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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Accidental Sugar Experiment

Abby ate 3 cupcakes and two brownies on Saturday.  Oy.

From the day my daughter tasted solid food for the very first time, she was a mother's dream.  As a toddler she would choose an apple over candy, water over juice,  every day of the week.  She would gobble up grape tomatoes and baby carrots and cucumber slices with a fervor I can only describe as freakish.  She didn't seem to enjoy the few treats she was offered (cake at a birthday party, for example).

Until school.

Our day Saturday was planned to the gills and we had not time nor patience for a kid with an attitude.  (Mistake on our part, #1).  Abby's a good kid who generally abides by the rules, even though she is every bit an almost- seven year old girl.  And the morning was fine.  She slept until 8:15 after being allowed to stay up late the night before, played until late morning, when it was time to leave for a softball game.  She played the game well and was even focused enough on the coach's instructions to get a hit and score and run (she isn't exactly the best batter yet).  When the game ended, her coach busted out the after-game snack which was a big tray of cupcakes to be shared between the two teams.  Jack was in a bit of a needing-a-nap meltdown, so I left the field with him,  leaving Abby there with her father and the team.(Mistake #2; keep reading)

Abigail's father is a self-described junk food addict.  He loves to see the faces of both kids when they taste their first [marshmallow; jelly bean; french fry; gumdrop; chocolate; cheese doodle; insert any other kind of junk you can think of here].  A little bit, in moderation....fine.  Abby & Chris arrived home from the field and a majorly jacked up Abby screamed about how she has eaten not one, but TWO cupcakes.  Before lunch.  Which was on the table waiting for her.  Oy.

And so the behavior began.  She ate her lunch, and then we went upstairs to get her ready for her cousin's birthday party.  It was little things:  not paying attention to me so that I had to repeat myself, not following directions  about very simple things like putting the laundry in the hamper or being quiet because her brother was sleeping.  When we came downstairs, and as we were packing everyone & everything up to leave, it continued for her father.

Fast-forward to a couple of hours later, after a party and carbohydrate overload (bread, pretzels and chips, and macaroni salad) as well as the requisite birthday cake & ice cream (Mistakes 3-9), and she was a a royal holy freaking bat-terror.  Like I kid I had never met before.

As the party emptied out, I went outside to ask her to please stop playing in the water sprinklers, so she could start drying off to go home. I ran back inside the house to get her a towel, got caught up in a conversation with someone for a few minutes and when I got outside, there she was....running through the sprinklers again.  Blatant defiance. 

Now I don't consider myself to be a parenting hard-ass, but there are two things we do not tolerate.  Blatant defiance is one of them.  When I confronted her, she told me that "she forgot" I asked not to play in the water anymore.  This is the same kid who can tell me what I made for dinner the second Thursday in January, 2006.  Forgetting is not in her repertoire.  I was already mad, and now she was going to add lying to the mix. (Remember the TWO things we don't tolerate?  Lying is the other thing).

It was a long, quiet ride home that night.  Chris & I were furious, but mostly puzzled, about who this awful misbehaving child was.

The kids went to bed and Chris & I got a few minutes to reflect on it all, when it hit me.

Sunday was slow, quiet, restful, nourishing, and most importantly, sugar and fake-food free.  Guess who came home?  Our sweet almost seven year old.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I've had this same experience with my 3-year-old. We just got back from vacation where there was tons of cookies, cake, sugar cereal and white bread. Guess what she ate?

    She came home and Daddy offered to make her some chicken and she ate it happily. I really think the key is just getting that white flour/sugar-filled junk out of the house. We can't have it here at all -- or she will beg for it.

    But yeah, when you're traveling or at parties or the kids are in school, it's tough.