Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vitamin RC (Reality-Check)

This morning my husband and I discussed whether it's time to start giving our son, the Juban Princeling, a regular multi-vitamin. And just in time, too, as the Princeling went ahead and had a fit when I wouldn't give him one of my enormous, horse-sized vitamins that I can barely choke down every morning.

So I did what I usually do when I have a question about raising my child in a healthy way that will help him be the best little Princeling he can be: I consulted the internet.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that healthy children receiving a normal, well-balanced diet do not need vitamin supplementation over and above the recommended dietary allowances, which includes 400 IU (International Units) of vitamin D a day. Megadoses of vitamins—for example, large amounts of vitamins A, C, or D—can produce toxic symptoms, ranging from nausea to rashes to headaches and sometimes to even more severe adverse effects. Talk with your pediatrician before giving vitamin supplements to your child.

I think it's adorably optimistic of the AAP to assume that we all live in a TV commercial where the children sit quietly and happily at the kitchen table to consume a "normal, well-balanced" breakfast every single day. Probably one cooked by their parents and consisting of things like egg-white omlettes with spinach and tomatoes, organic turkey sausage, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. And the children are all fresh-faced and wholesome, and they do their homework without being nagged, and the siblings never fight, and no one ever has a tantrum, and at night the whole family holds hands and sings "Kumbaya."


Yeah, right.
(Photo from

Here in the Lopez household we are full of good intentions and lazy follow-through. Husband and I would love it if the Princeling one day had a breakfast that could conceivably qualify as "food," but every morning we're slapped in the face by real life. Yesterday he had a cookie for breakfast. Today's breakfast consisted of:

1 1/2 saltines,
Three bites of an apple
Four Skittles

And we were happy, because he ate those saltines and had those bites of apple!

To be fair, when Husband and I took the personality quiz in "Stress-Free Potty Training," the Princeling scored astronomically high in the "Strong-Willed" category. (Oh, yay.) But I imagine most households are like ours: good intentions, harsh reality.

Part of this complete breakfast!
(Photo from Wikipedia.)

Nice try, AAP, but have any of you ever MET a child? Do any of you truly believe in your heart of hearts that the overwhelming majority of American children are receving healthy, balanced nutrion via their meals and snacks?

Since the Princeling likes fruit so much we have not worried much until now. Fruit is healthy, right? The USDA says we should make "half our plates" full of fruit. The USDA wouldn't lie to us. Would they?

Then I thought back to the past few weeks and noticed about 90% of what the Princeling regularly consumes falls into one of these three categories:

Hot dogs/chicken nuggets

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure Skittles don't pack a lot of vitamin B and hot dogs aren't high in fiber.

The thing is, the Princeling does like vegetables. But he only eats them under certain circumstances, like when they are heated up in a bowl and he's watching his train movie, and Saturn is in retrograde, and it's a Leap Year, and the Speaker of the House has a last name ending in the letter Q.

So, thank you for the vote of confidence, American Academy of Pediatrics, but our kid is now a Flintstones Kid. It's the only way I can sleep at night.

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