Unsweetening the deal

“Ok so maybe we need to talk about his diet. How often does he have chocolate?”
I was at the dentist.
Did I really have to answer this?
Did I have to answer it honestly?
We were talking about Master Seven.
“Um, well he has choc chip Tiny Teddies in his lunchbox… and then usually a choc chip muesli bar after school,” I replied.
“Ok so…” the dentist began.
“And then a little treat after dinner most nights,” I interrupted him, not finished.
“Chocolate?” he asked.
“Not always,” I reassured him. “Sometimes a lolly or some ice-cream.”
“I see. What about sugary cereals?”
The Nutri Grain had become an almost daily occurrence now.
Although we initially tried to make it a weekend treat, Master Seven was usually first out of bed and hurriedly made his own breakfast before we got up, claiming (through a mouthful of Nutri Grain) that Weetbix was too hard to prepare on his own because he liked it with warm milk.
I admitted the Nutri Grain to the dentist.
“Fruit? Fruit juice?” he asked.
“Oh yes, an apple every day,” I said triumphantly, only to be greeted with a slight shake of the head.
“Fruit’s not great for his teeth either,” he said.
Master Seven’s future lunchbox was suddenly looking very grim.
Despite his penchant for sugar, our little grade two-er has a salad wrap, a carrot and an apple every day.
He gobbles up vegies for dinner and doesn’t drink fizzy cordial.
He hates the effervescence.
Thank god.
I told the dentist this but he was already headed off to his next patient.
“Am I a bad parent?” I asked Learner Dad sadly that night. “Don’t other kids eat this much crap too?”
In my determination to never become a ‘Maccas Family’, I made sure Master Seven rarely had take out at home.
I knew things could be worse.
But I also knew they could be better.
And now Master Seven had to have two fillings, on baby teeth no less.
It provided food for thought.
Having ‘afters’ (or ‘dessert’ to most of you) was how I’d grown up.
A bowl of jelly or a bowl of ice-cream after dinner.
If all else failed, a biscuit.
And so it had been for Master Seven.
I even followed Li’l Fatty’s mashed pumpkin up with mashed apple for ‘afters’.
We decided as a family to give the habit the flick (Master Seven was totally agreeable munching into a Freddo Frog at the time but had changed his mind by the time we finished dinner the next evening).
‘Afters’ was now an occasional affair.
We were going to put true meaning back into the word ‘treat’.
Li’l Fatty would only ever know dessert as something mummy and daddy served up on a special occasion.
But it didn’t end there.
After school snacks would change from muesli bars to cheese sticks.
Honey sandwiches would turn into vegemite ones.
And Nutri Grain (‘Iron Man Food’ – puh-lease) would be permanently replaced with cereal of the Aussie Kid variety.
Without the sprinkle of sugar on top.
But I was drawing the line on the apple.
And the Tiny Teddies.
After all, he does have a sweet tooth.


6 thoughts on “Unsweetening the deal

  1. We hit the paradox of the dangerous apple with No.2, who had poor teeth due to antibiotics when she was small. However, the helpful dental nurse said just throw a bit of cheese in for after the apples to neutralise the acid, and all should be fine. I found it quite amusing that an apple a day apparently kept the doctor away, but made the dentist wealthy!

  2. Yep, guilty as accused! I hold my breath everytime we go to the dentist. Whilst I think that my kids eat a good balanced diet they do have ‘treats’… a little too often I think! Lucky for me they can’t stand the fizz either….

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