A rant and a praise. Which do you want first?
Let’s start with the rant and end on a high point.
This morning’s paper had a story about baby food. A new baby food.
So the big deal is that some company has come out with mashed food in pouches so toddlers can squeeze the food into their mouths. Look Ma, no spoon! Modern parents are delighted with this, because they are so busy and this way the kids can eat without having to sit with a plate and utensils.
Now, maybe I’ll surprise you, because I’m going to say that I don’t care the food is organic. Sure, I’m glad it is. If you’re going to buy this stuff, at least make sure it’s organic.
No, I want to point out how this is one more step away from teaching our children that food is important, that meals are special times, and that the world does not revolve around them.
When I discuss nutrition in my childbirth class, I briefly cover the transition to solid food. I tell my students to never buy a single can of formula or a single jar of baby food. I guess now I have to add “never buy a pouch of baby food.”
Please. Feed your babies only breast milk, and when they start solid food, feed them real food. They’ll like it better. They’ll be healthier. You’ll save yourself thousands of dollars. And you’ll be able to demonstrate the lost art of family mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones, tablets, and whatever, set the table, and sit down to talk to each other while you eat.
Yeah, every day. Come on. It’s not rocket science. Thirty minutes, that’s all I’m sayin’.
In the long run, this benefits you. If you start out feeding your kids only special “kid food,” they’ll be demanding special meals well into their teens. And you’ll be cowed into always giving it to them.
Okay, on to the praise. Another story in a different paper:
BLB Praises Etiquette Efforts of Chenery Park
(This article is about the same story, but it is not the article I read. For some reason, I can’t find that article online.)
Chenery Park is a restaurant in San Francisco. A nice restaurant. A get-a-baby-sitter, dress up, order wine kind of place. On Tuesdays, they have Kids Night. The whole point of it? To teach the kids manners.
This is a beautiful example of the village helping raise the child. There are rules. The kids have to sit in their chairs and be still. They put napkins on their laps. They learn to order their food, be polite to the wait staff, and maintain a conversation during the meal. The parents have primary responsibility, but the staff and restaurant owners help enforce the rules. That is so important. Parents need to have the support of society, and kids need to know the parents have it.
Remember what I said earlier? That children need to learn that food is important, meals are special times, and that the world does not revolve around them.
Chenery Park does this.
Baby food in pouches?
Not so much.