I promised a story about how I have been dealing with Kid 1 and his requests for sugary stuff. To begin with, any sort of request from his side started very late, compared to other kids, because I was simply not offering him anything sweet apart from fruit, I didn’t have anything in the house for him to see, and I was simply not talking about it unless he asked me something. So sweets were a very small concern for him in his first two and a half years of life.
I was never afraid to take him shopping and even to go by rows and rows of chocolates and biscuits and candy. I am still not afraid to do it, though he is more vocal now. He has asked me on occasion to buy him something, and I would always calmly, but firmly, say no. He got the message really quickly since I have never given in to his pleads for a treat in the supermarket. So when he passed those biscuits, he could happily point out to me that Olaf was on one pack, or hey, minions! (always a favourite) I would always acknowledge with the required level of enthusiasm, and move on. He would do the same. I have received some puzzled looks from onlookers who were expecting him to grab the pack and bring it to me, rather than grab it, check it out, show it to me, and put it back. They assumed he would ask for it, and that I would buy it. I didn’t dignify these people with a second glance. What I do should not be surprising.
A second kind of surprised look I would get in the store was when I would, by mistake, pass the fridge with fruit packs and not stop, which led to Kid 1 crying. The surprise always came when they saw what made him stop crying, i.e. what I had given in to: a pack of chopped mango, or raspberries, or blackberries. That was his regular treat when shopping, and I think that is one amazing habit to have.
I have always been firm about saying no to sugary treats, with the sole exception of birthdays. But when Kid 1 started going to the daycare and saw that my rules were not universal, that other people don’t say no, that so many kids drink juice every day and eat all sorts of things, he, of course, launched a campaign to be the same as the others. I have had the crying and whining, I have had the upset looks and remarks, I have had the awkward moments with the family, I have had it all. As much as possible, I have stayed true to my beliefs. But he is a smart kid, and when he wants some treat when we are not at home, he asks someone else first. They say yes (of bloody course!), and that makes it very difficult for me to say no. But luckily, that doesn’t happen every day.
But because of all this, I have a kid who jumps around when I buy him mango. Yesterday he was cheering in the bus stop, probably driving the other people crazy, happy that he had a banana for a snack, because those are awesome. Anyone can have this kind of kid. Well, maybe not with bananas in particular: Kid 2 started crying when I gave him mashed banana to taste. But he loves mango!
In this respect (saying no to sugar), I really stick to a piece of advice my mom gave me in my last weeks of pregnancy with Kid 1: you have to be just a little bit more stubborn than he is. And it works. The crying and whining last so much less than the times when the kid in question will accept what you say and what you offer. And that is most definitely worth it.