Monday, July 19, 2010


Still not smoking, though it is fair to say that I am at least 75% crazier than I was a week ago when I could still puff happily away.  Randy's son and girlfriend came over yesterday.  (Did I tell you that he and his son have the same name and so do the girlfriend and I?  That never ceases to amuse me.)  Ok... off subject.

Randy Dad says to them "Oh... she quit smoking."

Randy Son turns to me and says "You know...everyone hates a quiter."   Total dead pan face.  I wish I could deliver a straight line like that.  I can't.  I start to giggle and give it away.  Like father, like son.  It was a nice refreshing change from people launching into the dangers of smoking, which I already knew about for maybe 30 years.  ;-)

I have a thing about quiet... I am not all that fond of it.   Especially if I am alone.  I am certain it comes from being the youngest of 5 kids and having 4 kids of my own.  I am used to a semi-controlled form of chaos that can have many different soundtracks running at the same time.
It is very quiet here once the man goes to work.
We have a ridiculous amount of TVs here and sound systems.  Seriously, if it's not a bathroom, it has a TV and you can see a TV from the bathrooms if you leave the doors open.  
I find that amusing.
They were here before me and I added one more to the mix.  Anyway, so when the man gets up he turns on the one in our room and as he goes through the house, he turns on others... so that as he gets ready for work, he can hear the news without having to wait for something to get over before he can go put on his shoes.  I have found this a comfort.  Even if it does sometimes create a weird sort of Doppler effect in the kitchen as Rachel Ray says something a few seconds after herself in the front room.

(Look... the first flat screen TV!)
Yeah... I'm meandering toward my point.  Sorry.
I do not tune in The View to watch.  It happens to be on the channel that I have on for company as I rattle around this big house stone alone.
I will confess that sometimes if they have on someone or thing that I am interested in, that I will sit down and watch a bit.  But I am not a regular viewer.

Today's topic on The View that caught my ear was that a school district sent home letters to parents informing them of their children's body mass index numbers and what that meant in terms of health risks for their child.

As I understand it, some parents were pissed off by this and took it to mean that their child was being singled out as fat.   Let me interject this note... at least one parent was warned that their child was seriously too thin.  So it was not truly a "fat" only issue.
Was this was concern for the health of our children who are supposed to be the first generation of children NOT to live as long as their parents because of unhealthy life and food choices?

This gave me food for thought... pun intended.
First, the irony since school lunches are terrible health choices for a meal.  I should say most.  In the district I left, they did crazy things to make it more healthy.  They stopped using any sugar or salt.
Another irony is that they mostly served meals that were 90% carb based.  If you understand how that breaks down in the body, then you know a carb becomes and is processed as sugar.  So in reality, they have a high sugar meal with a salad bar option.  
By the way ice berg lettuce has almost zero food value and so you know that is their lettuce of choice because it is cheap.

They also decided to cut cost on meals by cutting out cooks.
The meals are now made of the type of fast food crap you  can buy in the freezer section... toss in the oven and eat quickly.  No prep equals no time paid for the cook to cook.  For example one menu was bagel dog, canned corn, tater tots (without salt!) and a fruit option that your child can throw away if they don't want to eat it.  It did have less sugar and a small amount less fat than the store brands... but taste went out the window with them along with the kids desire to eat the stuff.

I do find it ironic that anyone who can screw up a kid's diet like that would be the one to worry about their health... but what do I really know?

So my question for you is...
Did those parents have a right to be insulted for their child or should they be saying 
"Thank you!  Now Jr... get your butt up off the couch
and ride your bike for an hour."

In recent posts... elsewhere, I have heard the same tired old comment that so many people use:
They should shut their mouths and push away from the table.
An old saw... and sawdust as far as I am concerned on the subject of childhood obesity.
Being fat is an addiction.  But unlike stopping a drinking, drug or other habit, you actually need the thing you are addicted to in some amount to live.
No cold turkey!
(Hahahaha... I like that pun!)

Sorry... my point about pushing away from the table is this... children do not have the maturity or discipline to do that.  Since they learn from example, they follow what the parents do.
I personally think a good wake up call to mom and dad is the right  thing on this subject.


  1. Big congrats on the week smoke free!

    (Don't tell anyone, but I may be attempting such a lifestyle change myself, end of this week. We'll see.)

  2. It is a tricky issue. No one wants to hear - You're fat. Most people, even kids, are aware when they are overweight. At the same time, it could be a wake up call to some parents that they need to be more vigilant in their own food and activity choices...because the thing about kids is they eat what is provided for them, for the most part. Most of them don't have enough funds to go food shopping on their own, although of course they can sneak "forbidden" treats.
    Hopefully, too, schools will see that they can help by providing truly healthy choices at lunch and also by keeping daily physical education in the curriculum.

  3. Suldog-- Yikes! If you do have things to chew on... a straw works wonders. A nice dark ale has a way of helping too.

    And if you don't... you will when its the right time. :-)

  4. laura b.-- You are so right about the difficulties kids have with not being in control of what foods are available.

    One of the concerns was that fat kids are bullied. But I have also seen fat kids bully.

    I hope it will be used like a report card to help parents see what needs to be addressed

  5. The entire country is hearing that they're fat, so I'm not surprised it's a sore point...

    But I think I would be somewhat irritated about it myself, regardless of my child's physical shape. It's sort of a privacy violation, AND it runs the risk of causing embarrassment. Some might also say that it's none of their business, although I'm sure I could argue both sides of that one.

    One's physique is a very personal thing, and broaching a subject like that is difficult to do diplomatically ESPECIALLY to someone at an age and place where personal image is still being created. If there had been permission slips, and were done discreetly, all results were generated by a third party, and mailed home to the guardians, and teachers were left out of the loop, that'd be one thing. But prying into the lives of a kid like that I think crosses a line.

  6. Matt Conlon-- Hello and welcome to Oodles of Funch!

    I agree that it would need to be done with privacy and care. I believe it was the gym teacher's job and it was mailed. I do not think that results were given to anyone but the parents. But I do not know that for sure.

    Excellent points. Kid are very fragile when it comes to self image.

  7. Matt C-- I agree too that it is sort of a privacy issue. I don't know about other people, but going to my kids' parent teacher meetings always made me feel defensive.

    If they made a suggestion, I felt that my parenting skills were not up to what they considered snuff. But I am impulsive and would eventually talk myself out of that snit and give it a go. Still it did make me feel sort of questioned as a good vs bad parent.

  8. I am on the other side of this - childhood obesity is a public health issue and akin to schools having an interest in childhood immunizations. Parents are offended that they are being told about health risks caused by their child's weight? Why? If they haven't figured it out on their own, someone should tell them. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, back and joint problems, the list goes on. The idea is not to humiliate the parent or the child, but to empower them to correct a potentially devastating problem. As an adjunct, the schools need to dramatically reform their school lunch program, add physical activity into the school day, educate children about health choices, and get soda machines the hell out of the schools. If we don't get serious about this problem, we are going to pay an enormous toll over the next couple of generations.

  9. secret agent woman-- Very well said!
    I don't think that can be improved on. I agree 100%.

    On top of that I'd like to add that while I was not a fat kid, I have worked with kids who are very obese and they are never, never happy people.

  10. as long a junk food is cheaper than healthy food the battle is lost.

    have you quit smoking everything?

  11. Well, sending home a letter sure beats how it was done at my school, perhaps yours too? Remember "getting weighed and measured?" We all used to get lined up in the gym, where the nurse would weigh and measure us and shout out the results to the person who was writing it all down. Want to know the fattest kids in the class and exactly how much they weigh? Just keep your ears open.

    Then this info was included on our report cards. Of course, this was when report cards were just empty boxes that were filled in in longhand, but still...

    I don't think it's that bad though. I don't know that the current standards for BMI are reasonable, but still, this is nothing new, really.

  12. I didn't watch the episode, so I don't know what exactly happened or what was being said about it.

    If the kids were sent home with a number, big deal. When I was a kid, I brought home numbers every week. 100, 95, 85, 82, whatever. As long as it was 80 or above on a test. Sometimes I brought home a bad number, like 70. That was a failure. Were my parents not supposed to know those numbers for fear that one of the other kids would think I was smart or average or dumb? Were the people who worked at the school supposed to waste their time making phone calls to tell the parents the numbers rather than just giving us the numbers on pieces of paper?

    I don't know, maybe there was something really bad about the way the BMI numbers were sent home? Maybe the numbers were written on the kids' faces with a permanent marker?

    And really, I think the kids can see who is skinny and who is average and who is fat without looking at the numbers. If you're going to be made fun of because of your weight, it isn't like people wait to learn your BMI number before they make comments.

  13. billy pilgrim-- Unfortunately, I think you are right. Cheap and easy win.

    Me... I make from scratch and prefer fresh, organic and healthy... but it is expensive. I'm telling myself that I'm saving on medical costs on down the line.

    Well, if I want a job, I'd better not so that I can pass a pee test.

    But I did smoke part of one of Randy's stogies yesterday. I must say... I love the way they smell and I enjoy the way they make him taste. However, my lungs wondered what that shit was.

  14. Cricket-- School has always been a real horror show like that. Yes, in our school our gym teachers did that same shouting it out method.

    Worse yet, in junior high, they made us line up in tiny towels to be inspected after showers. The towels always left some part of you hanging out for all the others to view.

    But at the school I just left, the gym teacher was super and kept that info to himself and helped each kid develop a personalized fitness goal. In fact, he was one of my strongest supports in losing weight. It is getting better.

  15. happy one week anniversary. i'm sure the crazy will get better with time.

    as for the BMI letters, our school sends them out too. my kids are fine, no weight issues. it just annoys the hell out of me that it's one more way the schools think they ought to be parenting MY child instead of me doing so. every year i get a letter about my son failing the vision screening too even though every year he sees the eye doctor right before the school yer starts. the kid has worn bifocals for years and we get new lenses whenever it's called for. the school only screen with a machine and when the kid wears his glasses it distorts the image because he can't move his head to USE the bifocal lens. every damn year i send a note from the eye doctor saying he's been seen and that when they screen him they need to do so manually not with the machine. do they listen? no. so they can take their mass screenings and stick em up their butts.

  16. laughing-- You make an excellent point. You can tell by looking at another kid if they are bigger or smaller than you. Kids are cruel.

    Teachers can be too, not to mention other students parents and even family members. I had an aunt that always greeted me with some sort of verbal slap about whatever I had chosen to wear... aimed at my mother's taste, but I got to feel the sting. People can easily find a way to damage each other.

    And as I said... I hope that parents will use the information well.

  17. This is a thorny issue. I don't like the idea of the school sending home a kid's BMI report especially when they are the ones that allow soda machines and serve fatty, sodium-saturated foods for lunch.

    Kids will eat what you put in front of them. They may not eat it the first day. They may not eat it the second day, but hunger is a great motivator.

    I hated white milk and orange juice when I was in elementary school, but I drank them both because that was all there was other than a water fountain.

  18. lime-- Yeah, I've felt the you are judging my parenting skills and telling me what to do feeling too. It sucks.

  19. I meant to congratulate you on the non-smoking anniversary. Way to go! Hang in there. It gets easier with time.

  20. Cube-- I know. Our new kitchen manager up there took out the soda and put juice and water in it. I asked her if she realized that the kind of juice she had provided was no better than soda without the fizz. She didn't flip me off, but I could see in her eyes that she wanted to. Hee hee.

    Thanks Cube! Is that the voice of experience I hear?

  21. The only experience I have with education is what I ran across as a kid and what my children have experienced. I'm just a person who sees problems that aren't being addressed by our current crop of educators.

  22. I do have a little trouble with the whole BMI dealie. Mine is pretty high because I'm muscular, but I look pretty thin. It can be deceiving,is all. I believe that parents should set a good example and not only encourage good nutrition but exercise as well.

  23. Churlita-- You are right. It is up to us as parents to be a good example. I could not agree more how important exercise in the health equation. I know you set a wonderful example for your kids, others and me! Your girls are not going to be among those who die at an earlier age than their parents because you have done it right.
    How sad that so many children do not have parents like you.

    I wish I could say that I had been as good of a parent, but I was not on that issue. Money played a major role and I did get my kids who were willing into sports... but that was more to keep them busy and out of trouble. If I had a do-over... I'd follow your lead.