When I enrolled my son in day-care I was panicked about the food situation. What would they think of the meals I was sending him, would he notice other kids’ lunches looked different, would there be food trading on the down low, all of these thoughts filled my already worried-mom brain. So, in typical fashion, I started writing a list. I wrote down a list of meals my son enjoys, snacks he prefers, and any special treats we can swap a last minute birthday treat for so he won’t go without a dessert. Once I put all this down on paper, I was much more relaxed. I also arranged a meeting with the daycare, just to touch base, put a face to my list, and assure them I wasn’t sending my son to daycare with only weeds to eat. The meeting went really well and all expressed support for following my son’s food list. Luckily, his daycare puts out a monthly snack calendar so I can easily plan in advance and provide an alternate. For example, on days the school provides yogurt, I bring a non-dairy yogurt - this way he is eating yogurt along with the other kids.
During the month of January, I noticed on the snack calendar it was “dairy month”. I sighed and thought to myself, “okay better find out what this entails”. I emailed the daycare and met with the director to discuss. She was happy to meet and explained there would be a few “dairy-themed” books as well as activities, including pretending to milk a cow. So, I have to stop here, in my non-mom brain I wanted to recite a dissertation on dairy and the cruelty, abuse, negative health effects, I could go on. My mom-brain took a moment to gather thoughts and suggested an alternative activity for the kids to which the director was open. I asked and sort of implied the lack of education gained from pretending to milk a cow with rubber gloves and water and kindly suggested having the kids mash avocados and spread on toast, something to replace dairy and be fun and messy at the same time. With this activity there is an educational and nutritional component. I even offered in that moment to provide the kids with the avocados to which she graciously declined and let me know she would speak with the group and get back to me. A month later, I found out they did in fact squish avocados and smear them on bread for an activity. It literally made my year. And my son’s, because he came home a mess!