Wake Up Parents!

26 Sep

I know it’s been weeks of nothing from me, and now, instead of catching you up on my life in the past month, I’m going to rant.

Today was Yom Kippur. The day that adults fast, as we pray that we have been inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year. We spend much of the day in synagogue. And, therefore, so do our children.

My husband left for shul this morning with three of our four kids. After he left I packed each of my kids a lunch box, with a sandwich, some cut up fruit, which I find they eat more readily than when it’s whole (peaches and plums), and some healthy “cookies.” Okay, not healthy. But they’re tea biscuits. How much less unhealthy can they be and still be considered by my kids to be cookies?

When they all came home tonight, most of the fruit was still in the containers (in fact, I’m eating it as I type). And the kids were NOT starving, even though I had anticipated that they would all come home with me at the break (2pm) and have a snack in the afternoon before dinner. Instead, they all (except for the baby) stayed at shul with their dad until the fast was over, and only got home at 6:30. Why weren’t they hungry? Why didn’t they eat every last crumb that I packed them? Oh, because their friends all shared the VAST amounts of junk food that their parents brought for them to shul. It was nice that they shared. Really. Got to hand it to the kids. Here they were with bags of bamba and bissli and chips, and they were giving it out. Nice. But come on!

What is with the parents? Here is a prime opportunity. The kids were out of the house for the entire day. They were running around in the hot sun. They were going to be ravenous! They were going to eat whatever their parents brought them, without question. I take it and run. Yes, it took a little effort to make sandwiches and cut fruit and pack it in a separate lunch bag for each kid, so they would know what belonged to whom. But, it was maybe 20 minutes of my life. Why was I the only one who did this?(disclaimer: maybe there were others who brought healthy food. Maybe I just zoomed in on all the junk that was floating around) Why do parents just take the easy way out and bring stuff that they know their kids like? My kids like bamba, bissli and chips as much as the next kid. Here’s the difference; I NEVER, EVER buy it. I don’t just not bring it to shul. It never enters my grocery cart.

A friend of mine here once told me that she used to have friends that she had to “divorce” when they started going on outings together with their kids. The friends would bring all kinds of junk, while she brought only fruit. Her kids weren’t interested in what she had. When we went to a cool slide park together, we brought piles of fruit and healthy sandwich fixings and our collective kids ate everything in sight and asked for more. Not, “where’s the junk” but, “can we have more oranges?”

I just don’t understand it. We try to teach our kids to eat healthily. We have a vegetable with 95% of our dinners. We give them junk food too, but we try to make it a little bit, often, rather than make them pine for it all the time. And they never get it if they haven’t finished their vegetables. Do other parents not do this? Do they just go with the flow and give in to their kids in order to avoid arguments and tears? We get tears here, often. As a matter of fact, tonight, after the fast, we had lasagna for dinner. With SPINACH in it. It was very GREEN.  And our eldest daughter was NOT eating it. Until she found out that we were going to have some ice cream for dessert. Then she allowed my husband to feed it to her (even though she’s almost 7), so she could close her eyes and not see how very green it really was. And you know what, it wasn’t so bad. She finished it. And then she enjoyed her ice cream. Are we totally crazy over here? I need feedback on this one!



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