‘Tis a Gift to be Simple . . . and Sugary: My Son’s Vacation from the Food Pyramid

Day 29 of my 30-day writing challenge

My son is made happy by two very simple things: sugar and toys. When he was five, we took him to Disney World. He enjoyed the day, no question, but the thing that made him happiest? A Mickey-Mouse ear-shaped balloon inside another balloon. He was semi-anxious the whole day until we bought it, and as soon as we did, he was content.

Six years later, you might think his tastes had grown more sophisticated.

You’d be wrong.

He had very little pocket money to bring with him on our vacation, because he spent it all in the last two weeks on cheap motorized cars, fidget spinners, and a lollipop the size of his head. He is, however, very sweet and generous with his money. He shared his cars with his godfather, and he gave one of the fidget spinners and a foot-long unicorn pop to his little sister. (Because when you’re sharing the love, you might as well share the tooth decay, too.)

Yesterday, the teens at our church conference — all 500 of them —  went to a local water park. Because the trip was so poorly organized, my son only rode one waterslide the entire day. I thought he’d be devastated, but he was pleased with how the day had gone. As he explained, he’d brought a bag of gumballs along with him. He sold gumballs for 10 cents each, making $2. He also sold a free tee-shirt he’d won that morning for $3. He made enough money to buy something he’d been coveting all week. It was a can of blue soda! That lights up! And, he had two dollars left over!

He also came home with two tubes of squeezable SlushPuppie sour cherry candy, one won in a game, and one given to him for no reason. You can see why it was a good day.

I should explain that my son that the instincts to be a killer entrepreneur. He had a nice side business going at his school this year. He bought fidget spinners, sold them for a profit, and then bought more fidget spinners and sold those. Just as the fidget spinner craze was dying down, his package of fidget cubes arrived from China, and he also made a profit off of those.


I should probably have been upset that he was selling items that were banned from school in school, but I was too busy being relieved that someone in my family was showing some business sense. Between the two of us, my husband and I have a pile of degrees in ministry and the humanities, and (clearly) not a lick of financial acumen. It’s nice to know that our son will be able to take care of us in our dotage.

This afternoon, Grammy and her husband took my son and I to the movies. He brought his two tubes of sour candy, but didn’t feel like that was enough. So he talked Grammy into buying him a theater-sized box of watermelon SourPatches.

By the time Spiderman: Homecoming was over, every last bite and squeeze was gone. (Full disclosure: I did eat several of his sour watermelon candies. After the first one overloaded all the sour taste receptors on my tongue, the next seven or eight were surprisingly good.)

In summation, let us count the sweets that my son consumed this past week:

Friday (on the plane): Five mint chocolate Oreos. A bag of chocolate chip graham crackers shaped like bunnies. The caramel-flavored tea cookies the flight attendant handed out.

Saturday: (Brunch buffet) Mini muffins in chocolate, blueberry and banana nut. Waffles with syrup. A mini s’mores cake. A chocolate croissant. A fruit turnover. Later in the afternoon, a scoop of rainbow sorbet in a sugar cone.

Sunday: (At Grammy and her husband’s anniversary party) Chocolate cake with chocolate and white chocolate mousse filling. Fun-sized Hershey bars.

Monday: Pancakes with high fructose corn syrup maple syrup substitute. Two scoops of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, plus bites of Cherry Garcia and Berry Berry Sorbet. Leftover chocolate cake.

Tuesday: French toast with high fructose corn syrup maple syrup substitute. Three kinds of frozen yogurt — pineapple guava, watermelon, and mango — topped with gummy worms and mango boba balls (juice filled-gelatin spheres that pop and squish).


Today: Part of a chocolate doughnut for breakfast. Two tubes of sour gel and a box of SourPatch watermelon. A can of light-up soda. (It turned out to be flavored like a Cherry Sprite.)

Oh, and I hardly ever let my kids have soda. This week, because we ate at so many fast food places, I relaxed my restrictions. In for a penny, in for the Gross National Product of China, right? I would not be surprised to learn my son is running on root beer instead of oxygen and hemoglobin.

At least we decided not to stop at Krispy Kreme on the way home from the movies. That might have been the only restraint we showed all week.



image credit: Dad’s Guide to Disney World

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