Practically every day since Halloween (yes, really), I've heard some version of the following:
"Mommy, can I have a lollipop?"
We finally finished off the Halloween candy...last week. But the begging for sweets is far from over. (It's also far from new.) Despite my best intentions, I have raised a little sugar junkie.
Fortunately, he's also a little produce junkie. I can't take Westley to the Fruit Market without him grabbing up an orange or tomato or a bunch of carrots (with the tails, please). He's been known to slip a basket of strawberries into our cart when I wasn't looking. But he doesn't beg for fruit the way he does for, say, the beautiful vegan baked goods at PCC.
I'm the first person to admit that my parenting is far from perfect - and participating in Westley's early introduction to refined sugar feels like one of my biggest mistakes. I'm not a "no sugar ever" person, but I do take a lot of pride in feeding my family a variety of tasty, nutritious foods. Part of me thinks if I were doing a better job on the food front, Westley wouldn't prefer ice cream to lentils. Despite the fact that even as a picky(ish) three-year-old Westley eats a respectable variety of foods, I feel like I dropped the nutrition ball.
One of the things about raising a vegan child is that there's an awful lot of "no." No, not that bread. Not that treat. Not that restaurant. No, no, no. Add that to all the nos of parenting a preschooler, and that's an awful lot of "can't" and "don't." I end up feeling stuck in this push-pull of constantly saying "no" versus saying "yes" but feeling guilty for doing so.
I like to think that the guilt over saying "yes" to sweets makes me more aware, more committed to finding healthful things to offer at meals and snacks. But, in reality, it just makes me feel shitty. And I absolutely need to knock it off - or risk passing my own hang-ups about sweets onto my sweet boy.