I've always had a crazy sweet tooth. When I was three my mom took me to the dentist, and he told her, "If you don't stop feeding your daughter candy, all of her teeth will fall out." She tried. In my ballet class, the teacher would hand out candy bars to all the ballerinas during break-- somehow I don't think they do that anymore-- and when my mom told me I couldn't have my break time Snickers, I stomped out of ballet class and never looked back. We'd go to the store, and I'd fling myself down mid-aisle and wail my little heart out, and Nana Pat would whisper in Mom's ear, "One little piece won't hurt her, will it?"
Those baby teeth didn't stand a chance.
In school I moved on to blow pops, pop rocks, and Abba Zabbas. Once in eighth grade, at my friend Jenny's house, I made myself sick on candy and soda, and my mom had to come and pick me up. I thought I'd get in trouble if I told her I'd eaten a gigantic bag o' dime candy and watched Mtv all night, so I just pretended to have food poisoning. It wasn't until a few years ago that my mom finally asked me if Jenny and I had been boozing it up that night. All this time my mom thought I was a 12-year-old lush.
As an adult my sweet tooth has changed. The Abba Zabbas are too hard on my teeth these days, and instead of Snickers, I enjoy a dark chocolate turtle. Although, I have to admit that I do still really get a kick out of drinking anything cold and fizzy through a red licorice straw. Yum.
Lately, though, it's become somewhat of a problem. The smidgen of conscientiousness I used to have about how much sugar my body could safely intake has completely disappeared. Right now, for example, it's 10:30 at night, I've sent the children to bed without dessert because it's not healthy to eat sweets this late at night, but I'm popping Jelly Bellys like it's 1985.
I can eat 2/3 of a box of Trader Joe's chocolate covered almonds (or if feeling particularly evil, Oreos) in one sitting, and I have. I have cookies for breakfast, and I don't even wait for my tea to steep before I start in on them.
Poor Buckaroo is probably getting a sugar high from his supply of breastmilk.
Karen, my friendly neighborhood therapist, has suggested that I'm masking my anxiety about moving across the country with food. She says that people who overeat don't have the brain switch in that flips on when our tummies are full (I think, in junior high, I yanked that switch out of the wall and stomped on it) so we have to think about our state of fullness logically when we're eating, "Am I full now?" "How about now?"
She also says my brain is confusing fatigue with hunger, and when I'm craving chocolate torte it's because my body is wanting to use the sugar as an energy boost, so what I really need, instead, is to take a nap.
I tried it on Friday. I had a crazy hankering for a hunk of chocolate, but Buckaroo fell asleep, so instead of giving in to my craving, I took a nap with him. He sleeps much better when we're snuggled up together, and we had a good, long, luxurious siesta. When we awoke I celebrated my accomplishment with a big slice of cake-- wheat-free, of course.