Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Toddler is a Truant

My husband and I are not overly picky about what our son eats, so long as it's relatively healthy (i.e. "better than a Happy Meal"). We don't care if he ingests soy products, or milk that doesn't come from organic, grassfed cows. There are two things about which we are pretty strict, however: no red meat, and no juice.

There isn't any sort of moral issue with the red meat. It's just that, for health reasons, my husband and I don't eat it so it's not kept in our house. So our son is not used to eating it, and if he does, it'll give him the runs.

We also don't want him drinking juice because his pediatrician told us it has very little nutritional value and is more sugar than he needs. Since he's not used to it, juice will also give him the runs.

A lot of our life decisions revolve around messy-diaper avoidance.

So a few months ago, the daycare starts calling us to pick him up pretty often, sometimes multiple times a week, for bad diarrhea. We'd pick him up, get him home, and he'd be fine, no tummy troubles to speak of.

After a few weeks of this, tensions were running pretty high. We were pissed off that we were paying for daycare we were only half-using (and missing a lot of work in the process). Daycare thinks we're neglectful parents who won't take their sick kid to the doctor (I'm assuming here). Plus, as a hopeful mom of a future-genius, I was worried about him falling behind his classmates. Who knew how many sessions of baby-sign he was missing? Something had to be done.

Turns out, when they'd moved him up to the next age group class, his list of food restrictions had been misplaced. So the cafeteria was giving him full, undiluted juice every day. Hence the runs.

So, some time later, when I once again started to get almost-weekly calls that he was sick, I thought perhaps juice was the culprit again. But these times were different. The conversation usually went something like this.

Daycare: You don't have to come get him, but we just wanted to let you know he's not feeling well at all. He doesn't have a fever, and he hasn't gotten sick or had an upset stomach, but he's whining, won't eat, and won't sleep.

Me: Okay, yeah, I'll get him, all right.

So, I'd talk to my boss, leave the office and go pick up the little monster. WHO WAS PERFECTLY FINE. The second he realized that mommy was there to pick him up, he was back to his usual playful, silly, happy self. Since I'd already taken off work and was there, I'd go ahead and take him, and we'd end up having a mommy-baby date day. Somehow, his little one-year-old brain had figured out that if he acted sick enough, mommy or daddy would come get him, and he could have them all to himself for a whole day.

And, because we're suckers (and since our workday is already shot at that point), we reinforce it by having a special day with the little man. Though I'm gonna be tougher about it next time. Like by not taking him out to eat at Ragazzi's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, manipulation. It's not just for parents anymore.

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