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I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Scariest Day of the Year

I love Hallowe'en, truly I do. I always dress up. (Why, just last year, I attended a Hallowe'en party where my old man, Feral Mom, and I were the only adults in costume. We know how to have fun while looking stupid in a socially acceptable way.) I go to parties, take my kid out trick or treating. I get into it.

But of course, there's a part of me that fears and hates Hallowe'en. It is, after all, the holiday most designed to destroy and decimate the teeth of children everywhere, and many adults too. The thought of my little O. bathing his teeth in sticky, gooey, sugary crap at length during various points throughout the day fills me with unmitigated horror. (Cue chilling music.) Yesterday, however, I managed to stay cool. I know that allowing O. to fully experience normal, fun childhood occasions is more important, ultimately, than protecting his teeth from mouth-rotting garbage every single day of the year. Hey, 363 days a year ain't bad. (We'll talk about Easter later.)

My Old Man helps me keep things in perspective. He loves and values Hallowe'en, and he also balances out my oral hygiene vigilance with a more, shall we say, holistic perspective on sugary candy. With his help, I stayed fairly relaxed yesterday. I only had two major moments of anal retentive Oral-Hygiene-Queen-Mama freakage:

1. O. is eating a lollipop while trick or treating. I am maintaining my cool. It's okay. We'll swish his mouth out with water the minute we get home. The Old Man is helping him down the stairs of a house we've just visited, and O. is having trouble simultaneously holding his treat bag, his lolly, and his daddy's hand. "You can just hold the lollipop in your mouth, sweetie," advises the Old Man, very reasonably. Before I can think it through, though, the image of that little rock of solid sugar just hanging out in O's mouth makes me snap: "What, are you crazy? That's the worst thing you can do!" Seeing the alarmed looks of my husband and son, I stop and pull myself together. "But, then again, if it's just for a minute while he walks down the stairs," (self-conscious chuckle) "I suppose it's fine..."

2. O. has gone to bed. I can't resist. While my kid is still young enough not to have a minutely-detailed mental inventory of his loot, I must purge it of all the really bad stuff. The chocolate can stay, mostly. (After all, chocolate is good for your teeth.) Although the three small boxes of milk duds have to go. The hard candy all goes, except three lollipops that at least have the virtue of not being choking hazards (and not having gum inside - those get chucked). Several other sugary candies touting themselves as "chewy" are discreetly trashed. I feel a little guilty, but mostly triumphant.

And now it's All Saint's Day, a holy day of obligation in the church of my upbringing. I doubt I'll be going to mass. But maybe I'll stop by my local pagan chapel to confess my sins against Hallowe'en.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when he's old enough to inventory, you'll leave the bad stuff?


What was his costume?

5:02 PM  
Blogger E. said...

When he's old enough to inventory, I'll have to decide whether it's worth the fight.

O. was a black cat for Hallowe'en, complete with face paint whiskers and a tail made from an old black fake-feather boa.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Seriously, I thought of dentists everywhere when I saw my daughter tearing into a package of Sugar Babies.

I made my girls' six-month teeth cleaning appointments today. I could tell I wasn't the only one.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I usually let my kids go crazy the first 2 days. Believe it or not, they usually get bored with it after that. Then, whatever's left at Thanksgiving, I chuck.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Lucky Star said...

I hope you give out floss to your trick or treaters....

For me, it's the hyperactivity not so much the teeth thing, but the holiday sucks--I'll drink to that!

5:45 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

Ben had his last dental checkup a couple weeks before Halloween. The hygienist made sure to explain to him which sort of candy is OK and which stuff should be eschewed rather than chewed. Ben's a good boy, so he bought into it. He didn't object at all. The Starburst, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, and new Chewy SweeTarts all went in the trash. (Mr. Tangerine saved the Bit-o-Honeys for himself.) The dentist approves of chocolate and crunchy candies (your Smarties, Nerds, et al.).

It's not at all bitchy to toss the evilly sticky candy. You just have to teach the kid early on that that stuff is crap and ruins teeth.

What is bitchy is filtering out all the Kit Kats for yourself. But really, no child needs 100 pieces of candy, so a responsible parent will eat the most tempting morsels and spare the child.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Esereth said...'re gonna be one of THOSE kinds of moms...hmm? :)

Your son isn't going to be taken seriously in his rock career with perfect teeth, you know.

10:59 AM  
Blogger E. said...

Oh, honey, I am one of those kind of moms. Man, I was that kind of mom before I even had a kid. Probably from about age 15 on.

Sugar Babies... I get the willies at the very thought. Like Milk Duds, they haunt my bad dreams.

10:07 PM  
Blogger jen said...

ha...nothing worse than the collision between hygiene and halloween...i say turn a blind eye for just one night (or vacation out of the country yearly)

2:16 PM  

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