It was mid-afternoon yesterday and the thoughts typical of that hour started running through my mind. “Do we have anything in the house that’s chocolate? Or something not chocolate but sweet anyway? Homemade cookies? Hershey’s kisses? Marshmallows?”
That’s just what 2 p.m. is like for me most days.
Then I remembered something sweet that was in the house, something sweet and big. Holly’s trick-or-treat stash.
I checked the bottom shelf of the utility room fridge, the extra fridge that everyone but me forgets about. Inside of Holly’s black cloth Halloween-themed bag, it looked like the demolition site for the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel: a haphazard array of half-eaten candy bars, untouched pieces of chocolate, and empty wrappers, all resting on a sugary coating of semi-squashed gummy worms, Sweet Tarts and Sour Patch Kids.
Amidst the wreckage I found two untouched miniature Milky Ways. Even better, they were chilled. Perfect!
Halloween was ten days ago; I think it’s been five or six days since I saw Holly pay the slightest attention to her candy stash. Sure, the whole idea of trick-or-treating was exciting on Halloween night…but that was partly the cachet of walking from door to door in the dark, and the thrill of limitless possibilities when it came to gathering candy. Now that her caloric loot is assembled, she just doesn’t care that much. She and Tim – with whom she kindly shared, since he considers himself too old for trick-or-treating, and fortunately they have different tastes when it comes to candy – sorted through her bag when she first came home and each picked out a few favorites, but now it’s largely forgotten.
And this, really, is why Rick and I don’t go to great lengths to limit the kids’ sugar intake. They do it themselves. Oh, sure, they want candy…when it comes to picking out a singular snack at the general store after school on the way to afternoon activities. But their interest wanes quickly when I don’t work hard to make that happen. It’s the same with soda. On the one hand, I honestly find the thought of kids drinking soda rather repulsive, and I often repeat to Tim and Holly the statistic that soda is the number one contributor to childhood obesity. On the other hand, my kids consider a glass of soda a great treat at a party or special event, and the funny thing is that because they’re not used to it, they can’t even drink a whole glass of soda. They ask for it; I get credit for saying “Oh, it’s a special occasion, so I guess so….” And two ounces later they’re done. Easy.
So yesterday, I ate Holly’s two mini Milky Way bars without compunction. She’s unlikely to notice their absence, and her bag still contains plenty of Hershey bars and Almond Joys. But I can fairly reliably assume that she’s forgotten about Halloween candy altogether for this year. By the time she goes looking for it, I will have started our annual ritual of Christmas candy-making, and she can have a peanut butter ball or a square of fudge instead.
And if I’m wrong, and she asks in the next few days where her Milky Ways went? Well, in that case, I’ll simply resort t the most reliable system of all. I’ll blame it on Rick.