Sunday, April 11, 2010

You Forgot the Snack & Drink? BITCH!

Over the weekend, over 800 kids were in Minneapolis competing in a National Chess Championship. Even though playing chess doesn't burn very many calories or involve a huge amount of athleticism, I'm sure their parents are making sure that the kids get enough sleep and eat well so that they're ready to face the competition.

And I'm wondering: did anyone arrange a snack and drink schedule?

It seems weird to be experiencing April without getting ready for a kid's baseball season. I actually kind of miss shopping for cleats, heading to the batting cages, waiting for a phone call from the new coach and adding all of the games to my calendar. One thing I don't miss, though, is getting an email from an over-eager parent telling me when I'm supposed to bring the fat and sugar.

When I was pregnant with Zoe -- or more specifically, when I was in labor with Zoe -- I realized that I would be enjoying the wonderfulness of intravenously administered pain medication, and hopefully pushing, at the same time I was supposed to be supplying a team of 15 boys with granola bars and juice boxes. Since it was too late to switch games with another parent, I managed to drop off the sustenance at a teammates house, on my way to the hospital, while my contractions were about six minutes apart. Was this insane? Absolutely. But since there isn't an epidural that would help me cope with the eight-weeks of pain brought on by dealing with a team full of pissed off parents, it was necessary. Trust me, it doesn't matter what comes up, you just DO NOT forget to bring the snack and drink.

Being anti-snack and drink isn't something that developed after several years of schlepping a cooler -- I have always hated the idea. I just don't understand why kids, after standing around in a baseball field or sitting on a bench for an hour, have to then receive a bag of chips and a can of pop. With all of the news about the increase in childhood obesity rates and people complaining about kids eating too much crap and not getting enough exercise why, when they finally burn 150 calories, do we need to hand them 350 empty calories as a reward for showing up?

One thing that I've noticed is that it's always the laziest players that are obsessed with finding out which parent brought the snacks. The kid that is never at practice on time, can't seem to run the bases without watching where the ball went (which, by the way, is a HUGE pet peeve of mine) and is always the last one off of the field between innings is always, always, the first one in line at the cooler, hoping that there will be extras so that he can grab two snacks.

Even though the snack and drink schedule usually includes a note at the top that encourages providing something nutritious, I have yet to find a parent, besides myself, that is brave enough to shun Frito Lay/Hostess/ Little Debbie and just bring fruit. There was one dad a couple years ago who flat out said that "he loves it when he gets to bring the snack because it means that, for one night, he's super cool and popular with the kids." I was tempted to ask him if he was aware of the fact that, the rest of the nights, the parents think he's a loser, but I'm pretty sure he would have just handed me an oatmeal creme pie in an attempt to win me over. Sure enough, when his night arrived he didn't bring just a snack. He brought ginormous bags of fruit snacks and the big bags of chips, plus bottles of Mountain Dew Code Red. By the way, did I mention that this guy is a loser?

One year when our scheduled snack/drink game arrived, Charlie was adamant about bringing clementines and bottled water. I even pre-peeled the tangerines and put them in individual bags, and threw in a handful of red grapes for some additional color. Sure enough, only three boys took the fruit and the rest of them were tempted to throw Charlie a pity party, just a small get-together for my kid so that they could tell him "Oh, sorry your mom sucks."

So this summer, I will pack sandwiches and fruit into a cooler, haul my kids to tennis and not worry about having to watch other parents compete over who is bringing the most indulgent snack to baseball games. And if any of the other tennis players ask me if I have an extra granola bar, I'll just say "Oh, is it my day for snack and drink? Sorry, but I didn't get a copy of the schedule."


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is nice to know that I'm not the only mom who is horrified by what my community is feeding my child when I happen to be looking the other way. It was one of my ESL students who pointed out to me how strange it is that Americans feel they MUST be fed at every it a 90 minute movie, a 3 hour pre-school class, or a sporting event...Americans must be munching at every minute or we're forced to begin discussing what our next meal will be. Amen to the fruits and veggies, sister. My poor child was fed hummus for dinner last night. We were at a restaurant with fun choices like mac and cheese, chicken strips, or quesadillas. The people we were with actually said, "I have 14 nieces and nephews and I've never heard of a 4-year-old ordering hummus and actually eating it." I said, "I'm a 'mean mom' and proud of it!"

Anonymous said...

As a Mean Grannie, I have to tell you that you and my daughter need to be friends.

Anonymous said...

I agree totaly my daughter at three would ride in the shopping cart chewing on brocoli people thought I was crazy. I never bought the crap food so she didn't know to want it. She never knew til she was 7 that the stuff at the cash register was candy. She learned about junk food at school. Although I still would not buy it. I hate all these stupid little bags of snack. People say they love there kids but dont show it just keep feeding them food that is crap snack and fast food. It give a new meaning to loving them to death. If you really love your kids quit being lazy and cook for them not the prepared foods love them enough to teach them how to be health show them you want them to live longer.

The Mean Mom said...

This post wasn't intended to be anti-candy or anti-junk food ALL THE TIME because I am a big believer in "everything in moderation." My kids eat fruit and vegetables, but they also like a handful of Cheetos or a few gummy bears. And they also won't feel the need to eat the entire humungous bag of either.

What drives me nuts is the message that exercise = food. As adults, we don't workout and then immediately grab a Mountain Dew and a bag of fruit snacks, so why should kids be taught that one equals the other?

Every parent can feed their own kid whatever they want to, even if it is disgusting, trans fat-filled nastiness. So maybe the snack/drink schedule should be viewed as a thing of the past and discontinued.

Anonymous said...

I hate the community snack idea! I'll feed my own kids, you feed your own kids. It was the same with preschool, kindergarten, sports, everyone wanted to share the snack chore. We weren't allowed to bring something on days when it wasn't our turn because we were supposed to encourage our kids to try new things. So my kids would go hungry on days when someone brought something they didn't like to preschool. Thank God it goes away by 1st grade!