Sunday, September 30, 2007

Recalls, Recalls, Recalls...what is a mother to do!!

Here we go again with the Made in China label. It seems like every time I turn on the TV nowadays, there is a Made in China product being recalled. Checking out our government sponsored website, www.recalls.gov , the latest recall lists Target distributed products from doll strollers, necklaces to children's tools and chair sets, having large amounts of lead violating our federal standards. Now, Target is my store of choice when it comes to purchasing toys for my children. Everything from my daughters board games to clothes, Target is my one stop shop, a God-send for busy mothers. However, given the quality of products coming out of the Target-only distribution, from toys to cribs, they are good for the value, but stamped with the Made in China label.

Now, I know that Target is not the only carrier of Chinese toy products; our whole marketplace is littered with Chinese made products. Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Costco and Wal-Mart - just to name a few - will all see discontented parents returning toys that their children have grown very fond of. Looking at everything that is going on with the recall issues, making choices of what to get and not to get is going to be very hard, now with the Christmas season at our heals. Today my 3 year old looked at the Sunday newspaper pull-out for Toys R Us and commenting "oh, I want Santa to bring me a Barbie doll!." How can I tell her that Santa is hesitant to give her that because his elves are using lead paint, and that it is a bad thing because your baby sister likes to grab things and put things in her mouth all the time and touching Barbie might get your sister sick. Hmmm. What to do...what to do...

Taking an inside look into this, I know our government is overwhelmed as is in putting all enforcements in place to prevent these problems. Working with the agencies as a Customs Broker, I have seen some of the problems that come out of our government at work. Customs is under staffed to fulfill their obligations to the public in securing our borders. FDA is understaffed to investigate all food and drug issues, imported and domestic. Looking abroad, trying to regulate issues with the Chinese government are going to be tough because we don't have permission to go in and inspect the conditions of the products coming to us. Essentially, all powers that be have tied hands to this issue.

Given all of this, parents can voice their opinion with purchasing power. With the power of the pocketbook, parents can change the behavoirs of businesses to concentrate efforts on better quality, healthier products, not just the bottom line of cheaper labor. I know that there are going to be some parents who want to buy USA made products for Christmas. It think it is going to be a tough sale to kids who have their hearts on that Barbie or model airplane for Christmas. But, with time, maybe that Barbie or model airplane would be more premium in the marketplace because the manufacturer took the time to see all the materials and labor were the best. Of course this would drive up prices, but it would be a good starting point help us all secure safety and priorities into our lives. Paying for quality, not just quanity of things. That is a thought going into Christmas this year :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Picky eaters - time for the good stuff

This whole week, I have noticed more and more how my 3 year old is very picky with what she eats. Every meal that has been prepared for her, she would automatically say "Ew! That's yucky!" without having ever placed it in her mouth. She automatically judges based on the site and smell to see if it good. I know that I want to expand her palette beyond McDonald's chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. I have tried very hard to see that she gets good nutrition and a variety of choices.

Yesterday evening, I was trying out a recipe in a new crockpot recipe book, a chicken tortilla soup. I thought it has chicken (which she likes) tomato sauce (which she likes) tortillas (she could out do me on a bag of chips anyday) and cheese (yummy). Anything a kid would like, right? Wrong! She smelled it and curled her nose YUCKY! I told her she had to have at least 2 bites before she left the table. She had two tiny bites and opted for the small box of Trix instead. Okay, I know the Trix is wrong choice, but I felt like she had carrot sticks and a banana in her lunch box that she ate at school, so it is not all that bad of trying to feed my child well!

Again tonight, a "healthy" pizza from Pizza Hut (the thin crust Chicken Supreme is something the South Beach Diet even endorses) loaded with green peppers, chicken, onion and mushroom. And do you know, even with a food like pizza, and the tomato paste crust, the child turned her nose to it!

My 7 month old is starting to become picky..well I know she is only 7 months and she had only started to eat solids for a couple of months now, but even the foods she has tried and seem to like, she does not like anymore. Green beans puree was a delicacy for Ella. Now she frowns and cries when she has it. I think the only food she had consistantly liked is my breastmilk.

Have I set a bad example for my daughters in actually trying to get them to try new foods? I know that I have moods when it comes to food, I mean after a stressful day, I could eat a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies! Perhaps they are in moods, and want some sort of control and defining for themselves what they like and don't like. They still have alot of growing up in the taste buds and in the belly!

I know when I was young, I could not stand spinach, though my parents consistantly put it on my plate, whether I ate it or not. Now it is one of my favorite foods! Maybe my daughters will start eating healthy if I just gave it to them as an option, constantly. Maybe they will be picky enough to try those "yucky" foods and think of it as a great alternative. Maybe I should get rid of those chocolate chip cookies and start eating those same carrot sticks I put in my daughter's lunch box when I feel a stress spell. Maybe I need to "grow up" my palette too!