Sunday, 31 August 2014

The tiny monster within

At home on a lovely summer evening it's easy to overhear what is happening in the backyards around me. The following exchange between my neighbours and their daughter H was quite hilarious to me, until I recognized myself in it.  I should mention that H is a sweet and cheery 2 year old.  Oh, and I don't have kids, so I'm free to laugh at this sort of thing.

Neighbours: OK H, come and get your ice cream.
H: Yayyy!!!  Ice cream!!!
(footsteps running)
H: Yum!
(spoons clinking on bowls)
H: More ice cream?
Neighbours: No, that's enough H.
H: More ice cream!!
Neighbours: No.  We can have more tomorrow.
(screaming, crying, and doors closing)

These neighbours of mine appear to be conscious of their food choices and the way they raise their daughter, judging from their lush veggie garden and her tasteful outfits.  And yet, the tiny mindless eating monster lurks within her...

A few weeks later I experienced an equally hilarious, if more disturbing, demonstration of the tiny monster within at No Frills.  A sinister marketing expert had placed bags of massive candy-coloured marshmallows in the bin in front of the checkout, right at kid eye-height.  These things were as big as kittens, and just as alluring to anyone under 10 years old.

The first drama happened right in front of me.  A man and his two kids were loading their groceries onto the checkout when his daughter spotted the marshmallows. "Daddy, can we have those?"  He answered in the negative, of course.  "Pleeeeeaassssse???"  The daddy stayed strong.  That's when things got ugly.  The little girl before me transformed into a 3 foot, 50 pound, punching machine, throttling her dad over and over for the marshmallows.

The next unsuspecting parents got it even worse.  A similar dialogue occurred between them and their son (who had a mohawk and was actually named "Cowboy").  When Cowboy didn't get his way with the marshmallows, he launched into a full-on wobbler, his screams and cries ricocheting off the industrial walls of No Frills.

After a summer dominated by apathy towards mindful eating, I'm now trying to face that tiny monster within.  I'm being re-inspired by the people around me, a fancy new phone app, and an online course, but I've still got that insidious voice inside me that is convinced I will die if I don't have something sweet in the middle of the afternoon.  The voice that thinks I deserve a treat because I'm going to be stuck in a car for a few hours.  

The easy route, as anyone who has dealt with a tantrum knows, is to give in to that tiny monster, just to SHUT IT UP.  And, as everyone knows, that is a short-term solution, because the monster will come back, louder and even more insistent than the day before.