A Six Year Old, Vienna Sausages, and Making Choices

As a parent, I have tried to follow pretty closely to my mother and grandmother’s way of doing things because, I am awesome, and they raised me so…why mess with success? That regimented ministry of the authoritarian household keeps life moving in as orderly a fashion as possible–which means something when you have a husband who doesn’t like to drive down the same road twice and one of two daughters who only ever finishes half of what she’s doing (except eating.  She always finishes food).

But I have not been able to completely deny the hippie spirit that lives deep within, which starts with my desire to give my children freedom of choice: When to do homework after getting home, what they would prefer to eat, which restaurants they like, what outfits they want to wear, if they want to take a bath on the weekends, things they want to try or not…I give them the responsibility of making decisions for themselves that eluded me when I was growing up.

Most of the time this works. I mean, I have to sometimes say, “Ummm, haven’t you worn that shirt 3 times this week already–and has it even been washed???” or “I think you need to actually eat some food today and not just fruit snacks and dry cereal”–but generally speaking, I do not have very many problems with them making decent to awesome decisions.

Except now my picky eating 6 year old has decided to start taking Vienna Sausages to school for lunch.

If you don’t know what they are, Vienna Sausages are like dog food for people. A step down from cheap hot dog wieners, these things are made from the leftover pieces of every edible (and possibly inedible, let’s be real) animal you normally eat: pigs, chickens, cows, sheep, whatever.  These scraps of rejected meat are compressed together into a little cocktail wiener looking thing and six or seven of them of jammed into a little bitty can, which is then filled with a gelatinous preservation goo and sealed with a little pop-top.

vienna_sausageNow understand me. My hippie does not extend into vegan or vegetarian land.  I do not care as much as I should about the nutritional value of the snacks that I allow my kids to eat.  I figure that cheetos and skittles interspersed among the vegetables and stuff that I ate didn’t kill me so it  won’t kill them.  But I was less than pleased with the fact that she was actively taking a sandwich bag filled with garbage meat to school to eat…in front of people…that I don’t know…who could possibly judge my parental behaviors as lacking in some way.

And I guess there it is.  I had to remind myself that I am choosing to allow my kids to make their own choices–and this will NOT be the last time she makes a choice that I do not like for any number of reasons.  And that I cannot renege on my decision just because I do not like how it might be perceived by others.

So…I guess she will be able to take them to lunch.  Until she runs out.  And I don’t replace them. Because, ewwwww.

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