A tale of chocolates
There are two times a year when German kids are inundated with chocolates. One is during the Christmas season, and the other is - you guessed it, Easter!
Now I'm not the kind of mother who does not allow my children to eat sweets, but I do try to limit their intake because they're already getting a fair bit of sugar from their morning cereals, muesli bars, fruit pouches and various other snacks they have throughout the day. Also, I don't really have a sweet tooth myself so we don't typically keep lollies or candies at home, except for the occasional chocolate every now and then. But Christmas and Easter? That's a whole different ballgame!
It's almost impossible to deny the kids a chocolate rabbit or two whenever we go shopping for food, or for anything really, when there are huge displays of chocolate in all their colourful, wrapped, Easter-bunny glory right at the entrances/exits of the store. (I see what you're doing there, Edeka!) Even so, we try to ration their intake and only let the boys have a 'treat' after dinner every now and then, whenever they've been especially well-behaved (or when we desperately need a bribe)!
BUT, there are plenty of kindly older German women in particular, who like to randomly dole out sweets and chocolates to little children, especially at this time of year. I have to admit, it makes a nice change from the 'telling off' you sometimes get from said group of women if they think you're not doing something right with your kid, but this used to be a point of contention with me, especially when the kids were much younger.
It's almost impossible to take away the chocolates or packets of Haribo from my kids without resulting in a meltdown once they have it in their hands. I tend to politely refuse if they ask me if it's okay to give the children something, but most don't ask. They see your child smiling at them (and I happen to have two incredibly social children who like to talk to everyone they meet at the supermarket) and the next thing you know, they reach into their bag, pull out a candy, and voila! Your kids gets a treat just for being cute.
These days, I don't mind it as much. After living here for nearly an accumulative 3.5 years, I guess it doesn't surprise me anymore when it happens. Because we don't keep sweets in the house, I don't mind it so much when someone else gives the boys a treat. I've learned to see it as an act of kindness rather than someone trying to ruin healthy habits I'm not-very-successfully trying to instil in my kids.
This morning, Liam was being loud and noisy while we were waiting in front of a neighbour's house for his ride to kindergarten. He was jumping and shouting and throwing stones at the grate in front of the house. It was barely 7.30am and no amount of shushing or cajoling could get him to keep still or quiet. Soon enough, the blinds to the house went up and a window opened. I immediately steeled myself for a scolding to keep my child quiet. Instead, an older women popped her head out and smiled and waved. I tried to apologise but she waved away my apology. A minute later, she came out of the front door, and you guessed it, gave Liam a little chocolate rabbit! He went off to kindergarten with the biggest smile on his face and his precious chocolate in his hand.
It was a simple gesture. It was a chocolate on a stick. But it put a smile on my child's face. And most importantly, it was kind and generous, which means so much more to me than the fact that my kids have been eating chocolates nearly everyday this week. 😧
Also, it is nearly Easter, after all. And if you can't beat em, join em.