my tummy hurts


We came home on Halloween night with three groaning bags of candy. “Take as much as you want!” all the moms kept saying, at every door we knocked on. “I bought way too much.” We came home to discover that I had also bought way too much; the bowl we had left out for trick or treaters, in our absence, was still nearly full.

This means we have, at the moment, about five pounds of candy loose in our house. And my kids are amazing about it. They each had only three pieces yesterday, and the crazy part is, they actually ASKED ME FIRST. (OK, Maggie grabbed a Dum-Dum lollipop while I wasn’t looking, but she’s my baby and she knows she can get away with it.) I am not totally dictatorial about what my kids eat, but we do talk a lot about making healthy choices, and I guess it’s getting through to them. In another day or two, they will have forgotten about their candy stashes altogether, and we will have dodged the latest threat to juvenile obesity.

The problem is, their mother will NOT have forgotten about the candy, and I will continue to eat my way through it until I hate myself, at which point I’ll give the rest to David to bring to work. I mean, I had a fun-sized Nestle Crunch bar this morning before 6 a.m. And it was fun, while I ate it, but it was not worth the morning of self-loathing I am now having. Why can’t I have the same willpower I expect of my children?

I think this is a nearly universal phenomenon. I have a friend who is completely on top of every bite her four children eat. Their home is vegan and macrobiotic. On Halloween, her children come home from trick-or-treating and trade in their candy score with their mother, for gummies dyed with beet juice and dark chocolate antioxidant squares and other preservative and artificial ingredient-free choices. “And then what do you do with the other candy?” I asked my friend. She paused. “I, um, eat it,” she said. “All of it. OK not all of it. A lot of it.”

Am I a bad person for having convinced my three children, yesterday morning, that Almond Joys are “grownup candy that doesn’t taste good to kids,” so I get everything with a blue wrapper? Do you let your kids finish all their candy? Or do you, like me, do it for them?