8.25.2011

Fantasy-Land Parenting Vs. The Real World

{Image source: Korean Resource Center}
A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to laze around with a single (as in Single, Not Married, not Single and Looking), career-oriented friend of mine after a luxurious brunch of eggy bagels and strong coffee. It was one of those conversations that flowed easily from one topic to another, never really getting stuck and never coming to loggerheads over hot-button topics, despite the fact that we raised a few of them. You know, one of those mornings that makes you happy that you're friends with the people with whom you are friends.

During one of the conversation transitions, she said, "I can't wait to be a mom. I'm going to send so many cupcakes to school*."

I replied, "No, you won't. Try orange slices."

"No way. I'm sending cupcakes."

"Good luck with finding a gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free recipe then, because that's the only thing that you're allowed to send to school these days."

After a moment of shocked silence, she says, "What? That's ridiculous."

I continued with, "Although, if you're dealing with a classroom with diabetic kids, you might not even be able to send the orange slices. Celery, maybe, but most teachers tell you what to bring on your assigned snack day."

"Your what?"

"Assigned snack day. Each parent sends in a snack--for the entire class, mind you--once a month. The teacher will generally tell you what to bring. Goldfish are okay. So are Cheerios. Pretzels are fine, as long as they're Rold Gold; Utz Pretzels are made in a plant that also processes nuts and gluten."

"But that has no nutritional value."

"That doesn't matter. As long as every child has an allergy-free snack, that's what matters. Oh, and if you have a kid with nut allergies in the classroom, you probably shouldn't send a peanut butter sandwich to school with your child. A soy alternative, maybe. But the teacher will go over that with you in her home visit."

"Her what?"

"Her home visit. When she comes to the home at the beginning of the school year to make sure that your child has an adequate space and the proper resources to do his or her homework."

"You're kidding me! That's an invasion of my privacy!"

Bingo. Welcome to parenthood.

*The conversation has been paraphrased because I can't remember the exact words, but I'm trying to stick to it as close as I can remember.

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