I am lost. I used to have principles. I used to believe in things. But my children have wrung any idealism out of me and left me an empty vessel with a broken moral compass. I also, as a side note, really hate Jamie Oliver. It’s nothing about him personally. He seems nice enough. I also enjoy his recipes. It’s just that I really, really hate him. Let me explain.
Sugar. The tabloid poison of our age. You see news pictures of obese children waddling down the street, the fatness epidemic is spreading like a zombie virus. You hear the urban myths about the legendary five year old who had to have all his teeth removed because he only ate sweets. You fail at all other parenting objectives so you decide that all you can reasonably achieve is to make your children occasionally say “please”, and stand between them and the sugar tidal wave engulfing our society. They will not eat sugar. Not while there is still breath in my body. I’ll will hurl myself between them and the obesity bullet, bellowing the words “I love you” as I fly through the air. This far. No further. Sugar! You shall not pass!
“If you eat some of your peas, you can have a chocolate biscuit.”
I can hear the words coming out of my mouth. Yes, I am saying it. I am utterly corrupt. I am the box ticking civil servant accepting the backhander. I am the shill of the evil sugar giant fat cats. It’s not even the first time I’ve bribed my children with a chocolate biscuit. Today.
Here’s the thing, though. Sugar bribery works. When you are out of ideas, thoroughly exhausted, ground down, defeated and lost, to have just one reliable tool is… gold.
“No peas, no chocolate biscuit.” You drone wearily. At least, you reflect with a jaded chuckle, your children can’t bring you any lower. After all the failures and compromises, there is no further humiliation they can visit upon you to top this.
“No, daddy.” Your son says finally, eyebrows arched, turning away from his peas. “I don’t want a chocolate biscuit. Chocolate biscuits have got sugar in. And daddy?” He fixes you with the look of a disappointed teacher. “Sugar is bad for you. Jamie Oliver told me.”