|Toasted sticky rice - tastes better than a bag of chips, but not as cool.|
Don't laugh too hard... that's my kid. Or will be, in a few years.
But Stacy at School Bites is on to something. Junk food is cool, there's no arguing that, but those cool kids I remember from elementary school had more than just Handi-snacks going for them. Every aspect of kids' lives has a cool factor - clothes, movies, games, activities... Obviously food, by itself, doesn't make or break a kid.
Those cool, fruit-snack-eating kids I remember from elementary school were probably also wearing cool jeans and playing Playstation while my brother was still taking out our Nintendo cartridges to blow the dust off the inside so they would play right.
So what does that mean for me as a parent? Well, even though I don't want the kids to be too wrapped up in what "cool kids" do, I don't want them to be outcasts either. I know coolness is all about self-acceptance and confidence, and those things can't be bought. But, on the other hand, I have to admit that sometimes a certain outfit or hairstyle makes me stand a little taller, and having something to contribute to conversations about the latest books and movies and t.v. shows makes small talk easier for me.
Knowing that my kids are bringing "uncool" food to school every day might make me willing to go out of my way a little to make sure they have other "cool" stuff, like a particular type of shoes, or a game other kids are talking about, or a book from the book order (Yes, the book order is still awesome. At least it is in our school.) I'm normally pretty cheap, so it's not hard for me to say no to things I don't think we need, especially since I want them to choose things based on what they like, not what everyone else says is cool. But I might choose to go against my nature, just a little, as compensation for all those dorky snacks.
Most importantly, though, I can rest assured knowing that no funny, confident, talented kid is going to be ostracized for lack of a pudding cup. Who knows? Maybe other kids will want food like theirs. After all, cool is as cool does.