I’ve gotten some flack lately for posting about baking and eating cookies with the girls. Apparently I’m starting them out with an unhealthy food lifestyle. I am beginning their addiction to sugar and empty carbs. They should only be eating whole, organic, raw foods. How dare I give my precious sweet, innocent babies those poison pucks so commonly known as cookies?! At first I was highly amused by this. (WooHoo! I have haters!) Then it kind of pissed me off. Because, really, you have no idea what I feed my kids the other 99% of the time.
You have no idea that I’m a health food snob. Because I don’t write about that. Its boring. No one wants to know about how the girls love fruit and nuts and organic, free-range, grass fed beef. Should I write a post about the well balanced, mostly vegetarian meals I provide for them? Yawn. Sure, I’ll probably share some great healthy recipes with you at some point. I just haven’t gotten around to it. It’s the holidays. We made cookies. We ate cookies. Deal with it.
If you want to complain about kids eating junk food, I can do that with the best of them. I can bitch and moan about how our society feels the need to push sweets on our kids for every freaking “special” occasion they can think of. And how I can’t stand that I get the stink eye when I tell people not to offer my kids junk food. Like I’m the bad guy. In fact, I can even break it down in numbers to show just how much junk our kids are getting once they hit elementary school. And I will.
Say there are 30 kids in your kid’s class. All of their parents bring in cupcakes for their respective birthdays. That is one month of cupcakes over the course of the school year. Add in the class’ holiday celebrations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (“winter”), Easter (“spring”), and possibly Valentines day and the end of the school year. That is six more days of junk. Now, suppose your kid is moderately popular and is invited to 10 birthday parties, where they will gorge on cake and ice cream. We’re up to 46 days. If your kid is in any activities, there are bound to be soccer celebrations, Girl Scout cookie parties, and Sunday school soirees. Add in your “occasional” treats at home over a year’s time, which we’ll say is a conservative 11 times. We have now hit 60 days of junk food. That is TWO MONTHS of crap. And we haven’t even talked about actual holiday celebrations. We haven’t hit on family birthdays, Halloween candy that lasts a month, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies for two weeks, Valentines day candy for a week, Easter candy for two weeks, and ice cream for Independence day. It could easily total at three to four months worth of days where your kid is eating junk. Or more.
My girls? They don’t get all of that. They aren’t in grade school yet, and even when they are I intend to send them to a Waldorf-style charter school where I don’t have to worry about junk food being seen as a reward. They aren’t in any activities yet. When we do bake at home, we generally make healthy versions of whatever we are craving. Ellie would rather eat crackers than cookies, so I’m more concerned with her salt intake than her sugar levels. Laurel has a sweet tooth, but I know I can give her fruit and she’ll be content.
I don’t keep junk in the house. I don’t buy it. Because if I do buy it, I will eat it. Oh God, will I eat it. I’ll eat it in one sitting, hiding in the laundry room from the kids so I don’t have to share it. I have no will power. And I don’t want my kids to see that or inherit that, so I remove the temptation.
Except at Christmas time. Because the holidays are a time to let your guard down a bit, to have some fun and make some memories with the kids. The holidays are a time to eat some damn cookies.