Just Say No. To Candy. Or Ice Cream. Or Yellow #5.

This is the silver lining on PANDAS disease, and throwing out half your pantry, and spending a fortune on organic groceries, eating Paleo, and being the “weird” one at every food centered gathering we go to…which is pretty much every gathering.  We live in the United States, where entire holidays are based on FOOD.  (Even the Indians Native Americans knew food was the way to the white man’s heart.)

My children are learning how to “Just say No” at a very young age.  The more I think about it, the more I think that this is something we should all be doing, as parents, for our children.  Pick something, anything, maybe it’s Asorbic Monosodium Glutamate (I think I just made that up).  Maybe it’s gum drop ice cream.  Maybe it’s Yellow #5.  Whatever.  Just pick something that you truly believe is from the devil in the form of a food.  And teach your children that this is BAD for them, and that they need to pay attention to what they are eating and if someone offers them some Yellow #5, they are to politely decline.  

Here’s the Scenario.  We’d been at this whole paleo thing for a few months, and our youngest daughter, age 4, went up to the front of our little small town church for Children’s Church.  Children’s Church is always an interesting affair, and more so when a certain little boy is involved, but that’s another story.  This time, it’s Little Boy, my Darling Daughter, and the Sweet Little Girl who never causes any trouble.  The teacher varies each week.  This week it is the elderly retired elementary school teacher.  She has, OH HORROR, an entire package of Oreo Cookies.  A new kind of Oreo, where they apparently took the entire range of chemical color additives and added them to the box.  Just to see if they could possibly make an oreo less healthy, while not actually killing anyone instantaneously.  To prove this theory, (or maybe it was to illustrate a lesson in sharing…), the teacher opens the package and starts nibbling on a cookie.  She goes on and on about how WONDERFUL these new Oreos are, and then, she offers one to each of the children.  First Sweet Little Girl who politely accepts her rainbow oreo.  Then my Darling Daughter.

I’m sitting near the back of the church.  There are a good 12 rows between me and my daughter.  I’m pretty sure I can’t hurdle the pews in a skirt to snatch the oreo from her grip in time to prevent a bite without making a scene.  I sit, paralyzed with indecision.  I’m in church, and I’m not prepared for this scenario.  In my panic, I forget to pray.

My Darling Daughter politely shakes her head, and says, “No Thank You.”  

Hallelujah!!!  Thank You, Lord. 

Then she adds, “My mommy makes Nutty Bars!”

She doesn’t even like my nutty bars.  But she needed an out, and she had one.  

“No, we don’t eat rainbow oreos, but we do eat healthy Nutty Bars.”

And maybe, someday, that will translate to:

“No thank you, drug dealer who says you’re my best friend, I don’t do drugs, but I do have great leadership qualities and an excellent job at Chic-Fil-A with management possibilities and Sundays off for worship.”  

“No thank you, boyfriend who wants to have pre-marital sex.  I don’t need to sleep with you to feel good about myself.  Dump me if you want, I’ll go make paleo meringues and watch Little House on The Prairie episodes with my super cool mom.”

“No thank you, College Sorority hazing that poor girl in my Botany class.  I’ll stand up for her, have a new best friend and future Fortune 500 Botany Brilliant Business Partner, and you all can go eat Yellow #5.”

You get the idea.  Teach them young.  Pick something.  ANYTHING, for them to take a stand on, and let them figure out that they are strong enough to say no.  

Even when mommy isn’t watching from the back of the church.









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