My youngest daughter, Baby C, is a big girl now. She has been visiting the toddler room at daycare for the past couple of days, and she will fully transition at the end of the month. Going to the toddler room is a big transition! It means the end of bottles and the beginning of shoes. It also means the kids sit at a table and eat food together.
A few weeks ago, the assistant center director alerted me that the change was coming soon and asked me to revisit the checklist of foods I allow Baby C to be served at daycare. The list is not long: it’s only whole fruits, vegetables, eggs, and some meats. I don’t allow her Cheerios or puffs or tator tots or mandarin oranges in syrup or hot dogs or sweetened yogurt, or most of the other junk food that daycare feeds the rest of the babies. The assistant center director asked me very nicely to be less restrictive in the foods I permit Baby C, to ease her transition into the toddler room.
I politely said I would think about it, because “Minnesota Nice” requires that I not reply, “I will not feed your garbage to my child.”
I haven’t felt the need for the permitted foods list to be less restrictive because the infant room has been pretty accommodating of my bringing food from home. I bring Baby C egg salad, roasted sweet potatoes, homemade soup, plain yogurt with cinnamon, carnitas–basically, a small tupperware full of whatever I’m eating for lunch. She’s a good eater.
But this morning the center director told me that the toddler room has a rule: no prepared foods from home. They only allow foods from home if they come with a label.
Say what, now?
She said it was to make sure that the toddler room stays peanut-free, and I understand the importance of that request. But no foods without a label? That excludes everything I eat except dairy. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, and meat–90% of my diet–don’t come with labels. I actually specifically and intentionally eat foods without a label!
So what are my options?
- I can bring unsweetened yogurt for Baby C to eat instead of the fluorescent, sweetened stuff that has no business being served to children. That one’s easy. Done.
- Do the stickers on apples and bananas count as a label?
- I can’t bring egg salad anymore, but could I bring a hard boiled egg and some olive oil and salt & pepper and ask them to prepare it for me? How about a cubed sweet potato with some coconut oil and rosemary? Can I send them ingredients and recipes every day of the week?
- Can I make my own food labels at home, with ingredient lists that show my bone broth is peanut-free?
In related news, the nanny prospect starts her trial run on Monday.