As a mom, you look forward to so many firsts: first smile,
first word, first “I love you.” First
candy binge was not on my list, but it’s coming. It’s coming fast.
Last Halloween, I took my almost 2-year-old daughter
trick-or-treating for the first time. She was dressed as Pebbles from The Flintstones, and I went as a tired
mommy. (We were both very convincing.) I’d
never given her candy before, and I didn’t really want to start. I think of sugar like alcohol—all kids are
going to try it eventually, I’d just rather it be later than sooner.
It turned out I had nothing to fear. With the spectacle of other kids’ costumes, leering
jack-o'-lanterns and elaborately decorated homes, there was so much for my
novice Halloweener to explore that candy didn’t even make her top 10. She looked at the little wrapped pieces
dropped in her plastic pumpkin bucket like they were collectibles, not
edibles. Just to be on the safe side, I
put her candy away before she had a chance to dig in. And by “away,” yes, I do
mean in my mouth.
This year, there’s no way I’m getting off that easy.
My daughter’s candy awakening began at her last doctor appointment. The pediatrician (really, doc?) offered up a lollipop—her first
ever—and since then, that’s all she talks about. She pretends crayons are lollipops. She
invents new lollipop flavors, like mashed potato (don’t pretend that doesn’t
sound good). She fantasizes about her
next lollipop encounter as if lollipops were crush-worthy boys.
I’m equally afraid of demonizing something that can then become an obsession.
Then came the first preschool bake sale. I couldn’t deny her a few treats. After all,
with every purchase, we were contributing to the school’s scholarship
fund. The candy dam pretty much burst at
that point, chocolate flowing everywhere.
And I feel bad about it.
I’m the mom—the gatekeeper between my child and unhealthy
stuff. Couldn’t I have held the
barricade a little longer? The problem
is, as fearful as I am of cavities, I’m equally afraid of demonizing something
that can then become an obsession.
I have a cousin who wasn’t allowed any candy growing
up. You know what she did every
weekend? Snuck through the woods to a
strip mall drugstore and used her allowance to go to town on a bag of Baby
Ruths. Nobody wants that to happen.