March 12, 2012

The MS State Health Department Sucks: In Which I Become a Neurotic Mother

So, I guess it's not a secret Evie will be turning one year old in just ten short days, and sometime shortly thereafter she will be leaving the infant room and our beloved Ms. Beartha for the toddler room. According to Mississippi state laws once a child is no longer in the infant room and considered a toddler he or she must eat from the daycare's kitchen on their meal plan.

I'm not going to lie. I am not happy about this. I don't give a rats tushie if the meal plan is "approved by the State of Mississippi". Forgive me if I don't trust the government of a state that not only demands the right to define person hood but also consistently comes in dead last in the healthiest state rankings. Being approved by Mississippi doesn't really instill confidence.

Then Friday as I was asking about bringing Evie's own organic milk I also mentioned that she is not allowed to drink juice. Then the director informed me of something that blew.my.mind. Get ready for this y'all:

The State of Mississippi, in all of their infinite wisdom, requires that all children in a daycare facility have at least one serving of fruit juice per day. My head exploded.

Fruit juice. The stuff that contributes to obesity, tooth decay, diabetes and totally unhealthy eating habits. For Pete's sake, might as well just hand them a coke every day with lunch and be done with it. And I don't get an effing say in it. Me. The woman who exhausted every last option of breastfeeding, me the woman who spent a ton of time carefully selecting fresh and mostly organic produce and steaming and mashing or pureeing it for Evie's baby food, me who grew this baby inside of me. I don't get a freaking say as to whether or not my kid gets pumped full of sugar that she doesn't need and I don't want her to have. Mad is an understatement. I am livid. How dare they take away my rights to raise my child in a good healthy manner?



I find this to be outrageous. HOWEVER, there is one loophole. A note from the child's pediatrician saying that the child is not allowed to drink fruit juice for health reasons will exempt him or her from the requirement. I am going to talk to Evie's pediatrician at her year checkup and see if we can get a note to that effect. He has already expressed to me that drinking juice a lot is very bad for young children. He is very against anything but white milk and water on a regular basis.

I don't know what we will do if he turns us down but I do know one thing, Evie won't be staying where she is. We will explore other options for child care; possibly an in home daycare or me staying home until we find a solution.

I get it; I am a control freak, but this is my child and it is my decision what to feed her, especially when it is in her best interests. I get that thousands of children drink a lot juice and turn out just fine. Regardless it has still been shown to be unhealthy, and a contributing factor to many health problems, so Evie is just not going to be one of those thousands of children.

Disclaimer(s):

We aren't perfect parents. We strive to eat whole, organic foods in our home. Yes we eat chicken nuggets, but they are whole chicken breast and baked. I know this because I make it myself. Still, my child has eaten plenty of food that is not organic, processed, full of fat and sugar. Occasionally she gets juice. I just make sure it is low sugar and cut with at least 50% water. However, this occurs every once in a great while. I want her norm of eating to be whole foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables because I firmly believe I am establishing her eating habits for life. Eating this way has also required a great deal of change for her father and me. We still eat pizza and drink beer, we just believe some foods are for sometimes. I guess you could say we believe in moderation and drinking juice full of sugar every day is not moderation.

I don't blame Evie's daycare. I love Evie's daycare. I love the people, the teachers, the director and the owner. It's not their fault that they operate in a state that clearly has no idea what eating healthy means. If we cannot resolve this I will be so sad to leave them.

I wonder if I am being completely nuts about this, and also if it makes sense to leave a daycare that we LOVE over this. But then I think this is my kid's health and future and there's gotta be a better solution.