Friday, October 09, 2009

As Halloween approaches, a reason to be Thankful...

Halloween is always tough around here.
For oldest, no dye, no dairy, no gluten. Not much sense in trick or treating!
For youngest, it used to be no nuts, but this year it's no dye (and she passed the peanut challenge! Yay! Although she claims they still smell disgusting.)
Really, there aren't all THAT many options out there.

Of course, the kids made do. And adore our yearly ritual of sorting out the candy into safe piles, and then into piles by type. Then we trade in the junk for safe candy and cheap part favors. This year, they even want to use it in experiments. (As in, how long does it take a skittle to dissolve? An M&M? Jolly Rancher?)

We even have a yearly outing to a local zoo, where various local businesses set up stations and give out non-candy items. (Flower seeds are always a big hit, and they actively seek out the Apple Juice booth. No candy, please, just the juice!)

Anyways, despite the fun it's still hard to go to school and see kids gorge on multicolored confections on the beloved sugar fest we call "Halloween". We know in our heads that junk food tastes good to your tongue, and real food tastes good to your tummy, but in practice, it's hard to pass up sprinkles and gummies and frosting. (even if you have your own delicious treat waiting.)

My oldest even watched a woman bribing her son with skittles in the library, "Just be good. Here, what color? Any color. Good boy. Now be good. Fine, another color. Any color. Come on, yummy. Choose a color. Now be good, stay with...No, come back, fine. Look. Candy! Yummy!" And thanked me for not being that kind of mom. (Thankfully, not many of us are. The kid wasn't even misbehaving, just looking at the books on the shelf.)

But when 'everyone else' is eating something that looks good, smells good, and you know tastes good; and they keep tempting you to just take a tiny taste; it's hard to say no. And it's hard to watch your kids struggle with that self control. Self control that many adults have failed to master. (Just ask anyone whose ever tried a fad diet how often they cheated.)

However, there is a reason to be grateful for forced moderation. British studies show that kids who eat an excess of sugar in their formative years actually may be at increased risk for arrest due to violent crimes. Of course, the next question is why those kids ate so many sweets to begin with. Was it a parenting issue? A chemical imbalance? Were the sweets a cause or a symptom? And was it sugar itself or the rise in the use of petrochemicals in sweets over the past 20 or 30 years? (This is purely my speculation, but clearly an avenue investigators will have to explore further, as you can see in the article.)

At any rate, maybe it will be easier to ignore those naysayers who 'tsk, tsk" and tell me that my poor kids are so terribly deprived. Not only are they missing out on sugar highs, migraines, stomach aches and mood swings, their risk of acquiring a violent criminal record is dropping.

Maybe we should celebrate.
Candy, anyone?

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