It happened. My child has been exposed. She experienced the taste of sin. A drug she will battle with, and probably abuse many times. And I am not talking black tar heroin, because we already kicked that habit when she was 18-months. I am talking about sugar.
It started innocently enough. With an organic, vegan, gluten-free, coconut Popsicle my mom gave her. The Munch’s unpolluted mind had never even heard such words as cake, candy, or cookies. But the more she started to understand the world around her, the harder it became to lie about what things were. She started to look at me with doubt when I insisted that a lollipop was made of fairy skin.
A birthday cake was the gateway drug. My friend’s husband offered her a piece. I almost refused. I was this close from convincing The Munch that cake was bread with barf spread on top of it. But it was for free, and he insisted she have a taste. I figured it was a special occasion, and let her live on the wild side. How often does one go to birthday parties? It turns out, quite a lot. Now all she cares about at these stupid parties is the cake. It doesn’t even matter whose party it is.
I think I was the one who gave her the first cookie. But it wasn’t my fault. I was tired, weak, and had my guard down. I didn’t have it in me to fight against her wrath. She manipulated me. And now she knows not only that cookies are fucking delicious, but also what they look like. This makes going to a store very complicated because she understands that round circles with black dots means that shit is good.
The ice cream happened with her babysitter… the candy too. Now The Munch is fully aware just how tasty sugar is. The only things I have been able to keep from her are chocolate bars. I told her they were “Mamma crackers” and made out of cat poop.
Maybe it is not a big deal? Sugar is a part of life and if I deprive her totally I will only make the forbidden more seductive. But it is not good for the immune system. It doesn’t contribute anyway to her her health. And even if its organic treats she is getting, it doesn’t mean its good for her (although I tell myself that organic ice cream happens to be great for me).
I am trying not to care too much. To realize that finding a balance is part of parenting and if I am too controlling about what The Munch eats I could give her a complex. But her naivety made my life so much easier. She was totally oblivious to the temptation. The Munch’s ignorance protected her from feeling the disappointment of lacking – or maybe more important it protected me from her. Now she knows what she is missing when I say. “no you can’t have that.” The subsequent distress, frustration, horror, and tantrum that follow are because she can taste the vacuum of what could have been.
Sugar is the first drug children are exposed to. It has an addictive quality, and also makes you feel high. The rush. The hyper manic energy that makes you want to punch a cat in the face. And then of course the crash, that leads into the depression of being without, that eventually morphs into then the desperate searching for your next fix. And like the need for drugs, kids will do anything to get their sweets. Including scream in your face, embarrass you at stores, and weep uncontrollably while shaking in the corner.
“Hey Mamma! This doesn’t taste like fairy flesh?!”