Snack. There, I’ve said it. What was once a loving term for the satiating of hunger in those in-between times before big meals is fast becoming a dreaded cussword in my house. Like any new infatuation with a bad word, the kids are repeating this one to me all. the. time. They say it to goad me, to instigate me, to frustrate me (as if all the other other times aren’t enough!), to get a rise out of me, to make me react (increasingly ending in an inevitable yelling session), and only rarely because they’re actually hungry.
Here’s the thing: I will willingly offer them real, the-original-true-meaning “snack” a 100 times a day. I will. I’m not one of those parents who believe in strict mealtimes. I get that sometimes you’re just not hungry for a meal meal. All you want is something to nibble on. But they’re NOT hungry for apple or crackers or plain yogurt. Heavens, no. R will weep like someone’s abducting his beloved for a Popsicle. He will follow me around crying “but why, mama,” like he cannot fathom the extent of my cruelty if I say no to a Popsicle at 5pm. They know that I’m dashing madly around to get dinner ready to fill their stomachs and somehow this makes them crave a snack with more fervour than a lost tourist craves an oasis in the Sahara.
It’s not only the witching evening hour that the word “snack” hurts my butt. We only have to strap our on seat belts for the snack chant to begin from the back. Never mind that we haven’t even backed out of the garage yet. It happens at the swimming pool (legit), at the mall (partially legit since I’m the one to offer it), right after breakfast (what?!), basically anywhere, and usually without warning.
I’ve tried to make it into a game to distract them (hey, I can be a playful parent, you know). “From today,” I announce, “snack will be called food and food will be snack”. I think they will get confused and falter and we can all collapse in a happy heap on the floor laughing at our silliness. Ha. All this approach, let me tell you, leads to is some burnt veggies on the stove — another reason for them to turn up their nose on an already dubious dinner.
So, dear friends, I’m going to have to take a radical approach to this. I’ve had enough. I will not let “snack” dictate my relationship with my kids. I will wrestle control back from this b%#ch. Only I do not have a firm plan yet. But I will, once I give it some thought over some nibbles.