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Pop Tarts: Pure evil with a happy face

Submitted by on Wednesday, 4 June 2008 No Comment
"Forget good intentions. The road to hell actually is paved with Pop Tarts.

And I am the one who has visited this evil upon my young innocents, all because I gave into a moment of weakness.

Ever since Big Guy's been old enough to spew his first puree at me, I've been careful about their diets. No juice until they were 2, and dessert only if they ""eat their good food."" They have Cheetos and tortilla chips occasionally, but usually after meals.

I've always insisted on a healthy breakfast. Or, at least, tried mightily to. I'd spend half the weekend baking mupcakes packed with covert pumpkin or scones stuffed with surreptitious apple. Pastries, yes, but without trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup, which truly is a tool of the devil



But in the end, all I can do is serve it -- I can't make them eat.

Lately, though, Big Guy's gobbled breakfast and asked for more. Because breakfast has been Pop Tarts.

My God, what have I done?

It started about a week ago when the mid-morning munchies hit and my chaste bowl of Cheerios and dried cranberries wasn't exciting enought. I visited the vending machine at work, where for 85 cents I could buy a pack of Pop Tarts and a ticket to nutritional Hades.

I've never been a math whiz, but it didn't take me long to figure out that I should admit my addiction, buy a six-pack and save myself a few bucks a week.

It was going to be my dirty little secret. The guys could continue to eat their whole-wheat toast while I debased myself behind their backs. I'd feed them oatmeal while I crammed fat-laden sweets in my face.

Except, of course, they quickly caught on.

I forgot to put away groceries from my most recent Pop Tart run before they came home Saturday. Little Guy immediately glommed onto the pastries. ""Sprinkles! Malicious!"" he grinned, using Little Guy-speak for delicious. Or maybe he knew what lay in store.

I gave him a strawberry one and watched closely. The second the tart hit his lips, the gleam in his eye was all the evidence I needed. He had indeed inherited Mommy's junk-food gene.

Big Guy was a harder sell. He didn't care how many times his brother, ecstatic in a way the only those who've experienced a true junk food high can comprehend, walked around and moaned, ""malicious!"" Pop Tarts were new and, therefore, suspicious. He was having none of it.

That lasted about 24 hours. He still wanted nothing to do with the strawberry ones -- if his brother likes it, then he has to disagree. He finally consented to sniff a brown-sugar cinnamon Pop Tart -- I often wonder if he was a dog in a past life.

""Oh my gosh! It smells so good!"" he groaned, snatching the Pop Tart out of my hand.

It was gone in roughly two minutes. The second didn't last much longer. About an hour later, he wanted a third, but that's when I tried to reassert some level of moral authority by insisting he eat grapes first. ""How many do I have to do?"" he sighed, as if asking how long until he'd be paroled.

And that's how it's been every morning since. Big Guy, the king of ""I'm not gonna eat that,"" wolfing morsels of dietary debauchery.

In a way, I'm relieved. I've pretzelized myself for months over the prospect of him sitting in kindergarten, tummy rumbling because he hadn't believed me when I said they wouldn't have as many snacks as at his preschool.

I also have to admit it's easier to pop open a foil pack than it is to fire up the oven. And it's been rather nice to see him gulp down a fuss-free breakfast.

Ah, but isn't that always the way of the devil? Entice you with visions of quick gratification and the easy life before sentencing you to eternal punishment. I fear that by next week they'll be toting Oreos and pork rinds in their lunch.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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