My son’s innocent question while grocery shopping sends me into a tailspin: “Mom, can we buy candy corn?”
Literal answer? Yes. Can I resist from binge-eating the entire 18-ounce container? Probably not. Do I want to pass on my bad sugar cravings to my children? No. But do I want them to be able to enjoy seasonal treats? Yes, absolutely.
“So?” My son taps his foot, waiting for my response. “Can we?”
“Sure,” I stammer, not wanting to linger in front of the display a moment longer. The candy pumpkins are also calling to me.
Sugar, corn syrup, honey, salt, confectioner’s glaze, egg whites, artificial flavor, carnauba wax, soy protein, artificial colors — I try not to think about all the empty calories I’ve agreed to feed my family.
Carnauba wax? That sounds gross, but I know from experience it will be delicious. Not that I’m going to eat any. No way, I’m definitely going to resist, because to eat one piece of candy corn is to gobble 100. Besides, it’s not even Halloween yet, so I have no business eating candy.
We pay for the groceries, drive home and the kids both eat handfuls of candy corn before I’ve put the milk away. I remain stoic — a bastion of self-discipline — for one hour and 33 minutes. Then I nibble my first piece of sickeningly sweet goodness.
“What are you doing?” My husband asks, walking into the kitchen and catching me in the act. “You told me last year that you were never buying candy corn again.”
“It’s just one piece,” I say, eyeing the candy corn and immediately wanting more.
He shakes his head disapprovingly. “It’s never just one piece.”
I shovel a scoop into my mouth and my cheeks puff out like I’m a squirrel preparing for a hard winter. “You’re right,” I admit. I turn the package around and read that one serving of candy corn is 18 pieces and 110 calories. “I need to handle this like a mature 41-year-old woman who cares about her family’s health and teaches her children good habits,” I mumble with my mouth packed with candy.
I take out eight snack-sized Tupperware containers and count out 18 pieces into each one — four for my son and four for my daughter — and deliver them to their rooms. “This is all the candy corn you get this year,” I tell them. “Make it last.”
“We will,” they promise.
I dump the rest of the candy corn into the moldy compost bin in the back yard and stir it into the muck for good measure.
The next morning, I find eight empty containers of candy corn. So much for the kids taking it slow and exercising moderation.
“That’s it,” I declare. “I’m never buying candy corn again.”
My husband raises his eyebrows and gives me a look. “That’s what you said last year.”
Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.