Resistance is Futile

After school one day last week, I opened up my daughter Didi's lunch box and found this:

Guess what? I'm that mom who goes around announcing that My Children Don't Eat Fast Food. I'm allowed to say this because: a) I consider Jamba Juice to be a serving of fruit; b) Chipolte Grill serves only politically correct meat and organic salsa; and c) Togo's sandwiches is strictly a West Coast chain, not a multinational purveyor of sugar, fat, and salt. The point is, I saw Super Size Me, and now We Don't Eat at McDonald's In This Family.

"Hey, Didi," I said. "Where'd you get the fries?"

"From Mariah."

"Her mom brought McDonald's food to school?"

"Yup. Her mom is so nice."

My younger daughter Lemlem overheard this exchange, and came racing into the kitchen. "Look what Mariah gave me!" she squealed, brandishing this landfill-bound little treasure:

"Wow. Mariah must eat McDonald's a lot if she doesn't mind giving away her fries and Happy Meal toys."

The girls nodded. Mariah is so lucky.

It's breathtaking, how much forbidden, unhealthy and/or undesirable stuff the kids manage to get their hands on without my knowledge or consent; the growth of creeping, outside influences in their young lives is exponential. Resistance is futile.

For example, when Grandma Joan was planning her annual summer visit with us, she wanted to bring the kids some Silly Bandz.

"Please don't," I begged. "They don't even know what those things are." I reluctantly suggested she give the children flip flops instead, an item they'd been demanding incessantly but I'd been refusing to buy, because everyone knows Flip Flops Are Bad for Your Feet. The kids were thrilled to receive their new, dangerously unsupportive footwear from Grandma, and everybody exclaimed that Granny is so nice. Two days into the new school year, the kids were all dripping with Silly Bandz anyway, thanks to the generosity of their classmates with more permissive parents.

Lately, I've also been finding trash around the house that looks like this:

I naively assumed it would be safe to allow the kids to ride to summer camp with their friend Helen, because Helen's mom, C, is that mom who announces, Why Would You Ever Give Your Kids Jamba Juice When That Stuff is Pure Sugar? Imagine my surprise when the children returned from their very first day of carpooling with cups of Jamba Juice in hand. Were my kids the ones exerting a bad influence on others this time? I was too afraid to ask.

It got worse. A couple days later, the kids arrived home clutching gigantic blue and yellow cups.

"Helen's mom bought us icy things!" my son Gobez screamed, waving his cup around maniacally. "Made with Coca-Cola! And caffeine!" He called his Slurpee an "Icy thing" because he'd never even set foot in a 7-11 before that day; as for Coca-Cola, he still has no idea that the cool kids refer to it Coke, because his mother is inadvertently setting him up for social failure with her rigid rules.

This time I had to ask. What in the world had possessed my level-headed friend C to purchase and distribute such illicit beverages?

"It was wrong, I know," she said. "but the drive was long, and I needed some leverage to regain control of the van."

Point taken. I can't believe she was willing to drive my rowdy kids anywhere.

Unfortunately, C's totally understandable and isolated moment of human weakness has proven to be the gateway to sustained depravity in our household. Now almost every time that Daddy takes the kids out to give me a little break, he buys them each a Slurpee, because Daddy is so nice, and he has no backbone.

1 comment:

  1. I brought my kids back Silly Bandz from my weekend away. They were so excited, way more than they would have been if I brought back the Salt Water Taffy I was planning on. They may be a strange trend, but they are much cheaper than American Girl and an easy incentive to get the kids to do their chores. :)


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