Let's hope that what happened on Friday is not a sign of what is to come of this year for the girl.
On Wednesday, Caitlyn came home with a letter from school about the need for a snack to be brought every day. The note was short and stated that the snack should be fruits and vegetables. It also stated that the snack should be stored in a disposable container, and the need for utensils is discouraged as they eat the snack as they continue to work. I took the note to mean that a healthy snack should be brought to school. I talked to Caitlyn about the things that she could bring and we mentioned things like dry cereal, raisins, crackers, pretzel sticks. Basically foods that are not junk but would hold her over until lunch time. Sounds logical right?
Caitlyn stayed home from school on Thursday because she had a fever. She started showing signs of a cold on Monday, of course, the day before school starts. BY Thursday she was coughing and sneezing and had a fever. So she didn't have to take a snack to school.
On Friday, I packed Cate's lunch and put in a snack of Cheerios (the plain old cardboard ones, not honey nut) and raisins mixed together in a baggie. Dropped her off at my mom's and took myself to work. When I got to mom's after work to pick her up, I checked her bag for papers and looked in her lunch box to see what she had eaten. Imagine my surprise when I found that her entire snack was still in her lunch box completely untouched. I asked her why she didn't eat it. I figured maybe she wasn't feeling well or just wasn't hungry, despite the fact that her entire sandwich had been eaten. She got all teary eyed and said:
"Mrs. L said I couldn't eat that for a snack because it wasn't a fruit or a vegetable."
I was shocked but not overly concerned. I asked her if the teacher then gave her something to have as a snack since she couldn't eat what she had brought. Nope. My kid sat there with no snack. Now correct me if I am wrong, but the whole purpose of the snack is to help kids make it through until lunch, and you took my kid's snack away and didn't replace it with anything, thus defeating the purpose of helping her get through until lunch?
Cate then told me that a friend of hers shared her snack with her. So I am glad that she had something to hold her over.
I have numerous issues with what transpired over this snack. Here is a nice little list of things that this teacher will be getting an email about:
1. Raisins are in fact fruit, they are simply dried fruit. Grapes really. So she should have at least been able to eat those.
2. Cheerios are marketed as a healthy snack as they have been known to aid in lowering cholesterol. They are basically grains and oats and are nothing more than a healthy snack.
3. How dare you refuse my child her snack because you deem it to be unhealthy and then not replace it with something that you find to be more appropriate?
4. Are you seriously questioning my judgement about what I feed my child? Do you think that I don't know what makes a healthy snack for her? I understand some parents need teaching in this arena, I however, am not one of those parents.
5. There are only so many fruits and vegetables that can be taken as a snack that fall into your guidelines of disposable packaging (which by the way is a horrible lesson to teach kids when you are always spouting about recycling and saving the earth), no utensil required, not sticky, and not disruptive. So if I choose to mix things up for my kid and make her snacks a little more interesting, how is that wrong?
Caitlyn and I did go out on Saturday and pick up a bunch of things that she could take for snacks. Naturally we got grape tomatoes (was there a question?), we got some carrot sticks, apples, bananas, and some dried fruit. I told her that if she wanted to, she could take some tomatoes and carrots on Monday. To which she replied that she is only allowed one snack.
Now, I really get that this teacher wants these kids eating healthy. You don't have to stress that to me. But I have one of the healthiest eaters on the block when it comes to 7 year olds. She would turn down junk food for tomatoes any day. She turns away cake at just about every damn birthday party we go to. The kid takes peas to school in her lunch because she loves them so much. She probably eats more of a variety of fruits and vegetables than most kids her age. So we are not the parents that need to be preached to about presenting healthy meal and snack choices to our kid.
Matt and I are drafting an email. He was actually going to go into the school on Monday during his free period to talk to the principal about it. So if he is his fired up about it, I know that it's a big deal, since he is usually the one telling me that I am over reacting. I told him that before we go into the school hissing and spitting, we need to contact the teacher. As teachers, we both know how pissed off we get when parents completely skip that step and go straight to administration. I also told him that I am proof reading the email before it goes out as I know that Matt can get hot headed at times. We are also sending it from his email account as it will have the Chicago Public Schools address attached to it, which he feels will be more powerful. And we are also copying the principal on it. Matt feels it is a power struggle move by this teacher. And I think I have to agree with him.
So please, please, cross your fingers that this is not the way that the entire year is going to go.