“It’s my mother’s fault,” Caitlyn told her friend, Mandy, as she reached for another handful of smoked almonds. “When Lindsey and I were growing up, we were never allowed junk food. Not even ice cream.”
“Um,” Mandy murmured. She ladled caramel sauce, whipped cream and nuts on top of her ice cream.
Caitlyn popped another almond in her mouth. “Mother always worked so Lindsey and I went to daycare. We couldn’t eat what the other kids ate, so Mother packed our lunches and snacks. Do you know how hard it is to eat carrot and celery sticks while everyone else has cookies with apple juice or ice cream cones? We bribed other kids to share their snacks with us. Once we started school, we did the same thing, bribing kids for junk treats. How pathetic is that?”
“But, Caitlyn, you do the same thing with your kids. To them, a snack is a piece of fruit,” Mandy said, licking the caramel sauce from her spoon. “What makes you think they aren’t bribing their friends for unhealthy snacks?”
“Well, you’re in my house eating ice cream with all the toppings, aren’t you? This is what I learned from my mother. We were denied junk food, and punished for eating anything she considered unhealthy. Because we felt deprived and different, and believe me, we got teased by other kids, we craved what we couldn’t have. When I went away to college, all I did was eat junk food. I gained weight, my face broke out, I got sick a lot. I only ate junk, trying to make up for all those years,” Caitlyn said.
“So what happened to change you?”
“The truth is I feel better eating healthy. With my kids, they get ice cream, and the occasional candy and chips. I don’t go ballistic when they have junk, but I don’t let them make a habit of it either. I make eating healthy fun for them. Banana slices dipped in dark chocolate, apple slices spread with peanut butter and covered with sprinkles, frozen juice pops and things like that. I find recipes on the internet for us to try. They love it,” Caitlyn said.
“Whew! Sounds like too much work to me. I work all day, so I don’t have time. Not everyone is lucky like you and get to stay home,” Mandy said, putting more ice cream in her bowl.
“Oh, please, Mandy! I work, I just work from home. I have to log in on the computer and my hours are monitored by the insurance company I work for. I don’t twiddle my thumbs all day.”
“Yeah, I know. I wish I could work from home. If I did, I’d find healthy snacks for my kids on the internet.” Mandy poured extra caramel sauce on her ice cream. “Who am I kidding,” she sighed, “I love my pastries and caramel lattes and potato chips and chocolate candy. I’ve never been one to practice self-control with my eating, and I certainly don’t with my kids either. Makes me mad when they ask why we can’t bake banana slices in our oven or make apples on sticks dipped in peanut butter and chocolate like your kids.”
Caitlyn couldn’t help it, she laughed until her sides ached.
“Goodness sakes, Caitlyn, I don’t see anything that funny about what I said.”
“Don’t you get the irony of it?” Caitlyn asked. “My sister and I felt deprived because Mother wouldn’t let us eat junk and your kids want to eat some of the healthier snacks my kids eat. It just seems so funny to me. What is it with human nature? When we’re told we can’t have something, that’s all we think of and want. Kinda like Eve in the Garden of Eden, wouldn’t you say?”
“But that wasn’t junk food, was it? It was some kind of fruit, an apple people say. I don’t get your point, Caitlyn.”
Caitlyn laughed again. “It was forbidden, Mandy. We want what’s forbidden.” She sighed as she got up to get a bowl. She fixed some ice cream but didn’t add any toppings. “Any time you want help making healthy snacks, let me know. We could do a fun afternoon with both our kids one of these Saturdays if you want.”
“Okay, you’ve got a deal. But I’m not giving up my junk foods, Caitlyn. Or my lattes.”
Caitlyn took a bite of ice cream and grinned.
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