Saturday, March 9, 2013

that mom.

Tonight my sister offered to buy my son candy.

 I said no.

 In front of him.

Miraculously, we avoided a tantrum on a busy city street. Possibly because we were about to eat pizza and he'd just seen a movie. So really, he wasn't having a bad day. But, I realized: I'm THAT mom.

Today I bought the stuff for Daniel's birthday party goodie bags: pencils, erasers and little fake medals. No candy.  They are lucky I'm not planning on putting carrot sticks in there because I'm totally THAT MOM.

Today Lily got a "kid's meal" at a chain restaurant. She picked out chicken tenders, and got to choose applesauce or broccoli.  No fries, no chips, no free dessert.  She happily ate it all up and didn't complain.  A big win for That Mom.

My own mother was that kind of mom too. She made cookies with whole wheat flour and never, ever bought us candy except for 3 times a year (Easter- a chocolate bunny, Halloween -a plastic pumpkin full of junk, and a 1/2 a chocolate bar when we went to see the Nutcracker at Christmastime). It was the 80's after all... and she was a reformed hippie.  There was no Baby Gap. There was no Shake Shack. We wore hand-me-down Osh Kosh corduroy overalls and ate fig newtons and milk after school. There were no goodie bags; there were no "peanut free zones".  Now there is a designer candy shop across the street from our old house. A dark smelly old man penny candy shop it is not. They take credit cards.

Now it's my turn to be the mom who has strict limits on sugar and junk.  I never, ever buy my kids candy. (See here to read about what I have to say about non fair-trade chocolate.) We do have a stash of organic lollipops for "emergencies".  I'm not sure what kind of emergency we might need them for.... we've clearly never had one since the box has been in the cabinet for a year.  (Don't tell Lily!)

One of the reasons we don't buy candy or too many sweets is our own lack of will power. The kids go to bed early, and then it's just me, Andrew and that box of cookies.  Ever had those Trader Joes' cookies? (any of them?).  Yeah... we can't have those in the house.

Another good reason is that my kids' background means that their teeth are pretty weak. The human body has it's own little Darwinian system; during pre-natal and early childhood development if there is a shortage of resources the body will prioritize. Teeth are way down on the bottom the list of importance to the body.  Pre-natal nutrition and health is generally very poor in Ethiopia, and most young children do not get an adequate or consistent supply of calories or nutrients.  So both our children's teeth are already prone to infection, breakage and cavities. So far they've avoided major problems, but we have to be extra careful.

People just love to give kids candy. Or rather, people just love to give other people's children candy.  After all, they don't have to ride in the car all the way home with a toddler coming off a sugar high. They don't have to visit the dentist with them.  Lily comes home from school with birthday party goodie bags filled with sticky, chewy, crunchy sugary things.  It all goes in the garbage (while she's not looking). Then I give her the bag and say, "Look sweetie, your friend gave you a pencil!"  Soon I'll sneak some apple slices in it too.

Because I'm totally That Mom.

Photo taken at a party in which Lily kept getting candy and I kept throwing it out when she wasn't looking.
Sigh... Being That Mom is such hard work!

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