Enough with the candy already. And, yeah, sure, I’m the guy kicking poo pellets at the Easter Bunny’s candy-toting ass. Jelly beans, Peeps, fauxcolate bunnies—I’m not sure what the association is to resurrection, whether seasonal or Christian—but fortunately Easter marks the end of the candy season for American parents.
It goes on for over half the year. Two months before Easter is Valentine’s Day, where your kid could get a piece of candy from every kid in his class. Less than two months before that is the chubby and distended Christmas stocking, or whatever equivalent denominational candy purse. (Isn’t it funny how stocking sizes have grown on a parallel with obesity in America?) Two months prior to that is the grand Carnivale of candy season, the Fat Tuesday, the binger’s binge, Halloween.
As a personal note, Halloween is my favorite parent-child holiday. But what the hell are we as parents thinking? On this one day, we let kids give us the finger (sticky) to the failsafe of parental reason and justice, the law of because-I-said-so. We say don’t take candy from strangers: today, Junior, you can go up to a stranger’s home, the threshold of horrors, and beg for it. We say too much candy is bad for you: today, Little Miss, go fill up the biggest vessel you have and create a shrine to it in your pantry/basement/closet/room. Between the school parties and a modest Halloween circuit, kids could score 100 pieces of candy, including or excluding the leftovers from your bin and the sweet treats delivered by loved ones nearby and afar. Presuming that there is a daily ration for most kids, even when you factor in parental taxes, or quality control, or impressing the virtues of sharing—whatever you call looting your little one’s stash—the kid is left with a bounty that lasts months. Just as you and your child are finally ready to pitch the remaining dregs—a congealed candy monster of stray candycorns, generic lollipops, forlorn wrappers—along comes Christmas.
That’s almost seven months of uninterrupted candy consumption. Fourth of July parades might offer a miniscule spike but it’s mere tease for what’s to come. It’s not just culturally accepted but encouraged. I just dumped the remaining candy from my three- and five-year olds’ Valentine’s Day party at preschool to make room for their sweetly nondenominational Spring party. Is the alternative—a pencil and rainbow stickers—that bad? Yes. In a bag full of glittering beauty the pencil is the butthole.
Today, Easter baskets. When my wife asked me what the kids would get if I were in charge, I said nothing. Then I thought about it—I too like a sugary sweet chocolate treat—and said they would get Reese’s peanut butter chocolate eggs.
I’m not anti-candy despite the feature in last week’s New York Times Magazine, “Sweet and Vicious”, wherein the principal source urges that sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) “should be thought of, like cigarettes and alcohol, as something that’s killing us.” Parents have their kids’ best interest in mind, unlike our elected officials, so leave it to us to give our kids candy rations or to let them gorge till they puke. But really, has it always been this everpresent? Is there a parallel rise in affluence? What the hell am I thinking—if at all—by negotiating daily candy rations?
At least I’ll have the off-season to think about it, perhaps over an ice cream or a popsicle.