Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kids on Crack and Other Spooky Thoughts

My note to the bank teller says, “This is not a ransom note. I just want to request that you PLEEZE not mention the L word in front of my child. He doesn’t want a lollipop, doesn’t need a lollipop, and doesn’t even know what one is, despite your repeated attempts to destroy his body and his innocence every time I come to the bank.”

I know, it seems extreme, perhaps even ridiculous, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and this whole idea of propelling a dumb tradition just for nostalgia’s sake is corrupting our children. Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions.

My little boy is just over two, and so far I have managed to avoid any candy in his diet. Heretofore he has been blissfully ignorant of it. Even when there was a piñata at a friend’s birthday party last month, I found myself giving in, showing him to pick up pieces of candy and put them into the little bag we had. He dumped them back on the ground. And I was happy to leave them there. He seemed not to show one sugar fleck of interest in the little foil wrapped prizes. I was relieved, a bit prideful, while at the same time looking around at the cast of candy hoarding kids stuffing their bags full and realizing that our time with this phase was dwindling fast.

Now I’m looking at the plastic pumpkin candy bowl with a handle I bought him two days ago for Trick or Treating tomorrow. I’m watching him run around with it, crying “Happy Halloween.” He sure is a fast learner. But how can he not be, when everything in our culture has been programming him for the spooky fun kid’s holiday all month long, from the crafts in his playgroup to the discussions on Sprout to the shelves front and center at the supermarket stuffed with big fat bags of bite size candy.

I’m wondering how I’m going to handle the impending transgression in my parenting principals. The early indoctrination of his little body to this wicked shit that, once he gets his first lick, his first chomp, he'll want, and pine for, and b-line toward at every glimpsed opportunity.

I know many of you seasoned parents of older kids are thinking, “Lighten up.” I guess I have that voice in MY head, too… It’s the one that told me to buy him the pumpkin for his skip-to-ma-loo trip to corruption. But I have scars, I tell you. When I was pregnant with my little boy I was the substitute teacher for a kindergarden class on Valentine’s Day. A big party was planned, with the parents all bringing in treats to contribute. aApparently no restrictions were made on what they were to bring, and by eleven a.m. I had a room full of five year olds high on Fun Dip. If you aren’t privy to the wonders of Fun Dip, it is colored sugar in a pouch, with a dipping stick made out of sugar with which to eat it. After lunch the wildest ones were writing FUN DIP on the blackboard, chanting the name as if they could summon its spirit, stomping around the room in a frenzy of adulation and crashing like a roomful of burning stars.

I had the headache of my life when I got home that day. It was by far one of the most colorful and memorable days of my teaching life, but not in a good way.

The fact that I have an advancing digestive condition of my own, my tricky and sometimes scary and potentially fatal diverticulitis, adds to my concerns about bringing the candy in the house. I don’t want my kid to end up like me. And if I end up eating the candy, which I am likely to do unless it is locked away in the safe, I could bring on another one of these attacks that leaves me breathless and puking and with the overall feeling that I am going to die.

But yes, we have that handled pumpkin. The festivities are expected to commence. Our plan is to let him have his American Trick or Treating experience. We would be such cads of we didn’t partake.

We plan to take control of the junk and dispense it very sparingly.

Heeeeeeehheeeeeeheeeee. The last spooky witchy cackle will be on me.

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