Stories from the Hippo

Personal stories of parenting, mental health and other musings

Having a secret chocolate/sweet stash doesn’t conjure up the same emotions for me like it used to, especially now an offspring has entered the equation.


Hubby has dared to query aloud the choice of quality ingredients – dark chocolate, dark chocolate with coconut, dark chocolate with almonds, dark chocolate Tim Tams (courtesy of my mother who thought of me whilst purchasing a packet of white chocolate Tim Tams for herself). Inadvertently entering at his own risk into unchartered and dangerous depths with his seemingly innocent question: “Why have you even got any chocolate in this house at all?”. Meaning: Why are you bringing sugar into a household with a toddler in the mix? Hmmmm….

Stupid questions aside (cue for rolling my eyeballs), I feel a sense of entitlement to my sugary decline. My tastes having evolved over the years. Dark chocolate my latest love. I am also too well aware of my toddlers encroachment on such a sacred scoffing space. My sugar. My stash. Now no longer a secret.

Little fingers are all too often searching through my shoulder bag. Every time we visit our local servo to fuel up, he goes to reach for the lollies at the counter before I’ve managed to pay and get away. I can only shake my head repeatedly, say the word ‘No’ with varying falsetto and then mentally kick myself for purchasing the impulse marketing item in front of him in the past. Of course, this is all my own doing. Little monkey sees, little monkey wants to do it again. Every. Single. Time.

Each time he commits a sugar inspection of my bag, I cringe inwardly at his youthful and untainted confidence that he will definitely find the goods. If hubby is around at the time, I can also then count on his predictable and inevitable frown, shaking his head at me slowly. His eyes speaking volumes: How could I? When we haven’t even properly introduced him to a dentist?!

It is of great importance to me as a mother to abstain from providing too much sugar in the little one’s diet. This is easier said than done at times and I admittedly do manage to stuff up the balance now and then. However, it is a somewhat easier task to ‘control’ his consumption under my watch, as opposed to when he attends his first year of kindergarten, then begins school for the first time. From that point forward, his tastebuds will be initiated over and over with new and different taste sensations – some good and some not so good.

Now, I love my mother to bits. I really do. My husband and I are indebted to her and the support she’s provided to us. Her help has been, and continues to be, invaluable. Jack and his grandma have a wonderful bond with one another. It is beautiful to bear witness to it when they are interacting. Their love for each other apparent. However, I am finding it difficult to accept that there seems to be separate grandparent by-laws. Let me give you an example for a moment: the purchase of a cubby house. The telephone conversation between me and my mother going something like this:

Me: But I only mentioned it to you in passing. I didn’t mean that you had to go out and buy one!

Mum: That’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen it and they only have one cubby house left in stock.

Me: Ummm…(my mind starts drawing a blank, as it desperately seeks refuge in refusal tactics) So…what are the measurements mum?

Mum: Oh…I don’t know. Don’t worry it’ll be fine.

Me: But mum, if you don’t know the measurements…how will you know if it will fit in our courtyard? We only have a small courtyard.

Mum: Don’t worry, it’ll fit. It’ll be fine.

Me: But…

Mum: Wait a minute (I can hear her phone being moved around and voices in the background). I’m just talking to the lay-by office at Target right now and they won’t let me pay for it and leave it here, not unless I can give them a day this week when you can pick it up by.

Me: (mentally kickstarting my heart with self-serve CPR, as I didn’t know I’d been holding my breath…)

But I digress… Back to the sugar situation.

When my sisters and I were teenagers, we used to be able to count on satisfying our sweet tooths with accessing icecream from my mother’s stand-alone freezer. That same access has now been granted to my son. The only difference being that he isn’t strong enough to lift up the freezer lid by himself, the suction proving too powerful for him.

Nonetheless, it seems that grandparent by-laws mostly differ from birth parent by-laws. A few months back, grandma looked at me incredulous. “Why are you giving him a lollypop?”. Followed by a short silence. “I never gave you girls any lollypops when you were all growing up”. Here we go, I thought. I could feel myself feeling a little off. My glucose levels suddenly feeling dangerously low. I waited for a bit, but there was no further verbal onslaught to follow. Thankfully.

I’ll just point out that our son eats plenty of fruit and vegetables, so I am happy with the occasional consumption of sugar. Just last month I was being followed by a very determined toddler, as I tried to eat my icecream (said toddlers icecream was already making its way down through his lower intestines at this stage of the chase). As I hopscotched my way around my mother’s house, holding precariously onto my share of creamy deliciousness, the ridiculousness of such a scenario wasn’t lost on me. I felt mean for running away, but icecream ownership is a serious thing. Not to be contested. Well…unless you’re a toddler of course. I gave up running away, after a near collision with one of his aunties, and half-heartedly handed over almost half of my frozen dessert, waiting for him to take a bite. Rookie parent. I never did see that icecream cone ever again…

And so it is that I persist in mourning my once anonymous saccharine existence. The skirmish continues with no truce in sight.


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