I am feeling unhappy, deeply unhappy, following some recent events. The reason: yet again I find myself in awkward social situations where people are handing out sweets to my kids without asking me first. I simply do not understand the mentality.
I recently wrote a blog post bemoaning the fact huge numbers of parents at my youngest daughter’s pre-school were dolling out sweets left right and centre. During August and September, about 40 kids left the pre-school to start in reception class. Many of them marked the fact by bringing in sweets to share with their classmates.
Do the maths. That’s 40 kids leaving over a course of 45 business days, many of them bringing in sweets. It was excessive.
Yes, okay, on the day I wrote that blog post I was fired up on some particularly strong coffee. That may go some way to explaining why I compared these sweets to “Chernobyl effluent” and said the quality of the sweets was akin to playing “childhood toxicology Russian Roulette.” Then again, most of the sweets were very poor quality.
So what’s annoyed me this time? The following three incidents have occurred over the past few days and irritated me intensely. Have a read and see what you think.
I was in a local Post Office dealing with a package that was a bureaucratic nightmare. Both my kids were with me and I had already bought them both a pack of chocolate buttons each. I wish to stress this point: my kids do get sweets, but we try to sensibly manage what they receive.
Both kids were standing next to me holding the packets of chocolate I had just bought them. Typically for young kids, they were impatient and asking if they could open their packets of sweets there and then. I explained that no, they would have to wait. I went back to filling in my various bits of paperwork and the assistant, having heard me speaking to my kids said:
“Do you want one of mine?”
Assuming this to be a joke, I simply kept my head down, filling in the bits of paperwork. When I looked up, the kids were being offered sweets from a massive jar.
I simply didn’t know what to do. If I had said something, I know I would have regretted it. I kept my mouth shut, got out of the store and informed the kids that what had just happened shouldn’t have taken place and took the sweets off them.
I mean come on guys, you ask the parent first, right? I was simply stunned. I have also promised myself that next time, I won’t keep my mouth shut and I won’t care for the consequences
It’s my birthday, I’ll give your kid sweets if I want to
The second example is a bit more anodyne, but it still irritated me. My daughter had a swimming lesson. It turned out it was the teacher’s birthday and at the end of the class she produced a tin of chocolates and said the kids could help themselves.
I was just far enough away to hear what was going on. I couldn’t, however, step in and say “thanks but no thanks” as I was looking after my four-year-old at the same time and there was a swimming pool between us, which didn’t help matters.
This bothered me as I had already promised to give Helen treats after her lesson. I was now in a position whereby she was getting double the number of treats I had planned.
I’m paying for this?
My final example, I feel, is on a par with the first. My kids were in a childcare setting because I’d been unable to do the school run. I had arrived and was stood on the doorway, waiting for the kids to get ready so we could leave. My youngest, who is a cheeky monkey, turned to the childcare practitioner and asked if she could have a little snack.
I didn’t say a word as I assumed she would be offered a piece of fruit or a bread stick or something similar. Oh no, before I could intervene, she opened a cupboard door and handed my daughter something. I couldn’t quite see what it was but when my daughter walked over and showed me I was surprised to see it was a pack of Love Hearts.
It gets better. Unbeknown to me, my oldest child had already been given a treat, a lolipop, and she was half-way through it. If I had taken the sweets off them both it would have been Meltdown City just as I was trying to get them away and into the car.
Added to this, it had been my intention to take the kids home, give them a bath and put them to bed. The last thing I needed was the two of them experiencing a sugar rush as their livers broke down the highly refined sugar their sweets were packed full of.
Thankfully, we’ve subsequently found a different childcare provider who we will be relying on in future. We’d heard a few things about the food offered in this place so it was the straw the broke the camel’s back, truth be told.
Please, just ask me
To get back to the matter in hand, all I want is to be asked before anyone gives my child sweets. I am happy for them to have sweets sometimes, but I feel it is important to stress the healthy eating message.
If asked, I might say no. Alternatively, I might say: “Yes, but please give them to me so I can give them to my kids tomorrow as they’ve just both been to party and eaten loads of junk / have just had some sweets / have been told off and told they can’t have any sweets for the rest of the day.”
It’s possible I’ll actually say: “Yes.” Believe it or not, it has happened!
All I want is the opportunity so say “no.” Mrs Adams and I, I believe, should manage and regulate what our kids eat.
If I do say no, it’s for a reason. Please ‘though, don’t just go over my head and give my kids sweets without asking me first. Is that really too much to ask?