Rule #1: Never take candy from strangers! We drill this, along with it’s corollary “Never get into an unmarked van”, into our kids from pregnancy on (what? I watched a lot of Law & Order: SVU when I was gestating.) and yet I find strangers offering my kids candy at every turn. And they take it! While I stand there and watch! I blame the bank.
Every time I roll up to the drive-thru window in my sweet minivan, the teller chirps, “And how many helpers do we have today?” while brandishing a bucket of suckers. It used to be that I’d only let them have the treat if they were actually being helpers and not terrorists per their usual but then my eldest figured out he could write a sign that says, “4 sukrs plees!” and hold it up to the window. The tellers are so charmed they practically pelt us with dum-dums.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just the bank but it seems like treat-proffering people are everywhere. My local grocery store gives away free “kid’s cookies” at the bakery. My pediatrician hands out ice pops after immunizations. Their Sunday school teacher brings bags of mini Snickers. The hair-cutting salon lets them watch a movie and gives them a Blow Pop. (Haircuts + Blow Pops = Hair Pops. Ew.) Even the school nurse, the same one who has to teach the nutrition lectures, has a bowl of candy on her desk. No wonder my son comes up with a “tummy ache” every day around 2 p.m. At least my dentist sticks to small toys.
I get it: sugar makes little kids happy and therefore easier to deal with. But it’s a short-term solution to a problem that goes far beyond stranger danger. For one thing, too much sugar turns my kids into little monsters. Second, they now expect treats just for showing up everywhere we go. And third, there’s that whole health thing. I try not to be crazy about it but when I have to run 3 errands in a row, all that junk accumulates. Besides, what kind of mixed messages am I sending? My children are either going to grow up to have weird guilt issues every time they take an after-dinner mint or they’re going to ask the kidnapper in the van if he can cash a post-dated check.
All this makes me act in a haphazard way. Sometimes I let them have it. Sometimes I play the “I’m the mom and I say no!” card and refuse it. And then sometimes I put it in my purse to use to bribe them with later. (Or eat myself. Whatever.)
Anyone else notice this phenomon? I swear it wasn’t like this when I was a kid. Help me out – how do you deal with the abundance of free treats everywhere, both for yourself and if you have kids?
Excerpted from my post for Redbook – click through to take their poll
Also from me this week:
10 Things You Can’t Wear After You Have Children. It was meant to be funny and tongue-in-cheek. It seems most of the commenters missed the humor. Ah well.
Has the TSA Met Its Match in My Children? Three light sabers say yes.