating other special ways- without any sweet treats- so maybe we’ll discuss your proposed idea. I adore the memory book idea. My daughter’s kindergarten did that for their star of the week. She had a big poster, that is still hanging in her room, about what children said something nice about her. She adores it, and it makes them feel loved and appreciated and raises their self-esteem and helps them make new friends. What is better than that?? I have just one question. Does your school celebrate it monthly? Like all Sept bdays, all Oct bdays, or is it just one day? Thank you for taking the time to discuss our children’s health!!!

  2. Jeannine Stankovics says:

    Yes Amy, They celebrate the Birthday’s monthly. All the kids who have birthdays in September, Oct, etc… go to the library on that one day and have their celebration! It is a group celebration! The point is to raise money for books to go into the library and have the children be acknowledged in their birthday month! It’s also fun for the kids to see the names of their friends or themselves inside the book they check out! Its a good conversation starter for kids too, my friend or classmate read the same book and has similar interests as me….cool! I am not certain but Birthday Book Club may be a District Wide Program!

  3. caseyhinds says:

    I’ve had to resort to paying my kids to say no thank you to the sugar overload at school: http://kyhealthykids.com/2013/10/29/desperation-strategy-for-school-sugar-overload/

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