“You can’t handle the sugar.”  This is what I tell my oldest daughter almost daily. 

It is true.  My oldest has a terrible reaction to sugar.  Within seconds of ingesting anything sweet she becomes completely O-B-N-O-X-I-O-U-S.  It drives me crazy.  I can remember taking this picture years ago and calling it, “I am your worst nightmare.”

In complete contrast, my youngest child can eat an entire bag of cotton candy with very little reaction at all.  She is cool as a cucumber. My friends laugh that this is a typical second child.  First time parents are rule followers and everyone knows that one of those rules is no sugar until the first birthday. Then on their first birthday we all proceed to place an entire smash cake in front of them.  By the time the second child comes along, we have all loosened up (or “we have been broken down” as my husband says) and sugar is introduced much earlier.  I think in the case of my first born, the issue was magnified because of gestational diabetes.  I did not consume sugar when I was pregnant with her. My diet consisted of chicken, greens, and nuts with the occasional animal cracker. My craving for apples was absolute torture and the first thing I consumed after delivery was an entire container of raspberries. It is really not surprising to me at all that my daughter HATES chicken and acts like a CRAZY person when she ingests sugar.

Sugar was a very contentious topic with my mother when my daughter was young. There were many disagreements over her diet on visits to my parent’s home. My mother was notorious for allowing a “sip of coke” or a McDonald’s Sundae. Her freezer was always (and still is) full of Brown Cows and ice cream sandwiches. My parents’ basic message to us was “our house, our rules.” 

By the time baby #2 arrived, we were so desperate for help that I happily handed her over to my parents. I did not worry about the sugar she was sure to ingest during her visit. We had all loosened up, comfortable in our new roles as:  me as parent and my mother as spoiler in chief.   This is an actual picture my parents sent me as a joke one day.

Today my girls still love to visit my parents. I have chosen not to worry about their diet during these visits. Instead, I focus on all the shared moments that will one day be precious memories.  True, they do consume a ton of sugar, but they also take flash light walks at night, play dolls under my father’s desk, work puzzles together, and learn to sew with my mother.  My parents and my girls have a special bond. My parents are the keepers of secrets (trips to McDonalds) and trusted confidants. Now that my girls are older, they call my parents almost daily. I know my mom is the keeper of their hearts. She knows that my youngest is secretly eyeing a sparkly t-shirt in a nearby aisle at Wal-Mart, and that my oldest still wants to sit in her lap and be babied (even though she is almost nine).

So if sugar played a role in their relationship, I am ok with it.   If there is anything I learned from my first born, it is that moderation is much better (and more realistic) than complete elimination. At home, I am careful to regulate sugar consumption but there is no shortage of sweetness.