My husband and I were recently sick at the same time, and in an effort to survive we fed our children cereal and fruit for dinner one night. My son went to school and evidently, during their morning circle time, told the teacher that he loves when his parents make him cereal with cut up bananas for dinner. The teacher then sent home a letter with a pamphlet about nutrition for children, listing the foods that should be served during each meal. My son now thinks we aren’t ‘keeping him healthy’ because the teacher asks him about his dinners nearly every morning. I am furious and want to address the teacher about this but my husband wants to let it go. What do you think I should do?
Dear Livid Laura,
I will admit, I rolled my eyes quite hard when I got to the part about a teacher sending home a nutrition pamphlet over a bowl of cereal – but I caught myself and played devil’s advocate for a moment. While I immediately understood why you were so frustrated, I also wonder how many families are not providing enough nutrition to their Miniature Humans, with the teacher being a witness to her pupil’s struggles. One could easily understand why a pamphlet was sent home.
Then my ability to see both sides ended like a car crashing into a brick wall.
The teacher took her worries and presented them to the one person who is unable to provide any solutions to the problem – your Miniature Human. The logical plan of action would have been to start by sending home a pamphlet. The next step would be to reach out to the parents of the potentially hungry Mini Human and have a conversation, expressing any concerns and providing community resources if needed. Hounding a Miniature Human about what he ate for dinner until he is actually doubting his parents’ ability to care for him is beyond the pale.
Breakfast for dinner is a popular concept that has existed for decades!
I agree with you that it is time to address this situation since the problem is only growing larger by the day. I can just picture it now – your Miniature Human sitting in a chair under a hot light, sweating profusely, while a teacher peppers him with questions about every item he has put into his mouth since he left school the day before. Obviously, his young mind will focus on reporting any candy or cookies and totally neglect to mention the steamed broccoli you forced down his gullet. He will probably also mention the chocolate milk he had at breakfast while forgetting to list off the fruits he had to eat in order to get that delicious treat.
Imagine the shock and horror when he confesses to eating a booger!
The cereal for dinner problem will instantly recede into the background as the teacher’s imagination runs away with scenarios where your Miniature Human is forced to forage for dinner within his own nostrils. By the time a meeting is called, your Miniature Human will be convinced he has actually died from starvation in the 1800s and is now a ghost who shows up to school each day in order to play with his friends.
Now that’s a book turned blockbuster movie plot worth investigating!
Request a meeting with the teacher and the principal of the school – I think it is wise to have a cool head in the room. The situation has already left your Miniature Human to defend his family to an adult who is overreacting without gathering any facts, and you seem close to bursting with exasperation. Make it clear that this problem was merely a misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion. If the teacher persists in hounding your Miniature Human about his home life, it’s time to request a new classroom environment. Then reassure your Miniature Human that not every morsel of food must be an exercise in nutrition.
Sometimes it’s okay to eat a cupcake for breakfast.
And do let me know if you find out your Miniature Human is indeed a ghost from the 1800s. I don’t want to alarm you, but that would mean you likely are also a ghost who had passed into another realm and just decided to ignore that small fact. I’m going to want to interview you for my novel.
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