• J Mess


Some people call it hoarding, I call it feeding a toddler.

I was really trying this time around to lose the baby weight once and for all. I was taking it slow, working out, watching and logging what I ate. I had a plan. And you'll be happy to know I had also set a completely unrealistic goal for myself... to be back in my old clothes by my 40th birthday. Which is like the end of this week, so there's that. Clearly not happening. Unfortunately a couple of things have been working hard against my valiant quest. One, good old metabolism. It's about as slow as I am these days. Then there's that pesky global pandemic forcing me to be housebound with two small children. Meaning if I want to workout or do anything for myself, I have to get up at 5am before the monsters rouse. Also I have nowhere to go and no activities, besides just sitting around all day and eating my feelings. Lastly there's the fact that Nathan has recently become the snack king of Long Island and being surrounded by kid snacks and locked in the house everyday isn't exactly an ideal way to lose weight.

Maybe I should just tell him that the food is being rationed. Sadly it's only a half fib.

Before school was cancelled, the second Nathan would walk through the door he would be asking for snacks. He literally crossed the threshold into the house, turned and said "I want snacks. And my milk. And my iPad. And milk. I want strawberries and goldfish." Whoa kid relax. I could barely keep up with it, it was like getting food-order whiplash while simply trying to enter my house and take my shoes off. I barely even had time to cheerily say, "Hi, I'm Mommy, I'll be your server today, can I start you off with a beverage?" Then he would simply repeat his list of demands nonstop until I relented. Once I fulfilled his order, he'd plow through bowls of fruit like it was going out of style and when I'd tell him he could not eat any more fruit, he'd coldly stare at me and say "I still hungry. I want something else."

"I want something else" has quickly become Nathan's new favorite phrase. He uses it repeatedly during his 8-hour long, nonstop snacking time. He uses it to not eat the meals I prepare for him and instead ask for additional snacks. He uses it to try to sneak in requests for candy. And he uses it to stall indefinitely before bedtime. My initial response is always the same. "What would you like to have?" Usually quickly followed by "no, you cannot have goldfish, you just had cheez-its and those are basically the exact same thing only in a different shape," or "no, we do not eat goldfish for dinner," or "absolutely NO MORE MUFFIES." He was mindlessly eating so many snacks that when we finally sat down for dinner, he wasn't hungry or interested.

Now "what do you want for dinner?" is quickly followed by "we don't eat lollipops for dinner."

Now that we don't leave the house, I am a 24/7 server. It's like I work at a roadside diner. Except we don't eat any meals, just snacks. All I do is run around getting concessions for an ungrateful customer. All day long. The demands are nonstop. And recently he's also been astute enough to take total advantage of this crisis to extort massive amounts of lollipops. Which he now refers to specifically as "candy lollipops" not to be confused with the chocolate lollipops that he also frequently demands. Between potty training rewards, behavioral modification, desperation to keep him quiet while we're working, and just plain old isolation and despair, Nathan has eaten so many lollipops that he's become overqualified to run the lollipop guild of munchkin land. When the first bag of 200 ran out, I considered not replacing them and instead offering him "something else."

However the poor kid has lost everything else from his normal routine, why deprive him of sugary joy. Besides he's now figured out how to open the pantry door, take his step stool, and get his own snacks, so at least he's learned resourcefulness and problem solving while he's been home schooled...

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