For almost three years my little guy has been the kid at parties, class events and school functions that can’t have what the other kids are having. The one not enjoying red candy, blue-frosted cupcakes and green suckers.
As long as we get advance notice (and don’t forget) we bring treats for him that won’t cause a reaction but things don’t always come together. Thankfully, he’s got a great attitude and never complains. Seriously, not once. For a 7 year old, that’s a pretty big deal.
I know that deep down he wants to be like all the other kids but thanks to the American food system, our food is toxic to him. The reaction is bad enough that he’s not tempted. But still, I know that, just once, he’d really like the red vines and juice pops.
At a school function this past weekend, a lot of kids were eating licorice. I was completely shocked when my son asked for some as well. He hasn’t asked for a treat when we’re out in a long time and he knows I didn’t bring anything for him since we ran out of the house after dinner with dirty dishes still in the sink (don’t judge). I knew he really wanted what his friends were enjoying so we checked out the snack shack. Everything, even the “fruit snacks“, had artificial food dye. Argh!
He checked the ingredient labels himself and turned to walk away, a pretty bummed out kid. As I looked around I noticed someone eating a bag of Fritos corn chips – not the healthiest option, but there’s no artificial ingredients and I had a feeling he’d see it as a treat.
Sure enough, when I asked if he wanted some corn chips a huge smile grew on his face. Goal for mommy. Would you believe they had only one bag left? We snagged it and he couldn’t be happier.
He ate every last chip and walked around with some crumbs around his mouth the rest of the night but there was this very content look on his face that told me how much this treat meant to him. It wasn’t candy or cookies but tonight he felt like the other kids.
Of course, the mommy guilt eventually set in as I realized that I’ve over-relied on his great attitude and haven’t planned ahead to bring special treats to events for him. I’ve become comfortable in thinking “he’s ok” without the treats the other kids have.
He’s a kid and I want him to feel like he fits as much as he wants to. If that means that I need to do a better job of stocking up and bringing safe treats, then that’s pretty darn easy. And certainly worth it.