My Secret Sweet Tooth, by Deb Meredith

mcoleheadshotChocolate. Toffee. Jelly beans. Gummy Bears. Okay, I admit it. I’m a candy fiend. I have a hard time walking past candy without taking at least one (or two). But at least I feel guilty about it.

I gave Lydia in Posed for Murder a little secret sweet tooth, too. She likes butter rum lifesavers, and always keeps a stash in her purse. And she likes canoli–enough for her boss’ mother, Mama D’Angelo, to bribe Lydia with a few so she’ll help her out.

I try to show my son how healthy people eat. And since I regularly eat a lot of vegetables, beans, rice, fish, etc., it’s not too hard. But he inherited my sweet tooth, and I wish he hadn’t. I inherited mine from my English dad who always had a bag of gumdrops in the side table next to his bed, and I wish I hadn’t either.

Trick-or-Treating at Halloween, I’m now convinced, was invented by the candy companies so that kids would learn what brands to beg for at the grocery store. The fact that my kid’s teacher gives them candy when they’re good doesn’t help either. My son now loves all kinds of candy.

Instead of letting him eat his Halloween stash until he’s sick, we limit the sweets and fight over it for weeks. And as soon as it’s almost gone, he gets some from school or a birthday party, or suddenly it’s almost Christmas. And then it’s on to the next battle.

Recently some doctors tested the theory that kids are more hyper after consuming sugar. And found that they aren’t. But if parents were told a kid had consumed sugar (whether they had or not) they perceived them as more hyper. True or false? I know what I think. Sugar makes me buzz, and it makes him buzz, too.

So if it’s not hyperactivity or the threat of diabetes, I will at least point out the danger of cavities. My son has had 3 perfect dentist visits so far, and a friend who let her daughter suck on lollipops all the time found two cavities before her daughter was five.

So the battle rages on. And I consume my own guilty pleasures after he’s tucked into bed. He’ll thank me later for making sure he is so healthy. But maybe one of these days he’ll smell chocolate on my breath and I’ll be busted!

11 Replies to “My Secret Sweet Tooth, by Deb Meredith”

  1. Meredith, this is so familiar to me! Not just candy but junk food in general. I, too, (mostly) save my consumption of junk for post-kid-bedtime (this is probably also bad for my metabolism) and it’s actually crossed my mind that someday he’ll stay up as late or later than me! When will I eat my junk then?

    Oh yeah, I work at home, where no one can see me snack…. Hmm. I’m hungry.

  2. Hi Meredith,
    what a sweet blog! (And since I also have young children, I think that pun was intended)
    Grammy Pat gave our kids a treat box at Halloween. It looks like a spell book and when you open it up it says things like “Want some candy?” So we dump all of the candy in there and then the kids get to open it once a day after dinner. Really, the box is for me. I’m much less likely to open the box if it is talking and telling everyone what I am doing.

  3. I never knew how hard it would be to “set an example” when I became a parent, Kris! It’s kind of funny to worry about your kids catching you at night…

    Katie-I think I need that treat box! I think I would be less likely to sneak a treat, too…

  4. My daughter has had just one tiny cavity that took all of thirty seconds to cover over. Since then we weaned her from fruit juice to mainly water and her next check ups were great.

  5. The juice is a killer! I’m glad the filling process wasn’t too terrible or terrorizing. My son had a hard enough time sitting still for the cleaning process, I can’t imagine what it would be like for a long or painful filling…

  6. Not sure if you’ll all like this, but they’ve done studies that show it’s better (dental hygiene-wise) to let the kids gobble down all the Halloween candy at once – followed by some serious tooth-brushing, then to dole it out bit by bit over a longer period of time. Same holds true for letting the kids drink down their glass of juice – all at once – rather than walking around for hours with a juice box of sippy cup. Here’s the thing, it’s the constant “bathing” of the teeth with the sugar/saliva enzyme mixture that breaks down the teeth and causes cavities. Better to have shorter exposures than to prolong that. And those gummy fruit chews and even raisins are killers in terms of cavities.

    Did you know I was a Head Start Health & Nutrition Manager in my previous life?

  7. I’ve heard that, Eve, about the sipping of juice and nibbling of candy. Though, in my case, rationing the candy means less overall because eventually, believe it or not, he gets kind of tired of it and forgets to ask about it. (I also don’t keep it in plain sight.) I end up throwing away a whole bunch after every major sweet-filled holiday.

    My son has had fillings, too (despite my vigilance! also, granola bars are bad because they’re sticky, who knew?) and it was surprisingly not horrible. Of course, my husband took him because I’m a dentist weenie.

  8. Larramie–I know, I was shocked, too! I guess they’ll try anything to get kids to behave…

    Eve–that’s good advice. He usually gets a treat for his desert right before toothbrushing and bed, and we honestly don’t have to fight about it most of the day because we’re all out doing stuff. I just wish the candy was out of my house…

  9. My daughter’s school is a “healthy food only zone.” It’s great. The kids get organic fruit every day for snack, and they’re not allowed candy, cookies, or other junk. So for birthdays, people bring healthy things. I’ve noticed a change in her eating habits and she’s becoming very aware of healthy versus not healthy. I mean, she still loves candy, but she’s learning how to self-regulate. Wait. Maybe I need to go to that school.

  10. I thought cavities were partly genetic! Hmm. In which case, my future children are screwed.

    I have a horrible sweet tooth, too, Meredith. I’ve started to train myself away from it, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t have to eat something sugary. 100-calorie packs have been my salvation.

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