I happen to be a pretty laid back mom. I try to keep things pretty loose and happy (although they often end with me getting overwhelmed and yelling and then feeling like a big pile of poo). I have never been very concerned about things that my kids eat. I mean, they eat like I do -- whatever is relatively fast and easy. I do try to work in vegetables and fruit and limit the candy intake. And I am obsessive about teeth-brushing. But I have never been too concerned about soda intake. My kids drink soda at least 2-3 times a week, and sometimes more. It has never been a problem. My 9-year old had his first carbonated, caffeinated, beverage at about 18 months. I half expected him to go berserk and bounce off the walls, but he didn't. He just sucked on his straw and said "More!" Kid number 2 came along, and the same thing -- gave her soda, waited for impending meltdown, and nothing happened. I was thinking "Man, all of these people freaking out about kids and sugar are SOOOOOOO WRONG!! Sugar doesn't effect my kids AT ALL!!" I had witnessed my friends' kids go into sugar induced frenzies that rivaled the meth addicts I had seen on late night episodes on COPS. My kids were special. They could eat 2 cupcakes and guzzle a Dr. Pepper at a birthday party and fall asleep on the way home 30 minutes later. I was certain that my kids had some sort of super gene that allowed them to be unaffected by sugar and caffeine. It was like a super-power.
When kid number 3 came along, I assumed that the trend would continue. But Lorelei was different from most kids -- and when she was younger, she had chronic tonsillitis and ear infections so I don't think that ANY amount of stimulants would have perked her up. Then Jackson came along, and Lorelei had her tonsils taken out. And here's one of the problems with having 4 kids: you HAVE to be consistent in the way that you treat them and what they are allowed to do because they notice the inconsistencies. So if William and Bella could have sugary-brown-goodness in the form of sodas, then Lorelei and Jackson wanted the same.
I soon discovered that these 2 younger children did NOT have the super-power gene. In fact, they appeared to have some mutated gene that caused complete irrational behavior accompanied by rotten attitudes and violent mood swings when it encountered sugar in their systems. (I really would need Allie from Hyperbole and a Half to properly illustrate this, but if you read her "God of Cake" post and take note of the drawings, you will get the general idea). As amusing as it is to see a 2 and 4 year old ping around the house like pin-balls every once and awhile, and as entertaining as conversations with them can be during these periods, I have decided that this is just simply not going to work. I had hoped to possibly build their resistance to sugar by keeping it as a regular component of their diets, but this hypothesis has proven to be a complete failure, and now I have created 2 little sugar fiends. This is a typical morning conversation at our house:
Me: Guys, what do you want for breakfast?
Jackson: I want CANDY!!!!
Me: You CANNOT have candy for breakfast. How about some cereal or a bagel?
Jackson: Can I have a lollipop?
Me: No. Lollipops are candy, and you CANNOT have candy for breakfast.
Lorelei: Can we have candy AFTER breakfast?
Lorelei: When do we get candy then?
Me: I don't know, but right now we are talking about breakfast, so what do you want for breakfast?
Lorelei: Can I have Dr. Pepper?
Me: No, you CANNOT have Dr. Pepper with breakfast. Would you like some milk?
Lorelei: Can I have chocolate in it?
Both: (Chanting and jumping around in circles) Chocolate milk! Chocolate milk! Chocolate milk!
Repeat this conversation for both lunch and dinner, as well as for any snacks, and you will get a rough idea of what a typical day of feeding these two is like.
They are both also incredibly gifted when it comes to ferreting out candy that may be hidden somewhere in the house, and they work as a team to get it. It is not at all unusual to find the chair from the dining table in front of the fridge with a stool perched precariously on top while they try to get to the candy bowl on top of the fridge. They have perfected this to the point that in the 3 minutes it takes me to go pee, they can easily be standing on their impromptu ladder and stretching their grubby little hands over the edge of the bowl before I get back. And I have learned that any candy I get for MYSELF needs to be hidden extra well because there is something about the fact that it is MY candy that makes it extra appealing to them. Jackson once found my stash of Rolos (which was in a shoebox under my bed that he had never seen) and while I was in the shower, the 2 of them ate over half a bag. I now hide my candy in the medicine cabinet behind the nebulizer. They HATE the medicine cabinet (with the exception of the Band-Aids, which is an entirely different post) so I am pretty sure that my Rolos are safe.
Next time I feel up to being entertained by giving them a sugar-fix, I will be sure to video it and post it here.