Long time no blog, my lovely poops. So sorry I’ve been off the grid since Wednesday! I had some technical difficulties, then Blogger had some of their own and then my mother-in-law was in town visiting and well, sometimes that’s life. I apologize for leaving you without a MOMtra these past few days. I promise I’ll make it up to you this week. You should always feel free, however, to go back through my old posts and find one you liked and practice it again. You can never have too much MOMtra in your lives!!! But here I am once again. I’m back online and I missed you! Hope everyone had a great weekend, and for you local poops, I sure hope we can clinch the series! And even if the outcome doesn’t go our way…Albert Pujols is the man!
Now, onto the pressing question in the title above. I think I hear this one more than anything else lately and frankly, poopies, it’s starting to drive me crazy. I don’t know if it’s freakin’ Halloween, A’s birthday extravaganza last week or the fact that my kids are becoming more saavy about sweets (and more demanding and persistent), but all I hear are requests that often lapse into begging for one more of this or one more of that. I get it, I get it, I get it…yes, candy is fun and cake is fun and it’s all part of being a kid, and everything in moderation, blah blah blah, yada yada yada. But, seriously, I feel like lately enough is enough! I think somewhere in the past few weeks we’ve crossed over from moderation and have moved straight into potential cavity territory! And, if I’m really honest, it’s one hundred-percent all my fault!
Note to Poopie Nana: you may not want to read any further. Like the blog says, I keep it real and sometimes that means diggin’ up the past in order to work on my present and future.
As a mom, I do things a little differently from my own mother – especially when it comes to sweets and food. When I was a kid, there weren’t a lot of sweets in the house. I remember getting Oreos sometimes in my lunchbox and I remember the occasional pint of chocolate mint chip ice cream in the freezer and making rice kripsy treats a few times over the years. And I recall getting chocolate after having stitches sewn into my eyebrow. But overall, we weren’t much of a treats/dessert household all year long. You didn’t walk into our house and smell something delicious baking in the oven (maybe that’s why I’m fixated with those cookie-scented candles!) My mom wasn’t exactly a culinary master in the kitchen or a skilled baker. She did her best and made what she could, but it just wasn’t her thing. And perhaps that was for the best. For the most part, I’m a healthy eater. Or at least I know how to eat very healthy, but just don’t always make healthy choices. But, one thing I’ve had for most of my adult life is a major sweet tooth. And over these many years I’ve come to learn, that it’s not just a physical craving, but it actually fulfills a childhood desire to indulge in something that was often forbidden and unavailable to me.
Sounds ridiculous to you? Maybe. But it’s very real to me. I actually have very specific memories of my first semester at college when I was away from the watchful eye of my parents and remember feeling this incredible sense of freedom about the eating choices I could make. I used to stop at the 7-11 on campus and pick-up M & M’s or a Three Musketeer bar in the middle of the day just because I could. Or I would order pizza to my dorm room or sorority house and there was no one to stop me and say that’s not such a good idea. There was something so novel and liberating about being able to do this finally, being able to treat myself to whatever I wanted. I remember when I was younger and away at summer camp, all my bunk-mates’ moms would send them these fantastic care packages with tons of candy and goodies inside. They would always share their treats with me because if I did get maybe one or two packages throughout the summer, they wouldn’t have anything sweet or delectable in them. It’s crazy the things that stick with you from childhood, but I’m always trying to be as honest as I can with you all and myself, and this truly has stuck with me. This feeling like my mom was missing that indulgent “goodie” gene. And everyone else around me somehow had it and I wanted it too.
And so, like with many other things, I am just the opposite with my kids. I love picking up sweets for them and seeing their grins when I surprise them with a lollipop or a trip to the ice cream parlor or tell them we’re baking cookies or cupcakes after school. I let them pick-out dessert for the week at the grocery store that they can take in their lunch bags and something sweet they may have after dinner each night. I love allowing them to partake in that part of their childhood where a treat can literally possess magic powers and brighten their day or distract from their boo boo’s or make that shot they just got at the doctor feel better. I think the fact that I don’t have many “sweet” memories as a kid contributes to why I may go a little bit overboard now. But, as I was looking around my kitchen last night, I started to realize that our treat consumption has gone too far. I’ve taken my desire to make the girls happy through my own “goodie” gene to the extreme. I took inventory last night of what is currently in our house and the list kind of made me sick:
- oreo cakesters
- fruit snacks
- Halloween cookie cake
- mini reeses peanut butter cups
- mini three musketeer bars
- cupcakes from a’s birthday
- Halloween oreos
- mini boxes of Nerds
- tootsie rolls
And Halloween isn’t until next Monday!!!!
Poops here has taken this childhood sweet tooth fantasy and turned it into a potential caloric and dental nightmare. My girls are definitely good eaters, in that they always have a fruit and vegetable with each meal, even if there isn’t a lot of variety yet in their entrees. We’re like a lot of American households – chicken nuggets, hot dogs, mac & cheese etc. But, now that they are getting a little bit older, I think a reduction in the sweets department is a necessity. They’ve always gotten good reports from the dentist, but if I keep this up, one day soon they may not. Not to mention that their adorable little bodies may not end up being so little! They’ve come to expect a dessert every night after dinner and they know they’ll get one in their lunch everyday. And then even after that, I always get the inevitable title question from today’s blog: Please, please, please, Mommy, can we have just one more? I’ve created treat monsters and it’s time to ween them off the sweets.
I have to find a middle-ground between the longing I felt in my childhood and what I know is ultimately best for my kids in theirs. So, how do I achieve this? Well, first of all, it starts with me. I need to stop bringing home all the junk. I saw that cute cookie cake at the grocery store with the pumpkin’s face all made out of icing and I thought to myself: oh, A & D will love that! So cute for Halloween! Yes, cute. But they don’t need every last adorable thing you see at the bakery, Poopie! And I need to start making them realize that dessert isn’t something you should have every single day – that it’s something to partake in every once in awhile and that by not eating sweets daily you’ll actually appreciate them more when you do have them. Ugh. This is gonna be hard. What 3 and 5 year-old wants to hear that? I already feel like the “debbie downer” mom who’s making my kids leave the party early. Of all the things with parenting, this should be a piece of cake (no pun intended!) And yet I really find myself struggling with saying no to one more cookie or no to the fruit snacks after school. I want them to be able to enjoy the sweets in life and not run off to the 7-11 at college like I did because they felt this was denied in their childhood. I’m sure I’ll screw them up in other ways and they’ll have residual issues about other things I’ve done!
I am able to impart smart, strong discipline to them in regard to so many other things, but in this area, poops here still needs some work. Part of me knows that it’s not a good idea to indulge them this often, but there’s another part of me, the child inside of me, that says, don’t worry, it’s not harmful, they won’t always want sweets as they get older, they’ll make good eating choices, let them have their fun now while it’s okay. But when does it not become okay? Is today already too late? Should I have said enough is enough already? Should we go cold turkey right after Halloween? Poops, I need your help on this one. May not sound like one of the more important topics I’ve covered, but I promise you, this is really on my mind and not such a little thing for our family.
Just this afternoon when I had to run to the store again for milk, I eyed the Cardinal Baseball-decorated cookies and almost picked them-up thinking how cute it would be to let the girls eat our beloved team’s cookies while we cheer them on during Game 5! Jeez. It’s like an involuntary impulse! Help!!!!