just marketing?

There were two things that I dreaded about becoming a mamma. Diapers? Nope. Sleeplessness? Nope.

“Kid food” and “kid music.” Both are awful. Is it just marketing or are these two things an inevitable part of my life for the next ten years? Wren is too young for me to know for sure, but my gut (albeit flabby) tells me it’s a marketing hoax. Keep in mind that this opinion comes from someone who works in the marketing field… and that could be good or bad.

First of all, kid food. Don’t get me wrong. I like macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and fries (sugar, fat and salt, yum!), but we all know how bad they are for us. Most of all, however, they’re just plain old boring white things disguised as food. While it’s important to me that Wren learn good table manners, it’s really important that she be an adventurous eater. I realize, however, that some of it is out of my control and despite my best efforts, she still might only want to eat macaroni and cheese when she’s four. But I’ll be damned if I don’t try really hard to teach her to love the adventure of food. I’m really enjoying reading Hungry Monkey (A food-loving father’s quest to raise an adventurous eater) right now. If you’re possibly interested in reading the book, but aren’t quite sure, you can click here to read the first three chapters.

What we’re struggling with right now is that the little birdie will put everything we place on the table in front of her directly into her mouth, but she’s not into eating from a spoon anymore. Oh so independent…  She smiles, closes her mouth and politely turns her head waaaaay far away from the spoon. Although her name is Wren, she thinks that she’s an owl and can turn her head about 180 degrees in either direction. You go, girl!

Wren has exquisite taste in citrus, preferring honeybells to clementines. Thanks, Gran Jan!

Now for kid music.

Can someone please enlighten me? I’m not talking so much about lullabies, although the only song that ever comes to mind when I’m rocking Wren to sleep is Kumbaya and if I were her, I’d start requesting something new SOON. Other than possibly some questionable lyrics, why can’t children listen to the Rolling Stones, Vampire Weekend and Ani DiFranco? The thought of taking Wren to a Raffi concert makes me a bit queezy. We took her to a Breathe Owl Breathe concert and she loved it! They were Fun-ky and all three of us enjoyed it.

So my theory behind these two things is that it’s just marketing that makes us believe we have to serve or order “kid food” off the menu and buy “kid music” for our children and I’m just not buying into it. Yet. What do you think, dear readers?


  • My lentil soup I made the other day smelled really good, but I think it needed some sausage. It was really boring. Wren and Chris liked it though–good thing because I made a huge pot of it.
  • Orange is my favorite color today. Still.
  • I’m really impressed with Wren’s pincer grasp. She is getting really good at picking tiny things up. Go, Wren!
  • Thinking about using Twitter… or should I just stay away? Would you follow my tweets (err, drivel)?


10 thoughts on “just marketing?

  1. Ash – good kid’s music does exist but it’s hard to find. Here are some of the very very few people that I could stand before we got Hannah into Coldplay, New Order and MGMT! 🙂

    Dan Zanes & Friends – this guy is really awesome. Really. “House Party” is a great CD.
    I can’t believe I’m saying this but, The Imagination Movers. Yes, they’re a Disney product and yes they all wear blue jumpsuits, but they have some really great songs and good messages too. It”s a mix of pop, rock, hip-hop, world music – it’s truly very very good. Their album “Good Ideas” is a great introduction.

    Laurie Berkner – this isn’t too bad either.

  2. ash,

    we haven’t ordered a thing off the kid’s menu for stella yet. not anywhere. she’s a big fan of soup, so we get a cup or bowl of that when we’re out (which isn’t often, but still)….. or we share our meal. i know she’ll want her own plate soon, which is fine, and she’s clearly told me today that she doesn’t like brussels sprouts, thank you very much (“no, thank you.”), but she said she still likes sugar (snap) peas, broccoli, and green beans, so…. believe me, i know it’s easier said than done, but be as easygoing as you can about it. be sneaky if need be, but whatever you make into an issue becomes….AN ISSUE. i try to let stella choose her own adventure where food is concerned, but since i pride myself on my diverse interests and pleasures where food is concerned, it’s hard when she tells me all she wants for lunch is noodles. toddlerhood brings a simplified palate for sure, but when those sugar peas come up out of the dirt in the spring, she’s all over ’em. no worries. but yes, i agree, most “kid food” is just marketing. ignore it and ask yourself what YOU’D like to eat. if it doesn’t taste or look good to you, pass it by.

  3. I really like Paula’s response re food – I don’t know enough about kid music to have an opinion. When I was growing up – although I don’t remember beng a toddler – there really wasn’t kid food like we think of it now. didn’t discover “fast food” – McDonalds until was probably 12 or 13. I remember just eatng what my mother cooked for all of us, and yes, she would make the old favorites that my dad probably wouldn’t eat like tuna casserole, and mashed potatoes topped wth fried ground beef, fried mush and bologna. The fried mush is what is now called polenta. But I’ve never known a modern kid who didn’t like Kraft mac and cheese and even Aunt Sandy still makes a box and eats the whole thng herself. I guess you just offer a varety of things and allow the baby palate to find what t prefers, and don’t not give it because you think Wren miight not lke it. I know a 20-year-old who is just now experimentng with fish because her parents didn’t give it to her because they didn’t think she’d like it … . Just feed her everythng you eat – and remember, as long as there’s food available, no baby starves. On the other hand, don’t MAKE her eat food she doesn’t like.

  4. Ash- Love, love, love your blog! I agree with your mom on food. My girls ate and eat what I make for dinner. Now if they don’t like it, they have to make themselves something else. I did do chicken fingers, but I didn’t do mac and cheese. I didn’t even realize this until I read your blog. Of course they eat it now. It’s something they can make on their own, so they enjoy eatting it. I gave Lauren tofu when she was Wren’s age and she ate it up. Madi tried and still tries everything. Even snails and loved sucking on lemons at age 1. So try whatever. She may eat it now and hate it when she gets older or hate it now and love it when she gets older.

    Now for kids music. We love broadway show tunes. It’s called Broadway Kids and I just replaced Lauren’s cassette tapes with cd’s this Christmas. The other music we listened to was Harry Chapin Carpenter.

    Have a good day:)

  5. Ashley! I think there was an NPR piece recently about adult bands making albums for kids (such as they might be giants, but there are more!). Perhaps a quick search on NPR would surface it?
    Also, I remember reading something about how children have super taste buds so perhaps what is bland to us is full of flavor complexity to them? Regardless, from what little I know, all kids have their phases. I think that even though I was not an adventurous eater as a kid, the value of it was instilled in me and that has persevered in my adult life. Don’t worry too much!

  6. Pingback: Sleepy songs. « squirrels in wren's nest

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