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I’m ba-ack, and more musing on “too much” ice-cream…

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Blog Posts | 14 comments

Well, just got back from a lovely Disney Cruise with the in-laws and my family. Lots of fun, and the food thing was interesting. Building on my last post about ice-cream, I will share our ice-cream sagas…

There was a self-serve ice-cream machine, that was open 24/7. This was our “snack” on more than one occasion. I had a few cones too. In general, I try to have a “child-sized” portion of dessert most days, usually with dinner. Vacations are a time when I relax a little more.

During the week, the entree portions of food were  reasonable, filling, and had great options for kids. I never felt like there wasn’t enough food, and was pleased that chicken strips and mac and cheese were not the only choice. Refreshing that kids were at least given options of a variety of foods…

Anyhoo, the second day, we had lunch, and the ice-cream buffet served M 3 scoops of ice-cream with marshmallows and sauce. Wow, what a great treat! She enjoyed it, I enjoyed watching her. I don’t even remember if she ate it all. Well then came dinner. M wanted ice-cream again. OK, but I asked the waitress for one scoop. The waitress started arguing with me, and then M joined in, “Come on, it’s vacation,” they chimed in!  I said, “One scoop is great, thanks! We’ve already had wonderful ice-cream today, and we like to eat lots of different things!” So, M now is asking for three scoops, and is getting lots of good attention so she starts mouthing off. She is given two warnings, then her ice-cream comes and she mimics me in a nasty way. That was warning #3, so we left the table, with our desserts just sitting there and went up to the room.

My husband saw her and was supportive, as she clearly crossed the line. By the time we got up to the room, we had talked, she had calmed down. I made sure she knew it was her behavior that was a problem, and then we sat together and enjoyed the pillow chocolates for our dessert while we watched Disney classics. She had eaten a great meal otherwise and said she was not hungry.

The waitress however, I think, assumed I did not want her eating the ice-cream because when M was having breakfast the next morning, she walked up with a bowl with three scoops of ice-cream and handed it to M– who enjoyed it for breakfast. (She also had a small cone with me for snack, and a mickey bar with dinner that night….)

It was all so odd. We ate and enjoyed lots of ice-cream, I mean when do you get to have an ice-cream machine on hand? We stuck with snack and mealtimes, there was also fruit and other choices with snacks, she enjoyed salads, mashed potatoes, chicken, pork etc as well.

What do you think about someone handing your child a huge sundae at breakfast? Weird? What if I was fat, or my daughter was fat? Would they have felt OK telling us to eat less?  I found the staff interfered with the kids’ eating like crazy. Pushing them to eat their veggies, “If you eat all your veggies, you’ll see a magic trick!” Checking in, praising the kids who ate veggies, intervening with what we were offering our children as choices, pushing desserts, LITERALLY…

Just wanted to share, in a rambly, “I have to get back to my chapter I’m working on, but wanted to say Hi and check in” kind of way.

How have you experienced wait-staff/family interfering with feeding? How did you handle it?

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14 Comments

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  1. Jessi

    We eat out occasionally, and I cannot stand the constant stream of encouragement my kids get to eat their veggies from waitstaff and people we go out to eat with. I’m not sure if I’m more sensitive to it because we don’t do it at our house and most of our family is really supportive, but wowie–there is so much pressure around kids and food! I like Granite City because their child-sized dessert is actually kid sized but one time I ordered and asked for it to come with the meal. The waitress actually said, “but that’s all the kids will eat and they won’t be hungry for their healthy food”. Eyeroll. Not to mention that she was probably 18 or so.

    • katja

      yup,
      It makes me crazy too. I will try to dig out the past posts. Comments about veggies, being “good or bad” based on what they eat… I also struggle with sitters imposing food rules. I hate when I get home and hear, “She wanted more popcorn, but don’t worry, I didn’t let her have any.” Woops, forgot my spiel!

  2. Twistie

    Wow. That’s at least seventeen different flavors of Just Plain Wrong. Everybody has said their reasons clearly and concisely while I’m sitting here spluttering in incoherent horror, so I’m just going to point upthread and say ‘what they said with knobs on!’

    The closest thing I can think of that ever happened in my family was when we were on a trip when I was nine. We stayed for several days in Washington,DC, and each morning we ate breakfast at the same coffee shop. It may even have been attached to the hotel, I don’t remember.

    Anyway, we kept getting the same waiter every morning and he took a liking to me. Every morning I ordered hot chocolate and he got a giggle out of the way I dug straight into the whipped cream with gusto. With – I hasten to note – my parents’ permission, he would bring me a second squirt of whipped cream.

    On the last morning, he went to get me more whipped cream, but it was a busy morning. By the time he got back, I’d finished my hot chocolate. Completely unfazed, he filled my entire mug with whipped cream and told me that he was going to make the ‘the world’s biggest sundae with extra whipped cream’ for me the next day. Unfortunately (and I’m guessing the waiter knew this when he made that offer) that was the day we were leaving town.

    My father was still kidding me about that mug of whipped cream two weeks before he died.

    I always did want to go back for that sundae, though. Sigh.

    But the important thing is that my parents agreed to the extra whipped cream in each case – including the mugful. Nobody undermined their authority with me, I was not encouraged to disrespect my parents, nor was I given something my parents had specifically already refused for me.

    That waitress had no business doing what she did.

  3. Jen

    What a weird experience. I am baffled as to why the waitress would argue with you, the adult and parent, on what your child eats. I probably would have mentioned it to the manager or whoever was in charge. It’s completely disrespectful of your role to undermine you in front of your own child. Sorry you had to go through that, but it sounds like the rest of the cruise went well.

    • katja

      It was weird. I wrote about another, waht felt like similar experience about 2 years ago when M was carrying a tray at Whole foods hot/cold bar and I asked her to use two hands. She didn’t picked at something and dropped the tray, I snapped at her (we were on a 14 hour car trip. so I beg for forgiveness :) and then the server brought her ice-cream and was consoling her. “It’s OK, sweetie, don’t cry!” (Your big mean mommy is a meanie, here’s some ice-cream!) M always cries when I snap at her, particularly in public since it happens so rarely, and she feels self-conscious…

  4. Lisa

    Chiming in to agree with everyone that the waitress was inappropriate. Not OK to undermine your authority as it sounds like she was doing with the whole ice-cream-for-breakfast scenario. I also find it really REALLY annoying when anyone encourages my child to eat one particular food (typically veggies) over another or offers food as a reward, etc….

    When we go on vacation, I expect us (my family) to all indulge in a lot of things (staying up late, or sleeping in, or running around until exhausted, or eating to indulge our taste buds at the expense of our nutrition) that we all know would be a problem if it was part of our day-to-day lives. I hope this will help my daughter know that it’s OK to “let loose” a bit in life without creating any ongoing bad habits that will give her more problems!

  5. Alexie

    That’s a shocking story and the waitress was totally inappropriate. It’s not just aboutt food – it’s about undermining your parental authority. It would have been equally offensive if you had told your child that she had played on the swings enough, and then some stranger offered your child a special play on the swings next time she saw her. The fact that food is involved makes it even weirder, because the waitress couldn’t possibly have known whether you were refusing to let your child eat more than she wanted for medical reasons.

    Just offensive all round, and deserving of a letter to management.

  6. Ines

    I am glad you are back, Katja. Aren’t the self serving ice cream machines great? I love them.

  7. Samantha

    WOW. I waited tables for years, at family and fine-dining restaurants. The closest I ever came to interfering was offering to put a child’s food order in early — so the parent can cut-up the food, ect., before their own meal comes, and as a solution for a hungry/cranky child. I normally tried to inquire about interest in dessert covertly when there are small children so they don’t beg/plead.

  8. Effective Nancy

    When we took my then three-year-old on a Royal Caribbean cruise last year, we also had access to a soft-serve machine, and were offered all sorts of food. We skipped midnight buffets, ate in the formal dining room every night as a family, and generally worked with the kid to help her make good choices. When we were served by waitstaff, they invariably called her “Princess,” but also always deferred to us adults when serving. They even helped us encourage her to try a wider variety of foods by being our allies, and offering substitutions when needed. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but RCCL seemed to respect our parenting very nicely, while your experience on Disney sounded rather disrespectful to YOU. If I were you, I would send a letter to Disney about your feelings, and see what they have to say.

  9. Mrs. F

    I find it shocking and frankly quite weird that people would bring food to your child, unrequested — and then argue with you (the parent!) about it when you politely decline it!

    I think this calls for a letter to the cruise operator. Turn it into a teaching moment and explain that even the most well-intentioned action on the part of the wait staff (helping kids have fun on vacation! wooooo!) can have an impact beyond that single moment, especially when it comes to feeding. The smallest result might be that a single waitress gets a talking to. A bigger result might be an opportunity to transform the training program (and who knows, maybe even the way meals are served) for the cruise operator.

    I’m still shaking my head over how weird that must have been…

    • katja

      What I didn’t mention folks, was that I was not at the breakfast the next day… I forgot to put that in. M ate with Dad, I think i was in the spa? :) It felt to me like I was perceived as a “control” freak who wouldn’t let my kid indulge in a little ice-cream, and the waitress was trying to be nice to M, pretty messed up. It is not the first tine I have written to Disney. Last year, when a turtle asked, “Does this bikini make me look fat?” I almost rushed the stage…

  10. Colleen

    Wow, that’s weirdly inappropriate. I mean, not your child’s behavior, but the behavior of the staff. I waited tables for 10 years (admittedly, not on a cruise line, but still). I can’t imagine EVER giving in to a child’s demands when the adult with them has clearly and repeatedly said no. And if you’re really trying to play to the kid, you say something conspiratorial like “tell you what, let’s make Mom happy and start with one scoop. Maybe you can talk about more when you finish that one.” I mean, that’s still not ideal, but at least it recognizes the adult’s right to make decisions for the child.

    And then at breakfast? That’s completely beyond the pale. You just … no. I’m sorry, but thinking just as a tipped employee and assigning it no moral basis, you cater to the individual who’s going to leave you the tip.

    The closest I’ve come to interfering with a family I waited on was keeping a few packets of saltines in my apron. I would offer them to adults with young children, so the kids would have something to chew on while they waited for their orders to be ready.

    • katja

      Colleen, that’s so sweet about the crackers! I would have loved that option at the occasional meal when things were slow in the kitchen! Thanks for your input!