12 November 2009
“Mom! We’re going to have parties in school!” My three kids, twin girls in third grade and a singleton boy in first, came bursting through the front door after school a few weeks ago and bombarded me with written guidelines regarding the upcoming holiday celebrations in each classroom. At first glance, the smiling jack-o-lantern at the heading brought on feelings of nostalgia, and memories of my classmates in costumes, trick-or-treating around the school and coming back to our desks to enjoy cupcakes and cookies that homeroom moms decorated in festive colors. The reminiscing made me smile. Then I read the notes.
In the spirit of healthy choices, a list of acceptable party foods had been drawn up for all three of my kids’ classes. On it were carrot sticks, grapes, water bottles, pretzels and celery. Further, salsa was recommended as an appropriate alternative to ranch dressing or cheese dip for the veggies. Right here, right now, let me say, I’m all in favor of health and fitness. I buy the leanest poultry, choose fruits and vegetables as snacks, and purchase only skim milk. We exercise regularly, and have the kids involved in sports. With that said, are they kidding me with Healthy Halloween? The whole purpose of the holiday is to acquire as much candy as possible to eat, to classify, to count, to trade - then sometime close to December, when it has taken up counter space long enough - to have Mom toss to some very lucky backyard critters when the kids aren’t looking.
As I glumly turned to the next page of the family letter, I noticed that our dutiful health advisors had no intention of stopping at Halloween. For birthdays, it’s fruit kabobs or a craft. I’ve never seen a fruit kabob, but I doubt it’s something I could write on with icing. Finally, they closed in on Thanksgiving. Acknowledging that many of us who have never heard about diet and exercise would gorge ourselves amongst loved ones, the recommendation was made that we be active afterwards, perhaps with a game of Follow the Leader. Fair enough. I like that game and can guarantee that when I’m done eating a fine turkey dinner, I will announce, “Grab your forks and follow me…we’re headed to the pie table.”