29 October 2009

Will you just get OVER yourself?

She was on there again this morning. The perky little bleached blonde dietician, who shows up on the news ever so often to preach moderation.

Oh, puh-leeze.

Know what her thing was today? Halloween candy. Halloween candy, kids and self-discipline. Like those three words had a DAMN thing to do with each other. She has a "plan," involving letting your child pick two favorite pieces a day. Or something equally ridiculous...and fast approaching child abuse, as far as I'm concerned.

One of the great joys of a huge bag of candy is...sorting it into piles. If The Little Kids do it once they do it a MILLION times...dump all their candy out into the floor and then, very carefully and with a master plan known only to each child, they sort it. Sometimes it's by color. Sometimes it's by size. Sometimes it's by type, or smell or theme. But this takes a LOT of work and a LOT of thinking and a LOT of fixing and rearranging. Sometimes, you have to eat a piece to make things even. Sometimes you have to trade a piece, in order to make YOUR pile or your COUSIN's pile look right.

And then after the lovin'...you put it all back into the bag in a jumble. So that, in a little while, you can do it again. Pour it all out. Sort it.

A digression...ten or 12 years ago, we were at a street festival in Fort Worth. The Nice Kid was about two. The weather was nice. The beer they were selling on the street was cold. The food was good. The music was GREAT. We were happy. And then, rounding a corner, we heard the gawdawfullest screaming EVER. I mean, there was a RACKET. And a crowd was gathering. Curious people, strolling up from the sidewalks and peering over each other's shoulders to see who was dying. Or being murdered. And standing there, in a doorway with her back to the street, was this child about six or seven (old enough to know EXACTLY what she was doing) screaming bloody...fucking...murder. Nerve-wracking, spine-tingling raucous NOISE, echoing off the the brick and concrete. And curious bystanders gathering by the dozens to see a street fight and instead seeing...an idiot parent.

Standing about three feet away from the child was a dad...over-starched khakis, sweater sleeves draped over his shoulders, TopSiders and a $300 haircut and he was holding up his wrist, looking at his Rolex. And every ten seconds or so he would say, "Now Suzy, only three more minutes in time-out!" And the kid would up the volume. While he stood there. "Now, Suzy, we must follow the rules. Only two minutes and 50 seconds in time-out!" And she'd get a little louder.

If there was EVER a time a kid needed a jerkin', that was it. She had him SO where she wanted him...and there was no doubt in that entire crowd's mind who was in charge. But, by George, that dad was following the book. No exceptions for circumstances or other people's ears or too much sugar or...whatever. "The Book Said..." So there he stood, looking like the world's biggest dumbass. While the snickering crowd was standing there thinking, "Just BEAT THE KID'S ASS and be done with it!" Sometimes? Common sense trumps The Book.

Halloween comes one time a year. It is as much about costumes and parties and trick or treating with your friends and pumpkins and lights, as it is about candy. The candy is nice but it is NOT the focus...unless some tight-ass parent makes it so.

Let them have it. Halloween will be on a Saturday this year. My kids will eat all they want Friday (trunk or treat at school) and Saturday. By Sunday? They'll be getting tired of it, the good stuff will be gone and, believe it or not, their bodies talk to them. They'll be having eggs for breakfast. I'll have a good dinner, and they'll be eating vegetables. We'll put a piece or two in their lunches for Monday. Monday night they'll eat a piece or two after dinner. Tuesday? I'll throw it away. Chunk the entire mess in the trash. And no one will notice for several days. When they DO, they'll be all "WHAT?" and I'll explain about ants or mold or something and...it will be over. That'll take care of it. Thanksgiving is coming and we're moving on to pilgrims and turkeys and The Big Kid's birthday and the rest of life and guess what?

Two days of candy didn't hurt ONE THING. Not one.

Forty-something years ago, The Big Boy's family was on vacation and they stopped at a Stuckey's. Someone let him buy a pecan log, that white nougat thing rolled in pecans. They got back in the car, he crawled into the back of the station wagon and...ate it. The entire log. And then? Threw up all over the cargo space. To this day? Hasn't touched another one.

For pete's sake...they're just kids. And I PROMISE you...nothing that happens to them as a result of over-eating candy for two days will have ANY lasting effect. Except for the memories...of the piles.

9 comments:

Comet Girl said...

Amen Sista!
I was at the mall a few weeks ago with my 4 year old princess. A boy was on the ground in front of the Shoe Dept. pitching a first class God Damnit fit. Screaming, kicking and swinging his arms. Princess and I couldn’t help but stop and stare as Grandma tried to calm the boy. Mom comes running out of the store, stands over the fit pitching kid and says “Here! Is this what you want?” and gives that boy CANDY!!!!! THAT boy needed a jerkin’! I asked Princess, “what do you get if you act like that?” she answered “a whipping”. I’m just sayin ;o)

Nancy said...

I couldn't agree more. I did the exact same thing as you do. In a couple of days it went in the trash - or Thanksgiving guests ate it. But it went on top of the refrigerator after about day three. To this day, neither of my daughters eat much candy. And they are still alive. Sheesh

lisat762 said...

Hear, hear! I couldn't agree more...with ALL of it!

Country Girl said...

Last weekend one of the kids did something and one of the parents threatened to "body slam" her. And the rest of us offered to cover the surveillance cameras!

City Girl said...

Umm.... My mother abided by the Two Piece Rule. And y'all KNOW how screwed up I turned out.

Case closed.

Expat From Hell said...

I loved this post! Halloween trick or treat bags? Hell! We used pillow cases. And started ramming down the candy while we were still canvassing the neighborhood. Mom did what she could with whatever we left behind, but it was always a candy orgy for at least three days. And, as you said, half the crap we weren't supposed to eat, we would usually hurl. And that stopped the madness - forever. Great work here!

EFH

Donna in AL said...

I agree, 3 days max of candy does not make a fatty! Let the kids be a kid and have fun!

I say beat their ass if they throw a fit! That does more good than the corner or a piece of candy.

Ambiance in the Attic said...

I agree! My son is 12 and will take his pillow case and get as much as he can! He'll eat as much as he wants for a few days then I'll throw the rest away.

helenkosings said...

I try to hit a happy medium: candy orgy for a couple of days then a piece a day for a good long while. They are KIDS, not little adults. When did parenting get to be a science project anyways? :::grumble, grumble,grumble:::