I am greeted by a wandering mess of gormless kids, faces smeared with sugary residues, clothes covered in chocolate stains.
She is sucking on an ice lolly. I see the remnants of the forage. Packaged jelly pots, candie wrappers, sausages, chips and fried food. Fresh fruit is present and broccoli, I am told was offered earlier.
She is three and a half and this is a first gathering without me. A first great letting go of healthy food control for me.
I am aghast and immediately plan our exit. I guess it’s not just the sugar intake that shocked me. It was the weariness of the children, who otherwise are thoughtful, good natured souls. The sugar coupled with high voltage activity in a small space created an energy that jarred and scarred me.
Over the return journey, my throat is tightening and I feel physically sick and teary. That my child had indulged in sugar of so many forms felt akin to some sort of adult binge. Now she is acting all loud and becoming violent with her sister.
The letting go was so much harder than I had imagined. The after party display I had witnessed was etched in my mind. I felt repulsed by the sugar intake and despair for my loaded Jemima, who I had sheltered from sugar for so long.
I knew I would have to repair my little one after her sugar high and regain my presence with her. Once home, immediately I put her in the bath, and the demanding behaviour miraculously softens. She becomes easier to be around again, save for the large, distant eyes yearning for sleep now.
I fill her with all things yang and good quality salty to neutralize the sugar affects. She downs an alkalizing umeboshi drink of the pickled plum, tamari and kuzu to thicken. Then I prepare fish poached with seaweed, miso and more tamari and kuzu. I do feel a relief that she devours all this!
All the while I am feeling a huge despair and sadness not just for my Jemima but for all children, since sugar consumption is completely the norm. How can we raise our children on regular overdoses of this toxic substance, and consider this a party?
What are we teaching at such a tender age, and which will be hard wired for life? That fun times must be accompanied by sugar. That crazy mood altering food binges are acceptable. That caring for our health is of no concern.
These are some of the thoughts that trouble me for all our children. And of course, I wonder how will I let go, again, of the sugar grip at the next party.