Halloween candy has been giving us a lot of trouble throughout the past week. My four-year-old feels entitled to a piece at every waking moment, whereas I think there’s never a good time for him to have it. I can’t send him to school on a sugar high, nor is it fair to send it in his lunch because his teachers would have to deal with it. When he comes home, it’s nap time and I don’t want him to be hyper. Then it’s nearing suppertime and I don’t want to ruin his appetite. All of a sudden it’s bedtime and that’s definitely the worst time to give him sugar.
Our battles have been intense. Sometimes I do give in and agree to let him have a single lollipop, a half-box of Smarties, or a mini chocolate bar because I don’t want to be too uptight. But then his energy level peaks and he’s literally bouncing off walls, flinging himself from sofa to rug, from door to bed. He morphs into a human tornado of screaming, bratty energy that I don’t know how to handle. As a result, my mood plummets and I start resenting that bag of candy that has turned our normally great family dynamic into a roller-coaster of tantrums. It doesn’t help that I hate candy (except chocolate). It turns my stomach to see him gnawing on artificially coloured, tongue-staining, unrecognizable jelly blobs. I’d rather see him spooning brown sugar straight into his mouth, instead of that toxic stuff.
Yesterday a brainwave hit. (Thanks to Defining Motherhood for planting the seed in my mind last year.) I decided to contact the “Switch Witch” for a much-needed intervention. I explained to A. that he could trade in his candy for a toy that the Switch Witch would deliver the following day, but it meant no more candy, since all of it would go toward the trade. He agreed immediately and patiently waited until today, when I slipped out during nap time, candy bag in hand, for a secret rendezvous with the witch, a.k.a. the toy store. I found the perfect gift — a bag of assorted costumes that come straight from little boy heaven, with pirate, gladiator, and superhero gear. Sure enough, it’s been a huge hit with both boys and I’m relieved to know we won’t have any more candy wars. I think I’ve found a solution that’s going to make the post-Halloween madness easier to deal with every year.