Saturday, February 09, 2008


Last week I went downhill skiing with Jake's class. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive, given the last time we got stuck up on the mountain for hours and it poured rain.

Skiing in the rain and trying to entertain 60 bored pre-teens is about as fun as the stomach flu, just less messy.

This year there were new guidelines as well. The kids were not allowed to buy ANY junk food from ANY vending machine. They also weren't supposed to be buying anything at the mountain. Now, I have an opinion on the Healthy Living Guidelines that have been brought in by the BC Ministry of Education. I do think that it is good that schools are not allowed to sell any type of junk food to kids anymore, because I have seen situations where the junk consumption from bake sales and hot lunches is completely over the top ridiculous.

However, on the other hand, what I choose to pack in my child's lunch is my decision. The standards don't apply to lunches from home, but the kids are "encouraged" to eat healthy. The thing is, kids don't have a say over what goes in their lunch box. Parents buy the food, they pack it, and that is all the kid has. The "encouragement" really ends up being more of a "guilt trip." There doesn't seem to be any middle ground, either-it's either a free for all junk fest (as in one school I worked at years ago) or sugar is deemed evil.

Not just that but...the same adults that are touting the whole Healthy Living slogan are eating the very junk food that they tell the kids is bad for them in the staff room on their breaks.

Hypocritical, much? And you don't think the kids pick up on that?

Anyway. Back to skiing.

We had a wonderful day full of powder, moguls, jumps and ski mishaps. Jake hilariously kept turning the tips of his skis uphill while he tried to stop, and then would begin to slide backwards down the hill-clawing at the snow and screaming the whole way, of course.

"It's NOT FUNNY!" he wailed, on his back with feet in the air and face full of snow.

"Yes it IS!!" I gasped-some sympathetic mother I am.

The day went quickly and soon we were back on the ferry home. As we sat chatting, Jake rifled through his lunch box and came up with a baggie of wasabi peas and goldfish crackers. The other kids eyed his snacks hungrily. Since it was a special day, a field trip where he'd be using a lot of energy, I had packed him a Snickers bar and some Pringles chips-items that NEVER make it into his lunch box at any other time.

As I turned to talk to a group of kids, one looked away guiltily.

"You bought something, didn't you?" I gasped in disbelief. Somehow, a few of them had nabbed the chance to be alone for a few seconds and had hit a vending machine.

Her face turned beet red and she began to stammer.

"Well...I just bought some Skittles..." she fiddled with her shirt, eyes darting nervously, waiting for a teacher to pounce any second and confiscate the goods.

"And they're in your SHIRT?"

She blushed and turned her collar so I could see the corner of the package of skittles that were tucked neatly into her bra strap. "Want some?" she offered.

Oh my god. A kid is trying to pay me off with skittles like they're contraband drugs. Here, I'll share my pot with you, just don't let them know I have it....

The expression on her face was one of please don't tell, I'll give you half the bag, just don't tell.....

I began to chuckle and then outright laugh, and she looked relieved.

"It's okay, I don't want any. Seriously though, you gotta work on that guilty look you have. I knew immediately that you were up to something."

Candy. The new prohibition.

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