The Enemy All Around

When I started out my Mommy Life, as opposed to my glamourous-in-retrospect self-involved previous life, I had visions of how life would be.

Yeah, well, you know mice and men and something about plans.

One thing I had hoped for was to avoid giving my kids lots of sweets and processed crap. I still try really hard to avoid this.

But there are enemies all around.

The in-laws give sweets with abandon, starting with an incident of giving one child an ice cream cone when he was four months old.

It seems that Japanese people in general, and those of a certain generation in particular, think children need sugar. I’ve seen it in war-era movies. Little Taro gets sick, and the neighborhood pools together to buy him a few tablespoons of precious sugar. Depending on whether this is a “Damn Americans” movie or “We Japanese are Special” movie (the war films seem to only come in these two flavors,) Taro will either die (damn Americans!) or survive (thanks to the Japanese sense of community.)

So anyway. The in-laws had to deal with food rations, and in the case of PIL, serious food shortages and malnutrition when they were children. I try to see the sweets situation through their eyes, and don’t restrict it unless it is just completely ridiculous. Like ice cream for a four-month-old or, more recently, strawberry jam on rice.

I know, !(◎_◎;).

The other culprit close to home is HRH. He is constantly bringing things home that I would rather the kids not have. The other thing is that he doesn’t understand that I am trying to have all of us eat mostly whole grains. I’ve managed to switch the kids over to brown rice, and he’s at half-and-half (though he doesn’t seem to have noticed.) We always eat whole wheat bread, and usually when I make pancakes and stuff I use at least half of the healthy stuff.

The main reason for this is that I find if the kids have less refined sugar and stuff, the temper tantrums and general craziness isn’t as bad. That means MY temper tantrums and craziness isn’t as bad.

HRH, though, doesn’t seem to have noticed. Hmmmm. Yesterday he brought home a three pound castella cake.

But he does it out of love.

I think.

Then there’s the rest of the world: random puddings and stuff at preschool, the occasional desert with school lunch, old people on the train handing out 飴ちゃん to kids, this and that and the other and it just really adds up!!

It’s like a white sugar, white flour, white rice enemy surrounds us on all sides!

A few days ago, HRH received a gift from a co-worker who had been to Hawaii: pancake mix. I made it this morning and gave it to the kids and hubs for breakfast (there wasn’t enough for me.) They were fluffy, light, thick, delicious buttermilk pancakes. (So, okay, I didn’t give it all to the kids. I’m no martyr.) Hubs was eating it up with a look of pure bliss on his face, but the kids were pushing it around on their plates.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“These don’t taste like always,” Me First said.

It’s true, lately our pancakes have been made with half whole wheat and some oatmeal thrown in to help Little Miss with her morning duties on the porcelain throne. They’ve been heavy as lead, and I’ll be honest, a little hard to get down.

But the kids think that’s what pancakes are supposed to taste like! I’m not sure if this is a victory for me, or a loss for gourmets everywhere.


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