Turning off of the interstate today to pick up some lunch for the kids I headed down the street with a Subway to my right and McDonald’s on my left. I was steeling myself for the debate regarding sustenance of choice when SuperBoy piped up in the back seat: “Can we go to Subway? My tummy feels better when we eat there, I don’t really like McDonald’s anymore…” reeling from the shock I hear SuperGirl pipe up “Yeah, me too!”
To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.
As we picked out our sandwiches and the kids asked to go and pick out apples while I refilled their water cups…. I was thrilled with their decisions. Decisions that I will allow myself to take partial credit for because while we have had the flat burger meal on occasion, I have made a conscious effort to discuss healthy choices with them…to limit their intake of sugar and gross processed foods and I have spent time talking with them about how their bodies feel after they eat!
Your tummy feels yucky? Do you think you ate too much sugar? Maybe next time you should try an apple instead of a cookie. Do you think you are really hungry for a snack? When was the last time you had a glass of water? Did you know that your body can feel hungry when it really just needs more water?
I’m hearing some of these things echoed back to me around the house…and now I’m seeing it in their actions!
While the kids making the choice to dine and one establishment over another is a Little Thing, seeing an essential piece of my parenting efforts come to fruition most certainly is not.
Ok, that is a little dramatic I’ll admit…. but I’ve had it brewing in my head for a few days and it took on a life of its own.
When I was pregnant with SuperBoy I did all of the appropriate reading…and then I read like a million more things on top of that. I carefully dissected each thing I read and then very carefully molded a parenting plan to be rivaled by no other.
Anyone reading this who has children knows at this point how laughable that is. Downright hysterical, actually. Parenting plans and the entire list of “I Will Never”s went out the window rather quickly….by the time I was pregnant with SuperGirl and introduced SuperBoy to television in a desperate attempt to buy time to recover from morning sickness…. I was well on my way down the slippery slope to parental ruin.
The one thing I was adamant about with SuperBoy was sugar. Or rather, the lack of it processed and in his diet. He had no cookies, he had no candy. No frosting or cupcakes. No Oreos, no popsicles and yes, no Birthday Cake. I baked him a cake so healthy Jamie Oliver would be proud.
I managed to keep the sugar out of his diet until he turned 3 years old. The philosophy behind my madness was this: If you do not introduce processed sugar to children until they are old enough to recognize and label how they feel when they eat it…. they will be able to more easily identify when they have had enough and they will be more able to self regulate.
Sounds fantastic, right? Turns out…at least in our case….it’s true.
When SuperBoy started noshing on cookies and ice cream at age 3 … it was increasingly difficult to keep it away from 1 year old SuperGirl. She had an Honest to God, sugar infused Birthday Cake for her 1st Birthday…. and although they were introduced slowly…she was full sugars by the time she was 2years old.
Enter SuperBaby. I have had little or no control over the sugar in this child’s life.
Okay, okay….again with the drama…
I have control over the sugar in his life. I’m just saying that with two older siblings who drool out sugar in front of him… it has been more difficult for me to stay strong and true to the cause. He had his first processed sugar by way of cookie before he even hit 1 year old.
Now…back to my theory:
SuperBoy is very aware of the effects of sugar on his body. He does not like the way he feels when he has had enough and I can only remember one time when he didn’t walk away when he was “full” or started to feel the ill effects of sugar on his body. He has no problem stepping back from an unfinished ice cream cone or cupcake and will
often sometimes turn down cookies all together.
SuperGirl loooooves the sugar. She will eat until you take it away…but gives it up willingly. There is no arguing and she understands that it is time to stop, she just lacks the will power to do it on her own. She requests “treats” on a more than average basis…but handles the rejection well.
SuperBaby is a disaster. If this child sees candy, Rice Krispies Treats, ice cream, etc, etc, etc …. he goes into full out obsessive freak mode. He points, he yells, he pulls out all of the stops and cries crocodile tears from those big, beautiful eyes.
All for a Tootsie Roll.
So as I let the sugar into our lives…it slowly worked its rot and decay on my worth as a parent…at least on the front line of defense against childhood obesity, low test scores and general apathy towards the world.
Add it to the list of “Best Laid Plans” and “Good Intentions”.