Yesterday, the boys asked for cheese curls for a snack. I try to keep relatively healthy foods for the kids in the house. Don’t worry, I’m human. And cruel. I’ll still buy my favorite Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips and eat them behind the pantry door when no one is looking. If the kids pick up on a suspicious scent, they’ll ask me what I’m eating while sprinting to catch me in the act. I’ve by then already replaced the bag to its dark recessed spot, wiped crumbs, swallowed 10-inch chips whole and lied through my salted teeth, “Nothing.”
Why do I even have cheese curls AND they know of them? Because it’s that frightening time between school getting out and summer camp starting, and I had to lug both kids to the grocery store with me. The cheese curls and frosted flakes cereal were clear evidence that this was not a solo-Mommy trip. Fine, let them live a little. 🙂
However, yesterday’s asking came in the morning. For some reason, I have this thought that unhealthy foods are only for PM hours. The morning is for good things: being productive, heading to work/school, and getting your day started right. The afternoon/evening though allows for the contrary: cocktails, lounging and yes, junk food. Ethan was not happy but accepted my veto of cheese curls in the AM. Connor, however, was livid. The injustice of such a strict separation of good and evil habits based solely on the sun’s position was ludicrous in his mind. He was not having it. He proceeded to cry, “CHEESE CURLS! I WANT CHEESE CURLS! MOMMY, CHEESE CURLS!!!!” for such a very, very, VERY long time. At one point he was screaming so horribly and loudly that I was sure the neighbors thought I was sawing his legs off. There is no better tantrum thrower than my younger son. He deserves a medal. Recall this? And this?
In my mind I thought many things. Oh, just give it to him. Who cares, it’s not a big deal. Plus, my ears were ringing and the thought of hearing again sounded appealing. But then I also thought of how my beloved younger son is more used to getting his way. His birth order allowed for more indulgences. It’s why Ethan who did not get such treatment had let the cheese curls go. Meanwhile, I did not want to reinforce to Connor, “Cry like crazy and get what I want because I can break her!” Plus we were close to lunch time and I had planned on treating them to lunch out in hopes of bribing good behavior on errands I needed to run that day. And once it was 12PM, the good times could roll. I might even let them have a cookie.
So I held firm while he did the same. At first I tried to reason with him all of the above and scold him for not being a good listener. Then I ignored him. And finally I just held him. I told him I was sorry for how he was feeling. I soothed him as best as I could. I still didn’t give him those blasted cheese curls, but somehow in the course of time, he settled down. We went out to eat lunch, they DID get a cookie (which they had to split between the two of them), and I got my errands done. And then, later that afternoon, because it was officially party time, they even got a bowl of blessed cheese curls for a snack.
Sweet Connor. It’s almost comical how he carried on and on about something as silly as cheese curls. If he only knew that I was NOT trying to torture him, that I withheld out of love for him to be healthy and learn valuable life lessons, that in just a short hour he’d be downing half of a large M&M cookie, that in a few hours more he’d finally get those cheese curls, and that in it all, I was doing it with his best interests in mind. Because I love him like crazy, crazier than his love for puffed orange snacks.
These past few days, I’ve been just like Connor. I’ve been crying for my cheese curls. And I find myself thinking all the things that I just wrote in the previous paragraph to remind myself that God’s plan and purposes are always for my best interests even when they feel hurtful and tear-inducing. I may not get my cheese curls ever, even in the PM, but I know that I have His crazy love.