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Momo Made My Daughter Eat Her Vegetables

All of these foods are in my kitchen right now! And my family eats them! We are so fancy!

You knew that was clickbait, and yet you're still here, dear reader. Thank you for that. Yes, Momo is a hoax, but the grain of truth in my lie is that one of those annoying children's YouTube channels has influenced my daughter to get herself ready for school and bed without prompting, do chores, and incorporate new vegetables into her diet. In the past two days, my eight-year-old ate two kinds of salad as well as spinach, both raw and cooked. 

Here she is, forcing the cat to watch YouTube with her.

Sadly, I am not being paid to promote or review the channel (not that I wouldn't take a cut of the family's bajillions of dollars if they offered it for this glowing recommendation!), but it is called SIS vs. BRO, and the reason it's so seductive is that most of the videos portray two rich siblings wasting vast quantities of brightly colored, fun-textured substances in silly ways. Like throwing limitless bath bombs into a hot tub, chucking random stuff into blenders, or making giant gummy treats or batches of slime.

I'm two generations removed from folks who were near destroyed by the Great Depression, and it's a strong value in my family to waste nothing, so this channel gives me the hives. But! Kind of like with those weird unboxing videos that were a hit back in the preschool years, my daughter is able to extract solid wisdom from this seemingly nutrient-free content with the help of a little critical thinking seeded by her parents. Back when we watched unboxing videos together (the ones by the nice Amy Jo lady, who is also not currently paying me for this valuable exposure), my daughter would take note that the toys unwrapped and tested in the videos were clearly junkier and less fun than they appeared in the TV commercials she'd seen at Grandma's house. Watching these videos actually sated my daughter's curiosity about what glorious and amazing surprises might lurk inside all of those "surprise" crappy plastic containers, and the reality check actually decreased her desire to buy all the things.

Similarly, the SIS vs. BRO kids are fun to watch doing their messy and wasteful projects, and my daughter has come to realize that watching them do these silly "experiments" virtually is often preferable to trying them out herself, in her own kitchen, which she must help to clean up afterward, because we don't have a staff of servants.

But what do we got? Lovin.' I say remember that. Here is my husband, standing behind my daughter while she watches her YouTube video, chopping vegetables in between his pre-dawn job and his daytime job. God I love him.

And my daughter is not just watching rich kids squeal over slime and bath bombs. Now that they've got her attention with those antics and she is convinced that they are the coolest ever, they have the power to pressure her into doing other things.

No, not like Momo things.

The kids have daily routine videos posted, showing how they get ready for school, get ready for bed, do chores, and other wholesome activities. They talk about their favorite foods, which include healthy produce my daughter hadn't yet been willing to taste. Like leafy greens!

Yesterday, my daughter not only ate a bunch of new-for-her vegetables, she took care of herself (getting up and ready in the morning, getting ready for bed in the evening) without being asked, and she asked me to write her up a list of chores to do. Lists of chores are cool! Karina does lists of chores, and she has 8.8 million YouTube followers, which is like half of the amount Ariana Grande has! OMG!!!

So here's my parenting advice for the day: Let your kid interact with and watch innocuous / potentially positive content online, particularly if it influences them to eat vegetables. Because Momo is fake, but the boring truth that eating your vegetables is one of the most important things you can ever do to live a healthy and happy and productive life is true, and will always be true.

Especially if those vegetables are home-cooked and shared with loved ones at mealtimes. Most of the time, we shut off and put away all the electronic devices at family dinners. Sometimes we don't. Who's keeping score anyway? My daughter eats spinach now.

In my humble opinion (which isn't that humble because I'm full of pride for my bright, loving, and joyful daughter), middle-class-and-specialer parents often get hoodwinked into worrying about the wrong things. We're so obsessed with avoiding horrors like screen time, sugar, and "chemicals" that we forget to focus on the positive and make sure we're getting enough quality time, fiber, and stomping-in-muddy-puddles. Take it from my Depression-era grandparents: Being deprived of what you need will kill you a lot quicker than consuming too much entertainment media.

For more unpopular, boring, and radically sensible views on parenting from the mom of a kid who is not a genius nor a prodigy nor an INDIGO or whatever but who is healthy, happy, helpful, and scoring at the top of her public school class, please enjoy my other posts tagged Middle Path Mother.


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