I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time. And, I know I’m going to get a lot of grief for it, but here goes . .
I’m waging war against cupcakes.
I like cupcakes. But, I feel as if cupcakes are overtaking our lives.
Lately I’ve been noticing a trend when I pick up my girls at school: Frosting is smeared all over their mouths. While I’m slightly annoyed by their messy eating habits, what I’m more annoyed about is that they’re eating yet another cupcake.
Day after day, cupcake after cupcake is doled out in classrooms because it is someone’s birthday.
Totaling up the students in my 3 girls’ classrooms, that comes to 69 birthdays. Add to that the 10 or so after-school bake sales and I’ve nearly 80 days a year that I’m dealing with cupcakes, donuts, or some other sweet treat directly after school.
I’m guilty of being part of the cupcake parade. I’ve caved to the pressure of my girls begging me to make cupcakes, donuts or other sweet treat to be passed out in their classrooms for their birthdays. But, I’m caught in the downward spiral, and every time I want to jump off the ride, I wonder, “If I don’t send a sweet treat for the class, will everyone remember my girls as the one who didn’t bring in cupcakes for their birthdays?” Am I that weak?
I don’t deny my family treats – baked goods, ice cream, candy. But I don’t let them indulge in treats every day. When they do have them, they are often home made – partly because of the cost, mostly because I like to know what is in them.
Around here, Safeway is the store of choice for school birthday treats. And, anyone who has ever had a Safeway cupcake or cookie can attest to the addictive nature of the frosting! In fact, a quick internet search for the ingredients in the Safeway cupcake netted a lot of discussion boards on the addictive nature of their cakes. And with 280 calories, 120 mg of sodium, 5 grams of fat – along with some hard-to-distinguish ingredients – in one cupcake, I’m a bit annoyed.
I don’t really think cupcakes are a great after-school choice. (or in-school choice . . . especially when I don’t’ know about it until I pick up the kids from school).
After school, my kids are hungry, and they are getting ready for homework or some sort of swimming, baseball, soccer or dance, I don’t need them filling up on sweets – I’d rather they have something that will give them energy to get through the rest of the day. A cupcake after school means they aren’t readily hungry for something healthier, and when they come down from their sugar rush, they are already deep into their after-school activities.
I guess the overall question is: Why do we need to celebrate birthdays in school with treats? Yes, you may say it is only once a year, but with 22+ kids in the class, the birthdays and multiple after-school bake sales, the treats can add up.
Yes, I could play the Mean Mom (or the Treat Police) and tell my kids not to eat it, but really, all I’m asking for is a little support here. Think about the numbers. Think about your kids. Think about their health, their performance during sports practices, their concentration during homework . . .
I have to applaud my girls’ 1st grade teacher. She didn’t allow the treats in class – I believe because someone in the class had a food allergy. I also know of other schools that completely cut out the birthday treats for the food allergy reason. But, what I’m wondering is, why can’t we choose something more meaningful than another cupcake dished out to 20+ friends in the classroom, many of whom are not their close friends.
What about small notes from each class member noting what it is they may like about that person? Let them read a favorite book or poem on their birthday. Or giving them a privilege for a day.
Yes, I could play the Treat Police, and tell my kids not to eat the cupcakes. But that temptation is just too great for an elementary school child.
It is hard to see my kids retreating from their classroom at the end of the day with frosting affixed to their chins. Can we all stop this cupcake madness!
This is my own personal Cupcake War – don’t hate me for it.