A Sugar Affair

It’s officially our first day of summer break and so far, Parker is sleeping in! I have to add that it’s only 7:18 am but for him, this is sleeping in. It’s probably due to the crazy busy week that we’ve had, which included an awesome birthday party last night, followed by some Yatzee Jr. and Spiderman.

The birthday party, of course, had tons of goodies for the kids (and, ahem, adults) to enjoy but the one thing that Parker seemed the most interested in was the candy. Now this should come as no surprise to me since I could give up every other type of food for the rest of my life, minus sweets. I have dreamed about making the ultra healthy sacrifice of giving up sugar for good, but I can’t get past the fact that sweets create the illusion of happiness in my brain. My all time favorite candy (and possibly favorite treat, period) are the beautifully dainty and delicious Swedish Fish. I cant get enough of these little guys – and it doesn’t help that I now have an excuse to choose these for a treat. After reading Eat This, Not That, my aunt shared an excerpt from the book, exclaiming something along the lines of “When it comes to candy, nothing is better (for you?) than the fish from Sweden.” I literally hear this quote read in my mind anytime I’m craving Swedish Fish. Anyway, thinking about never eating a little red fish for the rest of my life actually makes me sad. You see, growing up, one of my favorite things to do was hang at the public pool all summer long. Once I was old enough, I became a lifeguard and worked at the public pool all summer long. I have a lot of really great memories from that place. Most of which also include Swedish Fish. They sold them in the concession stand there – 2 cents a piece! Anytime I went to the pool (which, like I said, was a lot), I treated myself to Swedish Fish. I don’t even remember ever eating them before I started going to the pool, so the little red fish is tied to all of those good memories. This means that now, every time that I taste that yummy fruitiness, my brain creates the sense of happiness; and a childlike happiness, at that. The same rings true of ice cream (who doesn’t have a thousand great childhood memories that include ice cream), and cookies (baking them at Christmas time with Mammy) and cake (the gum ball machine cake that I had wanted every single birthday from 4 to 8 and finally got at 16). So clearly, I have a pretty strong addiction, or perhaps more along the lines of a love affair, with sugar.

I do have semi control over the sugar situation nowadays though. I don’t keep sweets in my house much and usually, if I do indulge, it’s after the boys are in bed so that they don’t partake (believe me, I know this is sick. I tell myself that I am doing it for the boys’ sake but really, it’s just so that I don’t have to share!) I don’t have a no sugar policy enforced with Parker and Theo but they don’t have sugar on a daily basis. They are definitely more deprived than I was as a child which I do in order to help them create healthy eating habits. But seeing Parker chowing down on the Twizzlers last night, and then sneaking another one after I told him to slow down with it, made me wonder if I was creating an adverse reaction to the very little sugar diet.

So the latest parenting question running through my mind is what are the effects of “heavily monitoring” what a child eats? On one hand I know that every single dietitian/rule of human nature states that what one can not have, one will want – but on the other hand, I was never told that I couldn’t have something and I still wanted it just as much as the deprived kid.

Maybe Parker’s just like I am. Maybe he just gets happy when the sugar chemicals enter his body. Maybe he’s just like every other kid who loves candy. Maybe he’s just like every other kid who loves to defy their parents. All I know is that, as of late,  a new word has entered into Theo’s vocabulary.



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