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April 27, 2014

Trying to come off the Easter-Valentine-etc. sugar high

There were five of us standing in our front yard on Easter Sunday evening — bleary-eyed parents swapping stories of the day’s events. Usually someone fesses up about allowing chocolate before breakfast, and the rest of us nod in understanding, because we did, too. And then we all commiserate about how we paid for it the rest of the day.

There were five of us standing in our front yard on Easter Sunday evening — bleary-eyed parents swapping stories of the day’s events:

Pre-dawn wake-up calls, egg hunts, crowded church pews, family photos, chocolate tears, more family photos and tantrums — the usual holiday highlights.

And, of course, there was a lot of talk about sugar. These kid-centric conversations always somehow end up on the subject of sugar.

Usually someone fesses up about allowing chocolate before breakfast, and the rest of us nod in understanding, because we did, too. And then we all commiserate about how we paid for it the rest of the day. And then we all wonder how and why we got sucked into the vicious sugar vortex in the first place.

I bet the National Institute of Sugary Things and the Corn Syrup Society have conducted comprehensive behavioral studies explaining the psychological and the sociological patterns of it all.

The easy answer is, “It’s just what you do.”

It’s “tradition” to jack your kids up on a slew of sweets and simple carbs, put them into uncomfortable shoes, sit them down on a hard pew, “shush!” them during a sermon, strap them into a car seat for the drive out to Grandma’s and then expect them to beam angelically on command during the family photos.

Fortunately we are just winding down what I call the “High Holiday Sugar Cycle,” which includes “The Big Four” — Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.

We have a candy basket in our house that always seems full of treats we never buy, despite how often its contents “accidentally” fall into the trash. We throw away Halloween candy to make way for Christmas treats, which get chucked in favor of the chocolate hearts, which disappear just as the Easter bunny delivers the next payload. Sure, I could save some of it to redistribute at Halloween next year, but that wouldn’t be cool.

Our minds, bodies and teeth are ready for a break. Of course during the summer there will be Popsicles and s’mores, and we’ll catch the ice cream truck every once in a while. But for now, I look forward to a solid six months of relative detox before the season of sugar kicks in again.

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