Cousin love, childcare, and food-snob-mama-worries

Last week was a little quiet around here because Gabriel and I were visiting my family in Iowa.  All-in-all, it was a good trip, with the unavoidable stresses that result from two toddlers (on completely different nap schedules), two needy dogs, and four adults trying to coexist in one space.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated, so we were able to give the boys lots of outdoor time.  Sir rode his cousin’s Balance Bike, while “Cousin NaNa” rocked the tricycle (unlike Sir, he’s mastered pedaling).

Let’s race, Cousin Babe!

My nephew, who’s four months older than Gabriel, did a rather good job saying “Gabriel,” but his pronunciation of “Cousin Gabe” sounded like nothing quite so much as “Cousin Babe.”  Thus, Sir has an awesome new nickname.

Cousin NaNa and Cousin Babe matching shirt photo shoot

We returned mid-week and settled back into our normal routine just in time for today — Sir started three-day-a-week childcare with an in-home provider who lives just down the street from us.

I started dreaming about adding more childcare (in addition to the standing one day a week Sir spends with my MIL) back in February, when I found myself stuck inside with a fussy, clingy little thing.

Now that it has come to pass, I’m not so sure.  There are plenty of things on the pro side, including more time for me to dedicate to the job hunt and some social interaction and a new and more stimulating environment for Sir (his new care provider incorporates preschool-type activities).

And then there are the cons: the expense of paying for childcare when I’m not working, the question of whether I’ll use this new-found time productively, and my worries about how our usual routine here will translate to a new place.

Will he be able to adjust to the later nap time and napping with other kids?  Will he be able to communicate when he needs to use the potty?  And, last but not least, what will she feed him?

Yeah, the food.  Since Mrs. L sometimes serves meat, my plan was to provide an alternative for that part of lunch, probably some variety of beans most days, to go along with whatever else she served for lunch.

I somewhat calmed my fears about what that other food would be (food from BPA-lined cans? processed cheese? other salt- and sweet- and who-knows-what-else-laden processed foods?) by reminding myself that, while I grew up eating a relatively healthy diet, with fresh fruit and veggies (including some from our garden) and a decent bit of whole grains, my diet was far from processed-food-free, and if I survived some less-than-wholesome foods, Sir can too.

Still, I decided that, for the first week, I would pack Sir’s entire lunch, so he would have a guaranteed healthy (and familiar) meal, in addition to whatever Mrs. L provided for the morning and afternoon snack.

This morning, I carefully packed him a container of polenta, seasoned beans, and broccoli and snow pea stir-fry, plus a few nibbles of leftover Thai food.

We walked down the street to Mrs. L’s (yes, childcare within walking distance, a HUGE perk in my book!), and I went through some notes I’d made, showed her the bag with his sun-protective gear, and went to leave, only to realize that I’d forgotten his lunch.

I told her that I’d packed his lunch today and would run home to get it, and she said, “Oh, he can just eat what we’re having, I was planning SpaghettiOs for today.”

I froze, unsure how to proceed.  It was sweet that she’d planned a vegetarian menu for all of the kids on Sir’s first day, but, um, SpaghettiOs?  That’s like a collision of processed food nightmare ingredients combined in a BPA-lined can!  AHHHH!

(Also, my youngest sister went through a phase where all she ate was SpaghettiOs — what if they’re addicting?  What is that the ONLY food he will eat from now on???)

For the sake of simplicity, and not seeming like a crazy, over-protective food snob mom, and to avoid possible upset if I left, returned, and left again, I acquiesced to him eating her planned lunch.

It’s just today, right?

Deep breaths . . . .


  1. Jill Krasuski says:

    As someone who was fed Spaghetti-O’s by a daycare provider, I know he will survive. 🙂 That being said, I’m not nearly to the level of healthy eating that you are (although I am striving to get there!) and even I probably couldn’t have handled someone giving my kid Spaghetti-O’s half as well as you did; I would have been horrified. Way to go for not freaking out! 🙂

  2. Kirsten says:

    I have a vague memory of eating tater tot casserole at your house as a kid, and I remember it because I either asked for only tater tots or for casserole with no tater tots, and your mom was nice enough to go along with it. Adult me is horrified that I would make such a request, but I’m sure I thought it was perfectly acceptable at the time. I’m not really sure how this fits in to SpaghettiOs at day care; I guess we all ate our share of processed foods as kids, and I think we turned out pretty well.

    On a different note, I remember that you had sea monkeys and a microscope, and they pretty much blew my mind.

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Love that you remembered all that, Kirsten! I totally don’t remember my mom making tater tot casserole — pretty sure it was not a regular occurrence at our house. Maybe something “special” we had because we had friends over?

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