A Day of Food Horrors

This is a quick one, as I really wanted to get it off my chest. Yesterday was not a happy day in terms of food horrors around me.

I had to take Kid 1 to the doctor for a shot, so first I stopped at the store to get a snack for the road for both kids. Kid 2 was out of fruit purees, so I was looking for one, and Kid 1 needed something to eat after school, so I got a banana and some mango. So here I go into the store, which had recently been rearranged, looking for baby food. I don’t do this often, as I usually make his food, but when we need to travel or disaster strikes (i.e. no more food in the house), I get a jar for him. So where do I find baby food? In the newly arranged section of baby food and, you’ve guessed it, candy. Candies and chocolates fill up about three quarters of the space, making sure that a family with older kids will at least get a tantrum, if not additional purchasing of sugar. I can follow the corporate logic here, but as a human being, not even a mother, simply a human being, I am appalled and disgusted at this practice. Luckily for me, I am shameless in this respect: I can leave my child to cry at the top of his lungs in the candy section and I still won’t buy him any. But not everyone is like that. I also always encounter people who purposefully look for that section when shopping with their toddlers in order to buy them a treat, because hey, it makes them happy. This argument infuriates me beyond words.

So, food horror #1 behind me. Now I was facing the tricky choice of choosing a fruit jar for Kid 2. This is tricky if you read the labels well. There are some brands I am not worried about, but in a small store as the one I was in yesterday, those brands are not present. Of those available, I already knew I had to go for baby food for 4 month-old babies, since they contain fewer ingredients and no biscuits (!!!). But I picked up a pear puree, and it had two kinds of concentrated juice plus a few other things added to it. Apple and peach puree: apples and peaches combined amounted to just a little over half of the mixture. The rest was mostly more concentrated juice, amounting to a third of the content. In whose world is that reasonable baby food, that has been approved to be put on the market? For 4 month-old babies? Food horror #2.

And now fast-forward to the doctor. While we were waiting for our turn, a lady comes out with her baby from the exam room. The baby in question could not have been much older than 1, if not maybe just under that. So the mom starts to get the kids ready to leave, and since the little one was fussing around (shocker for such a small child!), she gives her something to pacify her. What do you think that was? Hot chocolate from the vending machine!!

How, HOW, can anyone think that that is an appropriate drink for such a small child? There’s the chocolate, the sugar, the hazard of such a warm drink (they are really hot when they come out of the machines) in such a fragile plastic cup, not to mention all the extras that come with it. Do you know exactly what is in a vending machine hot chocolate? It’s not like you add cocoa to milk, which I still wouldn’t find okay for a baby, but then at least you know what you are mixing. Again, how can you do that to a baby? And why? It’s not like kids know what hot chocolate is as soon as they’re out into the world, they only know about it because of the person offering it. Don’t offer, they won’t know. Hence, they won’t ask for it. If a baby is fussing to get a sugary treat, it is the caretaker’s fault, and only theirs. Sure, toddlers will do that despite our best habits because they see and understand what goes on around them, but babies are a reflection of what the choices the caretaker makes for them. Do their preferences seem unhealthy? It’s the caretaker who gives them unhealthy things. Food horror #3.

Now if you’re wondering what sort of self-righteous prick I am, let me tell you a short story about what I did with Kid 1 and how he reacts now as a consequence.

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