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Home » Hot Topic, Toddler

A Parenting Dilemma – A Difficult Decision

Submitted by on Tuesday, 18 November 200811 Comments

Every so often (and sometimes more often than not) I find myself in an awkward parenting moment.  I had one of those moments today, and I faced a dilemma that left me wishing I had taken a trip to Hawaii instead of a trip to the playground.

Damn you blue water

Damn you blue water

I was at the playground with Smarty Pants, doing the usual playground drill, building an intricate network of tunnels and bridges in the damp autumn sand.  The sun was beating brightly from a clear blue sky.  Everything seemed perfect, until “the kid” arrived.  The kid is a nice kid, don’t get me wrong, but he was the root of my awkward moment today, and for that, I rue him a bit right now.  Lets call him “Water Boy” – you’ll see why in a minute.

We know Water Boy from the playground and I have talked to his parents occasionally… not exactly bosom buddies or anything, just a friendly “Hello, How are you? Now leave me alone” type of deal.  Water Boy plays nicely with Smarty Pants, which is great, considering Water Boy is about 1.5 years his senior.

Anyways, all was well until Water Boy wonderfully exclaimed, “Let’s go get some water.”

Innocent enough I thought, and Smarty Pants liked the idea, so we followed along to “Get some water.”

What I didn’t know was that what Water Boy had in mind was actually not water at all.

I found myself in front of a vending machine at the community centre by the playground.  Water Boy’s dad had just forked out $2 for a Powerade for Water Boy.  ‘A Powerade for a four year old?’ I thought.  And this was no small Powerade… it was like one of those 600 ml or more jobbies.  It seemed more fit for someone who had just run a marathon than someone who had just dug some sand castles.  “Blue Water, Blue Water!” the dear Water Boy exclaimed, as he licked the Powerade from his now indigo lips.

Of course, Smarty Pants immediately turned to me, asking, “Can I have Blue Water too?”

And so began the awkward moment and dilemma.

Should I give in to fit in with Water Boy and his dad, allowing Smarty Pants to drink the blue brew of caffeine and sugar, leaving him awake until the wee hours of the morning and his kidneys none the healthier?  Or, do I stand my ground as the advocate parent of healthy consumption, risking feeling like the “bad dad” in the process, and, outright showing Water Boy’s dad that I disagree with his decision to buy Powerade for his son?

Well, I opted for the latter, and told Smarty Pants he could not have the Blue Water.  I tried to think of the most politically correct reason to tell Smarty Pants, in order not to insult Water Boy’s dad too much.  That is, I didn’t want to just say, “I’m sorry Smarty Pants, little kids shouldn’t drink that crap because it is not good for them.”  So instead, I said, “I’m sorry Smarty Pants, you are too young to drink that.”  I didn’t exactly like saying this, because I don’t want Smarty Pants to think I view him as a little baby, but I really couldn’t think of anything better to say in the moment.

So, I was faced with a tantrum from Smarty Pants, who was screaming at me for Blue Water, while Water Boy and his dad stood there, looking on, sipping their cerulean treat.

Water Boy’s dad was thinking, ‘Who is this cheap bastard who doesn’t want to buy his kid a drink?’ or maybe he was thinking, ‘This guy thinks I am a horrible parent because I buy sugar- and caffeine-saturated drinks for my kid.’

Smarty Pants was thinking, ‘My dad is so mean because he doesn’t want to buy me Blue Water!’

Water Boy was thinking, ‘Mmmmm… blue water…. let’s run around in circles and scream real loud, that will be fun!’

I was thinking, ‘Get me out of here, right now.’

So you can imagine why it felt like an awkward moment.  Well, the moment passed, Smarty Pants calmed down a bit, I didn’t mention the words “Powerade,” “Blue” or “Water” again, and tried to put it behind me.  I am happy with my decision, even though it led to the tantrum and the awkward moment.  Water Boy and his dad didn’t say anything about it and we only exchanged a few more words before parting ways shortly after.

What would you have done?  Do you agree with my decision?

Flickr photo courtesy of ERIO

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11 Comments »

  • Mariah says:

    Hi, I’m here via twitter. YES you did the right thing, I have four kids and 2 stepkids. Believe me, if I said YES to everything their friends parents did… Shit. Not only would I be broke, but stupid. Powerade for a four year old???

    Mariah’s last blog post..I’m Not Really Famous

  • Kristine says:

    I think I would have just said “no honey, not today” or something like that. For all my son’s “issues” he tends to accept responses like that.

    Or you could always do the old “sorry, I don’t have any cash on me right now.”

    Kristine’s last blog post..Still tired

  • Head Jammer says:

    @Mariah – thanks for the reassurance. Good to know others face the same dilemmas too… I guess I can expect this to happen again too!

    @Kristine – thanks, I’ll keep that line in mind for next time… the no cash option is good too, only thing was that I was willing to buy plain water, so I had already pulled out the money – won’t be so quick to my wallet the next time though!

  • Ah, that is an age old dilemma within our household.

    I’m with you. No blue water. And my kids are 11 and 12 and I still won’t let them drink that crap. I’ve also banned a no soda pop rule which makes these moments occur with great frequency as it seems most parents let their kids have pop. Including my relatives.

    It only took years of beating them up with my evil eye death glare for said relatives to finally learn to have juice or water available at family gatherings for my children.

    Good on you.

    Redneck Mommy’s last blog post..Sidestepping the Bombs of Parenthood

  • Head Jammer says:

    @Redneck Mommy – oh the old relatives dilemma, guess I have a lot of great moments to look forward to for many years to come. Gotta get my evil eye death glare down pat in preparation. Thanks!

  • 100% agree on the no blue water. Even though our little one is only 7.5 months, we try to be very careful in reading the ingredients in everything that goes into her belly. Amazing that “teething biscuits” (even Earth’s best) have things like CANE SUGAR in them!? Are they kidding!

    Kudos to you for standing your ground even when faced with the tantrum. If you want some alternative, maybe get some real blueberries, squeeze them into a glass of nice tap water (which is FAR more regulated than bottled water – unless you have a private well), and voila, blue water (never tried this mind you).

    Joseph Hoetzl’s last blog post..Red Leaves for HBW

  • Head Jammer says:

    @Joseph – wow, that is really surprising about the teething biscuits – what are they thinking? I agree with you on the tap water… much better for the environment too, as you don’t waste all those plastic water bottles that most people don’t recycle. Had to laugh about the blueberries, it is a nice idea! Glad to get all this reassurance today, thanks!

  • Yes, teething biscuits – just because things say organic, doesn’t mean it is good!

    Wheat Teething Biscuits Ingredients: Organic wheat flour, organic evaporated cane juice (organic evaporated cane juice, organic corn starch), organic non-fat dry milk, organic corn flour, organic molasses, organic sunflower oil, calcium carbonate, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar, monocalcium phosphate), organic corn starch, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E).

    I am more amazed at what chemical concoctions are in the vitamins our Dr. prescribed – those “Vi-sol’s” have a little chemical called Polysorbate 80. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions, but if you want your child to one day have their own (I know – don’t think about that now), I’d avoid that chemical.

    Joseph Hoetzl’s last blog post..Female Cardinal

  • Head Jammer says:

    @Joseph – wow, that is pretty scary, and makes me glad that we haven’t given our babies any chemical concoctions. We try to give them natural remedies, like chamomile.

  • You so did the right thing…I wouldn’t have given my daughter any and I would have stood my ground. Luckily for me our daughter LOVES water and she *may* have been okay if I had said no. Now, occasionally, we do give her some of that Vitamin water but nothing with caffeine and/or tons of sugar. We even buy her the Mots for Tots apple juice because it has 0 added sugar.

    You did the right thing

    Tyler @ Building Camelot’s last blog post..101 Things I Love About My Awesome Wife

  • Head Jammer says:

    Thanks Tyler, glad to hear it! That is cool that your daughter loves water… Smarty Pants doesn’t drink water on its own very often, we usually have to put a splash of orange juice (highly diluted) in there. So to make up for it we use really good orange juice that has added calcium.

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