Halloween candy

First read this article by Virginia Sole-Smith. “How to stay sane about Halloween candy.”

I’ll admit, I was anxious about this Halloween. How was I going to handle the candy this year with two kids, and with one who is only a toddler?

Last year, my oldest, then 5, got so much candy. And she was sooo into it. She asked for it, all the time. We limited it to a piece or two, allowing only a couple on Halloween night. She just kept asking. And I kept worrying. After about a week, I saw that a friend offered a toy in place of all but a few pieces of candy. Her kid bought into it, so I considered it too, another spin on the switch witch.

I offered for her to keep 12 pieces and to exchange the rest for a toy at Target. She thought about it and said yes. So, I watched her count out the ones she wanted, methodically trying to pick her favorites and those she deemed the best. Then, I took away the rest. Ate many myself, saved some for my partner, and tossed the rest.

She picked out a Barbie…switch witch or not, agh, I should have let her keep the candy.

“Mommy, you don’t like Barbie. Why not?” she likes to ask.

I still haven’t been able to eloquently describe the issues of body size, racism, fatphobia, sexism in way that she understands yet. But, we keep talking and she keeps liking Barbie and it’s all okay.

Fast forward to this year as I wanted to do better. I read Virginia Sole-Smith’s article, all while I am re-learning intuitive eating. So, we went with her advice. Trick or treating was last night for us. We got home, it was after bedtime for both. The one year old ate three pieces of candy. Yes, I let them. She ate probably 10-12 pieces. We could see she wanted more but negotiated bedtime instead and said she could have as much as she wants the next day too.

And that was it. Nothing else happened.

They both went to bed rather uneventfully and slept well. She woke up, she got ready for school. No tummy aches, wild energy, or tantrums. It was bliss.

And just as importantly, my intuitive eating was loud and proud as I did not sneak candy or pine for theirs. My daughter shared one piece and I felt done on this day. Fulfilled for the night. Because I am working hard to remind myself that candy is no longer a restriction, or an evil temptation that makes itself only available several times a year during the holidays.

Folx, read her article, try it. And if you read this the day after or several days after and you restricted, you can still decide otherwise. That’s the best part of parenting to me. Learning to show how I changed my mind and to say why. Try this if you need some words…

“After you went to bed, I thought about it some more. And I want you to have whatever candy you want today. It’s your candy and Halloween is a fun holiday. Let’s do it together. Show you me what you’ve got. What are your favorites? How does that one taste?…”

And read Virginia Sole-Smith’s article. Follow her on Instagram. The writing she does has been so helpful and so affirming. And to see my two kids find their own intuitive eater…or maybe I should say to see myself finally give space for their intuitive eater to show up…is bliss as a parent. Food is uncomplicated and we just enjoy it as part of our day. Battles have ceased. It’s so so worth it.

Intuitive eating…post #1 of many

“What would you like for snack?” I asked.

“Gummies,” she responds.

Every. Time.

“AGUA!” shouts my youngest.

This is my house, currently. As I embark on intuitive eating, a quest to rid my life of diet culture and to embrace this squishy, perfect body of mine, I am considering how our house can move in this direction. I have been reading work by Ellyn Satter, check out the Ellyn Satter Institute here, and have been learning how to allow my kids to have more choices in their food. Basically, it teaches that I am in charge of the what, when and where. And that they are in charge of the how much and whether to eat what we provide.

The institute has been very helpful in showing me how to organize meals and what to consider in offering them. For snacks, you are suppose to start with us making choices and eventually over time, our oldest can choose what she wants for snacks. Hence, the gummies. But we’re not quite there yet so gummies are available in limited amounts. I am trusting that eventually they will lose their shine, once she gets her fill.

As for agua, I taught the toddler some words in French and Spanish as I want them to know early on that there is more than one language in this country and world, and to normalize that this is true. Like so many kids, they choose one word and say is constantly. Agua is the winning word in this house. Anything liquid is called agua. And their recent taste of juice has resulted in emphatic requests for “AGUA!” whenever I open the fridge.

We were warned that kids get addicted to juice (and apparently gummies), but I am holding tight to Ellyn Satter’s words that this too will pass. And that addiction to food is not actually a thing.

I haven’t explored all of this too deeply, but have read the impact of intuitive eating for kids and I’m sold. Basically, it’s all I hope for both of them in this world of food and culture. I am seeking it for myself, and this freedom for all of us.

More to come on this I’m sure. In the meantime, check it out. You can learn about how to handle picky eaters, kids that refuse fruits and/or vegetables, snacking, etc. It’s both super helpful and also so much relief in learning the normalcy of your kids’ eating. And it provides the insight for a world of food and eating that may actually be free of shame and diet culture.