Would You Like Guilt With That?

(I wish it was this kind I was talking about...)

"Hey, Mommy, there's Jack" Turtle yelled during a superbowl commercial today.  Backtire looked at me, "Um, how does he know that?"  "Remember, a few weeks ago when we ate at Jack In The Box and you met us there?  There were pictures of Jack all over the wall and he wanted to know who it was, so..." I explained, feeling crappy that my not quite 3-year old son knew who Jack was.  We returned our attention to the TV only to then witness Jack get run over by a bus.   Turtle had a very concerned and confused look on his face as his newfound loveable character friend was just squashed.  Oh Great!  It was bad enough that we had sunk to Jack In The Box for dinner level.  Now he's been traumatized to top it off!  

After inquiring after Turtle's interpretation of the commercial, I agreed that Jack "fell down because that bus came" and that he simply needed to get up and brush himself off and he would be fine.  All was well with the world, Turtle went back to playing with trains, and I avoided having to talk about the realities of being hit by vehicles.  

The part I didn't mention to Backtire was that the two of us had eaten at McDonald's today for lunch. And another time when we were on our own for dinner a few weeks back.  Oh yeah, and all three of us stopped for fast food over the holidays on a long drive home one night, too. That's at least four times in the past couple months.  

And if I hadn't have blogged previously about eating locally and avoiding sugary birthday celebrations at daycare and generally professed to people my organic-whole-foods-well-balanced-non-processed-water-down-the-juice-he's-never-eaten-candy-we-don't-do-fastfood-except-when-forced-to-on-long-roadtrips-a-few-times-a-year values, I might not feel quite so hypocritical right now.  

On the other hand, I'm sure I'm holding myself to higher standards than anyone else is.  And the plus is that at least I've started to find more balance in terms of not killing myself to try to live up to my crazy high standards without fail.  I've opted for the fast food so that we can stay out and get all the errands I want done and have some fun together instead of feeling housebound, stuck in the kitchen, and frustrated that the to do list is growing.  

Hopefully, I won't resort to fast food often enough for Turtle to start begging for it or refusing to eat other things.  He has always been a great eater, willing to try anything new, and happy to eat raw vegetables and all manner of things good for you. To make myself feel better, though, each time we've done this I've snuck the toy out of the kids' meal and into my purse before he could see it.  I don't need the promise of a new toy each time you eat a meal to hold sway over him.  The food itself is supposed to be the incentive for eating.  

I love that my almost 3-year old son doesn't know what candy is and doesn't expect that you should end up with a toy each time you go out.  Today while grocery shopping he saw a shelf of Valentines Day teddy bears and simply asked if he could hug a few of them.  So, we stopped and took turns hugging a few of them and put them all back on the shelf.  I've never set that precedent that we would actually take toys we see in stores home with us.  I love that when I pour a little juice in the bottom of his cup, he says to me "Mom, now add the water to make it into juice" because that's how he thinks it works.  

I'm going to keep it like this for as long as I can.  But I'll also continue to keep in mind the best advice I've ever been given:  Everything in moderation, including moderation.  


KCB said...

Oh, poor Jack!

As for fast-food guilt, sometimes you just have to get some food--either because the kid/kids are starving and cranky or because your own blood sugar is low. Or because you finally got the kitchen clean. Or because you're out of time. Or because you feel like it.

I found out the hard way that it pays not to ding fast food too much in front of the kids--when I was pregnant with Hurricanehead and running errands one day with Rocketboy I suddenly *had* to eat and had no snacks with me. We drove through a burger joint and took our meal to the park. Rocketboy was horrified and at first refused to eat his burger. I told him to eat it or not, whatever, and he took a bite.

"Mmmm," he said. "It's delicious, Mommy. I can't even taste the antibiotics in the meat."

When the guilt comes from your own smartass kid, you know you've done yourself up.

Chelsea said...

Ouch! I can't believe he said that to you- too funny! I haven't gotten to the part where I lecture him on the evils of monoculture and industrial agriculture, so I'll remember to use a lighter hand when I'm feeing so inclined...

I'm totally on board with the sometimes you just have to get some thing.

The irony is that I've eaten more fast food since I've become a mother than I did before. Ditto for drinking caffeine, eating chocolate, and drinking alcohol. So the disappointment is in not being able to keep up with my own previous healthy habits for myself. But I was never so busy and exhausted before, either. Or quite so inclined to go for the convenience or the treating myself factor.

Chelsea said...
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