Today, what time I have not spent disputing charges for exhorbitant amounts of coffee purchased online by persons unknown using my credit card and trying to get access...ANY access...to our money was spent at a planning meeting for Emily's preschool class's Thanksgiving party. I decided to take a different tack this time. You'll recall that I have attempted before to provide fruit for the parties, in which case the other moms bring in junky stuff. I have also left it to others to bring the fruit and veggies and made the junky stuff myself but in such a way that it was no longer junk, only to have most of the kids sample but then politely push away their cookies, although the adults always gobble them up. This time I decided to just let the pieces fall where they may and try to clean things up a bit afterward. The lead moms are the same as last year, and they already know my thoughts on the food provided to our kids at the preschool. There are kids with allergies to coconut, shellfish and cashews this year, so my idea for cashew-coconut encrusted shrimp was out the window from the get-go anyway. Damn.
As I silently watched, the menu was drawn up as follows:
-rolled up turkey lunchmeat slices
-cheese in the shape of mickey mouse (?)
-carrot sticks with ranch dip
-sugar cookies in the shape of turkeys
I can't decide what to do. On the one hand, this isn't TOO bad. I am proud of them for trying. There's not a bunch of candy or sweets or dyes. On the other hand, because I am insane of course I can find at least one issue with each of the proposed items (The nitrates! The sugar! The processed carbs! The high fructose corn syrup!) All of my past attempts at party healthification have either resulted in the kids eating junk anyway, or else NOT eating the goodies I provide (even when they are frosted!) which has probably caused the other moms to nickname me "That crazy health-nut mom who ruins all the school parties with her whole wheat baked goods" behind my back. How stringent (annoying) do I want to be? This year they have combined 2 classes for the party so whoever provides food will have to provide for 23 kids instead of the usual 11-12. I don't feel like providing 23 kids with nitrate-free organic and juice-sweetened versions of EVERYTHING on the list, so I have to pick the worst offenders. The cookies, it seems, are non-negotiable. I have already stolen the honor of providing the dessert from another mother who enjoys baking twice before, I am willing to give up this particular battle. I think I will offer to bring the ranch dip (subbing Marie's or similar yogurt-based ranch dressing for the HFCS and chemical-based dressing that would otherwise be provided) and the pretzels (subbing a kind that is at least partially whole grain). I am not going to argue over every single thing on the menu though. It's not that I don't feel quite as strongly about it as I did a year ago, but the Sara of 2011 has spent another year as the mother of 2 young children who are increasingly out in the world, and she's had to accept the fact that the ability to control everything they eat has slipped a year further away from her. I will never give up completely on trying to get the best food possible into my children's mouths in any given situation. But now that there are battles to be fought every.single.day over the quality of food offered to my girls I have to pick which ones I fight or risk alienating people and making the junk food my kids are inundated with "off-limits" and therefore even more desirable.
I AM loosening up a bit, I promise. I just wish I didn't have to.