By Amy L. Hatch
I’m getting to be an old hand at the “classroom snack” game.
Every month for the past, oh, five years, I’ve been purchasing cheese goldfish crackers in bulk and sending them to school with one or both of my kids. And–brace yourselves–sometimes I send juice, too.
I know! Right? Juice! What a terrible mom I am, terrible parent, for allowing her kid to drink completely undiluted JUICE!
Because as we all know, classroom snacks are not just snacks. Oh, NO. Classroom snacks are political statements.
Juice/no juice. Gluten-free/loaded with carbs. Stuffed with GMOs/totally-organic-and-grown-within-50-miles-and-hand-tended-by-farmers-who-wear-only-homespun-garments.
What you send to that classroom for your child and his or her classmates to consume in between reading lessons and play-dough sessions tells the other moms and dads who you are and (UGH) what your “parenting philosophy” is.
Now, don’t think I’m taking the holier-than-thou stance. I’m not going to tell you that I haven’t been the parent casting a judgmental eye every now and then. Pop Tarts? Doritos? Yeah, I’ve judged those snacks.
“What kind of parent sends (fill-in-the-blank) for snack?!”
And then I slink down the All Carbs aisle at Meijer and grab 30 packs of “fruit snacks” packed with high fructose corn syrup. Hey, my back yard is a corporate-owned corn field, so high fructose corn syrup is, technically, a local food. Right?
Judge not lest ye be judged, Judgy McJudgerson.
Of course we all want what’s best for our kids, especially when it comes to what they consume. With one out of every three American kids suffering from obesity, the food they eat is no small concern. But what about the parents who can’t afford to provide free-range goat cheese and organic sliced red peppers for 30 4-year-olds? I’ve bought 30 bananas before. It ain’t cheap, folks.
And just when does this snack train end, anyways? I don’t think I ever had a snack in school, unless you count the warm carton of milk we had with a graham cracker just before my afternoon kindergarten class was dismissed for the day.
Nowadays, kids have snack time up until high school, it seems. And why do kids need water bottles on their desks? I’ve seen that in some classrooms, too. So they can stay “hydrated.”
I had a water bottle, too — it was also known as “the water fountain.”
If only we were as concerned with the way our schools are being run as we are with the whole-grain ratio in the peanut-free oatmeal granola bars Johnny’s mom dropped off for the second-graders.
I recently received a memo outlining a potential change in the snack policy at the school my children attend, and I had to shake my head when I read all the bullet points that made up the rationale for the change. It read a little bit like a strategy document for the CIA justifying covert actions.
It stressed me out. So I had an inorganic snack, and yelled at some kids to get off my lawn.