At my kids’ last dental checkup, I joked with my dentist how candy may be the cause of cavities, but Halloween keeps his business afloat. He smiled, almost wistfully, and replied that Halloween barely makes a dent; real business success depends upon indulgent parents who fail to put the brakes on soda.
When my kids were young they would often request soda while they accompanied me grocery shopping and my answer was always the same, “soda is against our religion”. This usually drew chuckles from passersby but I could get away with it. My kids never questioned the validity because it never really mattered enough to them to invest in an argument. As they grew they learned we can treat ourselves to a soda on occasion, but that’s the operative word ‘treat’, something enjoyed infrequently. But then the “bad influencers” came a calling; my in-laws who drink coke as if it were being mainlined into their arteries via an IV drip. This was not just a case of the kids pestering their parents who then capitulated, but the parents themselves that sprang to action for the ‘coke run’, an 8 liter a day habit. Over the years I have seen their wastelines expand and witnessed their children smuggling soda in their backpacks to ‘get by the day’ in case they don’t come across any place to buy soda”. My nephew even based his first car purchase on the refrigerated panel in the dashboard for soda cans. I am fortunate to claim no member of my family, immediate or extended, has a vice dangerous enough to land them a room mate like Lindsay Lohan, but I assume this is what an addiction looks like. And so, last Christmas break during their annual visit, I embarked on an intervention.
I banned soda from my household with the exception of our holiday party. Begging and pleading soon turned to chants of “Evil Aunt Ellen”! My neices and nephews would tell their tale of deprivation to all their friends south of the Mason Dixon line, who listened with such sympathy as if they had endured the same torture tactics employed at Guantanamo Bay.
So as I head into what is the most dreaded weekend for those of who care what our dentist thinks, I have no worries; my kids, more than most, can indulge, moderately, in all things Nestle and Mars since they have been spared years of cumulative tooth rot from soda. For my part, I am looking forward to raiding my kids candy bags, guiltlessly.