For the last three weeks, my family and I have been on vacation. Faithful blog readers will know that we moved from Ohio to Seattle nearly a year and a half ago. This long vacay was well-spent with friends and family out East, and filled with a plethora of new memories. (So you see, I haven't literally been neglecting this blog...just "out of office" so to speak.)
While on this fabulous trip, one thing became blatantly clear, nearly everyone in my family is partaking in some sort of sugary, taste test experiment. A day didn't go by in which someone was 'trying out' a deliciously unhealthy food/snack/beverage on P'Dub. Sometimes the test administrator (i.e. aunts, grandparents, uncles) would ask for my permission, before offering the fare, but other times I wasn't awarded such a luxury. And sometimes I was asked, and then my response completely disregarded.
Tester 1: Hey little guy....Preston....Have you ever had fudge? I bet you'd like fudge. [Fudge now being inserted into babes mouth via testers hand] Mmmmmm. Yummmies. You like it don't you?."
Tester 2: Preston...Want to try some iced tea...Does your Mommy give you iced tea? Want some iced tea in your sippy?
Me: Emmm, no and no.
Tester 3: Ooooooohhh....I know what he'd like. I bet Preston would LOVE a big piece of cake, or maybe an ice cream sandwich or some chips. Has Mommy ever given you walnut brownies...I bet you'd like them.
Me: He doesn't eat nuts. He's too small and can choke.
Tester 3: Well, we can just take those out now can't we! Get ready for nummies.
Tester 4: I think what he wants is a doughnut. That will make him feel better. Can he have a bite of doughnut?
Me: I don't think it's a good idea. His belly has been upset and I've just been giving him bland foods.
Tester 4: Well his belly isn't upset because of doughnuts. [Doughnut being inserted in Preston's mouth.]
This experiment must be nationwide, as I've seen it happen in restaurants, to my friends, and via word-of-mouth. Why do people (those who aren't a biological parent of the taste-test victim) feel the need to feed? What drives a person to think, "Hey, you know what would be fun? It would be crazy-fun to give this toddler a lot of sugar and salt and fat, and see if he likes it! Yeah! Let's see what we can find and fill the little guy up! Oh, I can't wait to see if he likes sugar!" When you think about this logically, isn't this odd?
Honestly, I think the testers were solely thinking with their hearts. They just wanted to make the little guy smile and say "Mmmmm", which most often is what Preston did. And in return, the testers were giddy and happy. And in return, Preston was bloated with diarrhea.
For the most part, I wimped out. I failed as a parent. I let P'Dub down, and allowed him to be stuffed with all kinds of crap. Not to say he didn't eat a lot of fruits and veggies as well, but this isn't my focus.
So I'm putting all you readers on notice. Forward this to your friends and family members. Get the word out that some of us mothers don't want our children to be taste-testers. And perhaps 'testers' should be more respectful of the parent, and abide by their wishes. Ask the parent if it's okay before pushing the food in the toddlers mouth. And if the parent declines your request, don't ridicule or give attitude, get over it. The world won't end because a 'tester' can't give a child apple juice- it's full of sugar, don't ya know! Us parents have our plates full with what to teach our children, and healthy eating habits is one. If a child is on the right path, let's keep them there.
If you must, liken this scenario to potty training. Let's say little Johnny was in the midst of going sans diapers. His training is going well. He's happy and likes that he's using the potty. And then a tester comes along and says, "Hey Johnny, wouldn't it be fun if you peed in your pants. I mean, just once. What will it hurt? Come on, why not? It's not like you are peeing in your pants all the time. Besides, who wants to waste their time going to the potty when you can keep playing and just pee in your pants right now!"
See what I'm saying? HELLO?!!! Readers, you are on notice.