This morning I stocked up on Easter eggs for the grandchildren. I had commented to my daughter yesterday that I had thus far purchased no chocolate eggs, whereupon she told me that she hoped I would do so as she had bought none either and was relying on me to fulfil her children’s desire for chocolate.
She was fully expecting her Uncle Neil, my brother-in-law, to turn up with a plentiful supply. (He can be relied on to visit with supplies of all sorts of stuff: clothes his wife has chosen for the smallest in the family, toys for the same one, treats of various kinds for the older offspring, including tickets to music concerts, bottles of wine for Phil and me, and even dog treats for our daughter’s daft dog! He goes supplied with similar gifts when he visits our son down near London.) Her almost in-laws can also be counted on to provide chocolate eggs and so our daughter feels no obligation to add to the sugar rush. Maybe I should work on the same principle.
Too late now; the eggs are bought.
In today’s Guardian magazine there is an article about an experiment in which certain journalists handed over control of the family to the children. For a pre-determined period of time, a weekend for example, the children set the rules and the parents had to abide by them. Inevitably the children consumed far more rubbish food - sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks, fastfood - than they would normally be allowed.
Interestingly, in one family with teenage children those older children demanded that their mother cooked more exotic meals than usual for them. As there were also smaller children requesting a diet of pizza and biscuits, the mother quickly found herself resorting to pre-prepared pizza dough and even sending out for Chinese takeaways.
The children also spent more time watching television, playing on the wii or other electronic entertainments (ie computer games), demanding access to their parents’ iPhones and tablets and other usually restricted activities.
At the same time they made requests for more of their parents’ time. Those of an age to have bedtime stories read to them ruled that story-time would only stop when THEY felt they had had enough. Both parents were to read at the same time, or at least both be present for bedtime - bedtime being decided of course by the children. Older children asked for family games evening to be organised. And parents who felt that they rarely argued found themselves being instructed that arguing was forbidden, especially in the presence of the offspring.
One child got herself so overexcited by the sugar-rush that she asked for the experiment to be finished ahead if the allotted time, declaring that it clearly was not working.
An interesting experiment!
Elsewhere in the magazine, Barbara Ehrenreich was writing about those of us who are old enough to set our own rules all the time. Her main topic was the way people who die young have their lifestyle analysed and often blamed for their early death. She even maintained at one point that Steve Jobs’ death from pancreatic cancer was hastened along by his vegan and high fruit content diet. “... a case could be made that it was the fruitarian diet that killed him: metabolically a diet of fruit is equivalent to a diet of candy, only with fructose rather than glucose, with the effect that the pancreas is strained to constantly produce more insulin.”
I wonder how true that is. I am not a dietician or a nutritionist but I was under the impression that eating fruit as it comes, rather than blended into smoothies, meant that the fruit sugar was less dangerous and more easily absorbed by the body.
I have no intention of giving up fruit!
Getting back to the Easter eggs, I read that Ferrero, which apparently owns Thornton’s, is warning that after Brexit there may be delays in the supply of their chocolate eggs and other Thornton’s chocolate products. Much of the stuff they sell in Britain is manufactured in Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Italy. Unless they sort out all the border and import-export rules and regulations, there may be problems.
Maybe we should stock up on Thornton’s products and Ferrero-Rocher. Or perhaps we could just ask children to sort out the Brexit rules.