Mommy Wars: Are Cheerios choking hazards or a snack food

Somewhere along the way I said something about the Coffee Talk section being renamed due to the return of Soper. Took me a while to think of something good. I finally landed on “Mommy Wars.” Not all of the Coffee Talk subjects were mommy or even parenting related and I am sure Mommy Wars will include a few subjects outside of the parenting realm. However, that whole being married to an anthropologist thing kicked in and I started to think about my child, other children and safety.

I recently subscribed to a new mom’s magazine. At this point in life magazines are the most I can read so I gravitate toward them rather than books. Anyway… I received my first copy in the mail last week and was a bit disappointed. I opened it and immediately thought I would cancel the subscription. The first ad was for Baby Gap, the second BMW. This magazine is for the I have too much bloody money and want to flaunt it upon my child mom. This is not me. Remember I am the granola mom. However, between the expensive plaid ads and the articles toting the mom who gets her son off to preschool, has time to play with her twin boys, and surveys her hot and trendy children’s store all while wearing a $2400 Prada dress was an intriguing article. It talked about perception of safety for our children.

I am mostly a ho-hum kinda mom. The boy has kamikazed off the couch more times than I can count on both hands. I let him have a cup of coins that I collected on trips to get him and no I didn’t wash them. People freak out when they see him with various Rubles and Kopeks. “Won’t he put those in his mouth?” Nope. The child rarely puts anything other than food in his mouth. I let him eat day week old Cheerios off the floor. Hell, I even gave him back the cracker he threw on the grocery store floor. But I don’t really let him jump on the couch, I am careful to seatbelt him into the stroller and every grocery cart. I cut the grapes in 1/2 so he won’t choke. I am anal about outlet covers and he has been known to run around the yard with his bike helmet on even though he abandoned the bike long ago.

I have witnessed other moms get concerned about things such as how much food they can shove in their face, standing too close to the TV and how many layers of clothing the child should be wearing. “Watch where you are walking because you might fall down and cry and then that would be the end of the world because god forbid you ever have to utter anything over a whisper.” Whereas I would say, “you biffed it. Sucks to be you.” and then kiss a boo boo and send him on his way.

Some moms see Cheerios as a snack food and some see them as sugar laden treats of early diabetes and heart disease. Some moms see the organic free range ones as wholesome little nuggets of my child will turn into a perfect adult because I only fed him pure good for you food. Some moms see those same sawdust tasting knock offs as choking hazards because they aren’t designed to dissolve quickly in children’s mouths. To me, Cheerios are simply a snack food that evokes a Pavlovian response with my son.

So your topic of discussion is: As parents are we overly cautious or too complacent in our parenting. What should we be concerned about. Is it ok for little Billy to ride the Tonka truck down the hill or is standing right in front of the TV going to make him blind. Will watching Playhouse Disney turn him into some kind of crazed psycho killer? Where do we draw the line?

15 Comment

  1. Okay so I’m not a Mom yet, but I’ll give you my opinion, since you asked….

    I think some Mom’s are WAY too critical of other Mom’s. (Like some of them aren’t worried about the same things (read: right things) that they other ones are) I have a lot of girlfriends who have experienced this … playgroup dropouts and such. Mom’s should support each other and as for the worrying, it’s a personal choice. Some people are more cautious than others. To each their own…

  2. I’m defnitely more cautious than most parents I know… helmets for sledding (in hills bigger than the tiny slope in our backyard), car seats until they hit the age limits, protection on the email/internet the use, all that kind of stuff. But I’m with you, falling down now and again isn’t a tragedy and a little Disney/NickJr isn’t going to kill anyone. And Cheerios definitely fall on the healthy snack list for us.

    btw… It’s great to see your blog back in all its glory. I’m currently having major hate for Blogger that has locked me out of my own blog (!!) and am considering a move to WordPress… any thoughts?

  3. I know that “sit too close to the TV and you will go blind or worse” thing is a ridiculous lie. BUT my kids are a bit addicted to video games and TV so I guess that warning was true after all. I don’t think TV makes kids violent though. I think it makes them lose interest in other activities which is a sad thing.

    The thing I sweat over most with other moms is manners. There seems to be so many “rules” sometimes I don’t even know them all.

  4. Jessica says: Reply

    I agree with Christen; however, when you see or hear of an obvious case of neglect, either talk to the mom (if she’s a friend – a hard topic, I know) or call it in anonymously if it’s something that is too extreme, you don’t know the parents, or it’s too close to home. I have a friend, Jolene, who has two friends with young kids. She babysits the kids frequently, and due to the obvious neglect of the parents – her friends from high school – she has had the courage to call CPS on these women. You go, girl!

    As for choking hazards, my son is also not “mouthy” and we’ve never really worried about most small objects. Well, one trip to the emergency room last Friday night has cured me of giving him raisins and dried cranberries when I’m not in the room with him! He never did stop breathing, but he had one stuck in his throat, lost his voice, sounded like a seal barking, and had the pediatrician’s triage nurse tell us to take him in immediately. So we went. 15 minutes of sitting/dancing/bouncing in the emergency room waiting room (I was so happy he wasn’t having problems breathing!!), Quin starts to cough horribly, then stops, then goes back to dancing. But… his voice came back and we no longer heard him breathing from 3 feet away. He had worked it out of his system, and he was fine. We left 5 minutes later since he was obviously OK. My lesson: cranberries and raisins are now supervision foods only. And we had let him go with a small bowl of them before (we would be in another room briefly before joining him).

    Since Cheerios dissolve, I would say it would mostly depend on the child. Some kids will put anything in their mouths, and manage to choke on anything that goes down their throats. Obviously there’s an age limit as well, but that’s pretty obvious to most parents. We don’t cut grapes or anything else that we’re “supposed” to cut, but we watch him when he has those items (yes, we did cut them when he was younger – he’s now 2). In our house, with Quin, Cheerios are a snack food!

  5. Lauri says: Reply

    I run the gamut personally with what I stress and worry over but I’m all for natural consequences and not ” Helicopter parenting”.

    I think that the worst form of abuse can be over indulgence and Im striving very hard not to raise a stinker…

    Im less concerned about the Tv ( heck I need noggin) and not all to worried about sugar… but dang nabbit my girl will have good manners

    good post

    I think all of us Mom’s no matter what our style of parenting should stick together

  6. Jenny says: Reply

    My girls have choked on cheerios. Seriously just last week but you know what they need to learn how to eat freaking something. And they love puffs but man, those have alot of nasty ingredients.

    I don’t like to see my girls bonk their heads but I don’t stop it when I see it happening. They are only 8 months I know but if they don’t learn that falling hurts how will they know?

  7. Yep, I get this magazine too! I am not impressed either. These people do not seem to be in the real world.
    Now as far as children… my kids are sugar laden, cartoon watching, future nutcases I suppose.
    I am laid back and not all that worried about a piece of candy or bike helmet(for my older boys). I am however a complete germaphobe and seat belt freak, I do try to keep my boys polite, honest, clean, well groomed, safe and healthy in my laid back easy going sort of way… I mean I do have vitamins, fruit, veges at dinner and THEN the pocket full of Reeses Pieces after dinner!:-)
    Cheerios are a gross snack and not a freak accident waiting to happen in my home but hey, I have a friend who thinks “bubba teeth” are a choking hazard to her 8 year old?!?!?! but then she is not concerned about seat belts so much:-0 THAT FREAKS ME OUT!!! But… everyone can just live and let live as far as I am concerned. I do tease my friend about the teeth thing though.

  8. Lauren says: Reply

    I go back and forth but I am paranoid she is going to fall and break her neck. I think it comes from knowing too many of the makeawish stories. But I try my hardest to let her do her thing. But I also catch myself jumping or acting like I am going to catch kids (even not my own) and have to force myself to sit back. (Sorry Lauri I know I do this sometimes with Livi.)

  9. M- says: Reply

    I’m one of the laid back, go ahead and fall on your head kind of moms. I wasn’t too worried about chocking, and my kid got hot dogs and grapes and cheerios (even the honey nut version) and is still alive to tell the tales. My friend and I were just talking about my daughter the other day, and I was remembering (she’s almost 8 now) how when she was three, she went through a particularly bad falling spell, where she had a fat lip, and goose egg on her forehead and a black eye at the same time all from falling (she ran and tripped, hitting her lip, ran and tripped, hitting her head on the cement stairs outside, and then fell off of a stool and hit the table edge with her cheek, but apparently hit it hard enough to blacken her eye ever so slightly). I think after that I was a bit more careful to warn her and keep her off of stools, but she’s a kid, she falls. My son (who’s 13) stil can’t manage to stay on his feet for one whole day, without falling on something (I personally think his feet simply move faster than his body), I’d be crazy if I tried to chase them around and keep them out of accidents all day. Keep giving the cheerios they love ’em. , and the kamakaze dive, it has to be fun…my kids still do it, just on purpose now.

  10. Lea says: Reply

    Cheerios are great for improving fine motor skills and keeping the boys calm while breakfast is being prepared so they are definitely on our snack list. Our boys have been home for a little over a month and one is already sporting a cut on the cheek and a black eye, now turning green and yellow. I try to be laid back about the bumps and bruises, because boys will be boys, but I do provide some loving-mom-comfort after a bad fall.

  11. Lea says: Reply

    One more thing, one of our sons had a bad choking incident with a banana, of all things. He took a bite that was too big and tried to swallow it whole. My husband had to turn him upside down and smack him on the back a few times. It was pretty scary. A banana, who would have thought?

  12. I tend to be very paranoid when caring for other people’s children and much less so when caring for mine. Kind of screwed up, huh?

    As others have said, moms need to give each other a break and keep judgment and opinions on child rearing to themselves unless asked. And sometimes we do ask because many of us first time moms are clueless! No, I’m not going to make all of my child’s baby food from organic fruits and veggies. I will sometimes feed her the stuff out of the jar and when I make my own food, it will be what I have on hand so back off Mrs. Cleaver! And no, I’m not going to worry about the germs on the grocery cart – if I start thinking too deeply about those things, I’ll end up wrapping us both in a bubble and you can call us Monk1 and Monk2.

  13. Rhonda says: Reply

    Cheerios are a choking hazard? Huh?? Sheesh I am so out of the loop. My kids eat them all of the time. I would think the toy car that Clyde puts into his mouth would probably be the bigger hazard right now….

  14. Carla says: Reply

    Cheerios are snack foods (and healthy at that) in our house. I’m more germophobic with the 2nd than I ever thought of being with the first (comes with knowing how many germs little ones come in contact with now). My boys fall, fight, etc. We’re pretty good about natural consequences being the discipline unless intervention is needed. I’m working hard still on the manners and the respect for authority (the 8 year old seems to want to be in charge and be Mr. Know It All lately).

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