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October 27, 2010


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Whoa, I don't need to read this book! I'm too easily affected by passionate arguments for all the things I SHOULD be doing (but am not) and I don't want this to keep me up at night.

I believe my intent to feed my children whole, balanced diets is good enough. And I believe that includes a bit of candy.

Definitely not a book I'm going to pick up. The last thing I need from a book is a guilt trip.

"sanctimommies" - that's very, very good.

My husband and I have certain Principles and Attitudes about what our family eats. But we keep them to ourselves! There is nothing more boring to me that people who talk about what they *don't* eat.

Also, I just read a blog post where a mother was having a full-out "identity crisis" (her words) because one of her kids confessed to her that he tried some of his friend's candy and liked it. I mean, come ON already. Candy is fabulous! And being an uptight weirdo snob about food is going to do way more damage than indulging in a Twinkie or two.

I'm a big fan of Ellyn Satter. She helps keep me sane about food or at least try not to pass along my own issues.

I bought her latest book to give to the day care after an incident where a teacher yelled at my son for not eating his lunch.

I just ignore the part of Child of Mine where she criticizes extended nursing (and/or bottle feeding) and the part about sleep training.

Whoa. I'm way behind the curve because I don't even know what n-3 LCPUFA are.

I read some Dr Sears when I was expecting my first baby and I'm afraid he sent my mind down a dark, dangerous alley full of broken bottles and ferocious dogs. Whenever my baby cried, my imagination was filled with all of the horrible emotional reasons for his distress and all of the damage that was being caused therein. It took a long time to walk off that mind trip.

This guy has a gig and it's selling a prescribed method of parenting. If you follow the right steps, you will get the right results. And if you don't get the results you want, well, it's not your fault, right? Who doesn't want that kind of security in parenting? It's certainly a lot simpler that living in relationship with your kids.

I'll have to check out Ellyn Satter. She seems like she might have a lot of offer!

I read one Dr. Sears book when I was pregnant the first time and I knew he wasn't for me, even though I was planning on doing the natural childbirth-breastfeeding-babywearing-cosleeping thing. He just sounded so convinced that there was only one right answer to every question.

I believe that part of my job as a mother is to teach my children compassion. How can I do that when I'm so busy judging other parents?

I have a friend who has gone through different seasons of what foods are allowed in their home. They were coming to dinner one evening and I wanted to make sure I didn't serve any offending items. When I asked, she so kindly said, "We gratefully accept whatever is provided for us." Isn't that beautifully said? It rather changed my life, actually.

"Judgmenta McSmuggersons"

I love it.

The book? Won't be reading it. I have enough trouble feeding my children, especially my youngest, without worrying about someone's rules.

You know, when my son was born in 2003 I found Dr. Sears' The Baby Book to be really down-to-earth common sense advice on basic parenting and childhood illnesses.

As his popularity has grown, he's gained a schtick and he gained it primarily to boost his profits. I remember when he jumped the shark for me... it was when he started offering on-line assessments of people's children for $100. As in, you send in a questionnaire, speak to him on the phone, he dispenses pat advice, and you pay him $100. Shill.

It's just gotten more bizarre and hilarious since then. I have no respect for him.

How old is Dr. Sears now, anyway? Maybe he's getting a little... *twirling finger next to my head* ??

Thank you for being a reasonable person who keeps ice cream in the freezer. I knew I liked you.

Oh and I think he used to be so reasonable. I also loved The Baby Book, but that was before AP became a brand name. Thanks for the heads up!

Here's the other thing that bothers me about this attitude: it damages your credibility in your child's eyes. Seriously, if you pontificate about the Evils Of Candy, and how it makes people sick, and yet your child sees people all around him/her eating candy and NOT getting sick ... well, what conclusions is your child going to draw about your opinion?

Hi, everybody, thanks for commenting! Amanda, I didn't coin "sanctimommies" -- not sure who did but I can't claim credit for that one. :-)

Sarah, n-3 LCPUFA = omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (like DHA). You're not behind the curve; I'm just over-abbreviating.

I loved the Baby Book and the Birth Book and the Discipline Book. I would not be the mother I am if I hadn't run across Dr. Sears. This book is over the top, though.

This post is good timing for me, as my son is going trick or treating for the first time this Halloween and I've been in quite a fix about how to deal with the candy. I mean I've been weighing my options like I'm making a life-altering decision here. So I've been scare-mongered to enough already, thank you very much. I liked the Baby Book, but friends warned me off of reading any other Dr. Sears because I work outside the home and don't need any more guilt about it.

I read your post, and then I went and made nachos :) They're very good- I'm getting grease on the keyboard.

I bake my own bread, try to make sure there are veggies available for meals, and try to manage my diabetic two-year-old whose greatest love in life is icing. I don't need any extra food stress, thanks. Not getting that book.

I also get very ranty about people who divide food into POISON (that makes us fat and stupid and evil) and MEDICINE (which makes us slender and healthy and lovely) I'm deeply suspicious of the rabid pursuit of health for its own sake. Not the moderate pursuit, mind you, but the kind of judgmental and fear-filled relationship that book sounds like it exemplifies.

I will now stop ranting and eat my nachos.

hmmm... hadn't heard of the book. Was a big fan of the Baby Book back in my day (2002 to a few years ago), but I've never thought too much about Dr. Sears after that.

Now, have you heard of/ read Dr. Joel Fuhrman?

I have his how to Disease proof your child book and... well... maybe it's worse than what you're saying about this NDD Sears book. I'd LOVE to know your opinion about Dr. Fuhrman.

The hardest "pill" for me to swallow in his case and why I just tend to have a gut-wrenching rejection to this kind of sanctimonious stuff is when he says that we can't eat anything "browned" (fried, toasted, even a bit more baked). I cannot imagine food without sautéed onions and garlic and I CRAVE crunchy foods ("kale chips" -- yummmmm). Does overcooking/frying baking really does make all foods basically "toxic"? Sigh. I don't even wanna know! What say you, dear friend?

P.S. I checked out Dr. Fuhrman at the hearty recommendations of Jennifer McCann of Vegan Lunch box fame (still love her recipes, should get her new book).

I think I've started to approach any book on food/eating and parenting with a, "take the meat and spit out the bones" kind of attitude. There is value in what Dr. Sears has to say. HE does not make anyone feel guilty. We put that on ourselves. I've done many times, but I do it less and less as I become more confident in our parenting decisions. This food thing is a big deal. My kids know that twinkies are not ideal and that the meat in Mcd's hamburgers has poo in it, but they don't go around telling other kids that. We do our best but still have pizza and Chick-fil-a and candy. Frankly, it does make me sad to see kids eating twinkies and lunchables on a regular basis. I'm not judging the parents, just sad that our culture really doesn't care about all of the crap we put into our bodies and all of these"unexplained, uncurable" diseases that can totally be prevented by some lifestyle changes. And yes, the danger of these foods is not easily recognizable but our kids need to realize that these decisions do have an effect on us, even though we may not see it. Sometimes I feel like I know way too much, but I can't live in fear and stress about every bite of food my kids put into their mouths. I don't have the time or energy for that. I never want to be superior about our food decisions, either. I would love for more people to make better choices but I'm certainly not going to judge them for the ones they make.

I liked some of Sears' older material but he really lost me with the AP mandates. He and his wife did what worked for their family, and I'm doing what works for mine.

Ellen Satter is fabulous and has helped me a lot. I'll stand up and say that I'm the most impure of the impure moms. I live with two people who have some big issues with food preferences, and I put a higher value on a family dinner that isn't a war zone over whether we're eating a "pure" meal. If this statement caused a "pure" mother to shed a tear, then all I can say is that it's her choice to react in that manner and if that is how she chooses to spend the time that makes up her one and only precious life, then so be it.

Gah. Sometimes I think we're trying to breed anxiety disorder right into the fabric of our culture.

I haven't read the book, but, just to play devil's advocate for a second...I do feel sad when I see a child or a person doing something that is objectively a reflection of some other issue. A child that wolfs down a twinkie is not enjoying the twinkie, he is wolfing it down most likely because he eats them on a regular basis. That to me is sad. I have nothing against feeding children processed sugary foods ocassionally, for a special treat after dinner or lunch or when they've been good at the store or running errands, etc. But I know a few children that are given "snacks" like twinkies every day for no good reason other than the kid was whining, etc. I think it's sad that gluttony with food is such an overlooked sin today. So much of the advertising for junk food seems like it's "porn" for food. There's a billboard in our town for a fast food joint that has a picture of a big juicy fatty cheeseburger and says, "We're open late, so come on, indulge that craving". I think that's wrong and I think it is common place for some parents to train their children in this indulgence with food philosophy at very young ages. I by no means believe they are intentionally trying to do anything wrong but it's still wrong. I don't brag personally about my food choices to other families and I don't make the children ever refuse food when we are a guest at someones home, that would be arrogant and rude. But, I do not feel guilty about being saddened when I see a child wolf down a twinkie, or fruit snacks or some other treat as though it's nothing special, no big deal, just another indulgence of an impulsive craving. I definitely don't think I'm a more pure mother because of it...that's just silly.

Since I haven't read the book though, does he actually say we should never be feeding our children sweets, like even occasional treats? If that's the case I think he's gone off the deep end a bit.

Michelle, my kids have never even to my knowledge SEEN a Twinkie, and if given one would devour it as if they have never been fed before. Why? Because fat and sugar taste good.

Dr. Sears lost me somewhere in Chapter Two of the Baby Book when he suggested mothers (NOT, of course, fathers!) should give up all their luxuries so they could stop working and stay home. In my family's case, that would have meant "luxuries" like three meals a day, so whatever. And Jamie, I've said it before: I love the way you write. I don't always agree with you (in this case, I so very much do) but you always show such wisdom in your commentary. I wish I could show your posts to some of the sanctimommies in my own life and tell them "THIS is how you make your point."

With the rampant rise of diabetes in this country, I think it's better to be overly obsessive about sugar and white flour than not.

AmyinMotown, thanks for the kind words. :-)

Michelle, he tells families to follow the 90/10 rule: 90% green-light foods, 10% yellow-light foods. Candy, soda, packaged baked goods -- those are all red-light foods.

Lilian, I'll take a look at Dr. Fuhrman but I'm skeptical in advance!

Haven't read this book, and don't plan to, especially now! But it reminds me of when the Boy was really little, and I was reading a bunch of sleep-related books. My husband came in carrying Ferber and Weissbluth and said, "I"m throwing these books away. These books make you cry." I was crying too hard to argue, so out they went. ;-)

When I went back to work, I was sitting at lunch with a bunch of other co-worker/moms and older male co-worker with two kids of late high school and early college age. The subject of books came up, and he said, "I always wanted to write a book and call it, "This Worked for (Child #1.)". And then I was going to write the companion volume, "This Worked for (Child #2)."

I actually think that's the best perspective I've ever heard about this sort of thing. Take what works, leave the rest.

You know, I shop the perimeter. We have fruit or veg at most meals (not breakfast, typically). I don't buy sugar-anything unless it's a holiday or birthday or vacation.

But still...I would be totally depressed if my kids had never eaten a twinkie. It's like seeing the ocean--just something that must be done if you're an American.

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