The 5 Year Old Vitamin Junkie

I think I've created a monster.

Once again, my best intentions have gone awry.

If I could think of another cliche', I'd write it here.

One day, I noticed that sweet little Ginger wasn't drinking milk anymore. Just water. That made me think. Does this child get enough calcium??

We parents worry about a lot of things. Whether these things are valid or not, we may never know. But, one thing that I do worry about is my girls getting enough calcium. I'm not so much worried about Maddie or CoCo - they drink milk constantly, eat yogurt like it's ice cream, and never turn down a piece of cheese. Plus, they are sturdy. You can tell by looking at them and hugging them that their bones are big and strong. And, osteoporosis does not seem to run in our family.

But, sweet little Ginger is like a tiny hummingbird. You feel like you could break bones if you hug her too hard. I know nothing about her medical history, and didn't I read somewhere that people of Asian descent are more likely to develop osteoporosis? Hmmm.

Anyway - back to the problem.

Ginger stopped drinking milk. She says she doesn't like it. She doesn't eat yogurt anymore. She may eat cheese, but only if it is safely melted in a quarter of a grilled cheese sandwich (and even then, it's doubtful that she'll take more than 3 bites).

I decided that this is a problem. Since I do not like forcing my children to eat things that they don't like, I only had one option left to me -- vitamins.

Finding vitamins with added calcium for children is HARD. For adults? No problem. I think I stood in Walmart for 20 minutes, carefully reading each label on every children's vitamin available. You can get children's vitamins with every other vitamin and mineral imaginable. Probiotics, ginger root, even gingko biloba are easy to find in a children's vitamin. But not calcium.

Finally, I found something (of the Flint-stone variety) that had a tiny bit of calcium in it. It supplies about 10% of a child's daily calcium needs. Ugh. But, that's 10% more than what we started with.

So, I brought the vitamins home and sat down to have a talk with Ginger. I told her that I was worried that she didn't drink enough milk. That I wanted to make sure that she stays healthy her whole life, and that choices we make now will impact her health as an adult. She looked at me with absolutely no interest in her eyes. I handed her a vitamin and told her that she would need to take these every day.

It seemed innocent enough.

About an hour later, Ginger asked for another vitamin. I explained to her that she could only have one each day. That while vitamins are good, too much of a good thing can be very bad.

The next morning, the sun was barely out. I was laying in bed, not even thinking about the day ahead, when I could feel someone breathing on my face. I pried open one eye to see Ginger hovering over me. She said "Mom? Can I have my vitamin?" I think I mumbled something like "Breakfast, hour, later, sleep."

Hours later, when it was time to face the day, Ginger bounded into the kitchen saying "You forgot my vitamin, mom! Can you get me a vitamin???" At this point, I'm thinking that I'm glad she remembers. I'm not so good at remembering things anymore.

The next day, as I am trying to finish up some work at the computer, Ginger comes to me and says "Mom!!!! I need that vitamin!!!" I explained to her that I would get it in a minute. One minute later, Ginger came back yelling "Mom!!! You said my future depends on this!!!" Ugh. Indeed, I did. I turned to Ginger and explained that it didn't really matter when she got the vitamin - just that she gets it some time. And, I told her that I would never be able to stop anything that I'm doing to get it for her. We discussed the topic at length, and came up with the solution that she should only ask for the vitamin when I am in the kitchen.

Now? The child seems to have wired some sort of alarm-device that rings in her head the very moment I step foot into the kitchen. Seriously. If I try to sneak in a few seconds of quiet time in the morning before anyone gets up, she is there before I can rub the sleep out of my eyes asking for a vitamin. If things are too busy in the morning, and she somehow manages to forget - she will be right there asking for her vitamin the very second I set my keys down on the kitchen counter.

I guess there are worse things that she could be addicted to. But, I'm starting to rethink my philosophy of not forcing the children to eat or drink something that they don't want to.


Post a Comment