When my daughter was just a toddler, I started to see how often sugary treats were coming into the house — candy-filled favor bags from birthday parties, lollipops from friendly bank clerks, sweets from overzealous grandparents and all the rest. One day I’d simply had it, so I showed her an empty basket I’d found in a closet somewhere and said in my Official Mommy Edict tone, “See this basket? It’s where we’re going to put our candy from now on until it’s time for a special treat.”
And thus the Treat Basket was born.
For years afterward, most of my kids’ daily candy haul wound up in the Treat Basket. One or two pieces might be retrieved when a treat was called for, a few choice items were consumed late at night by me and my husband (horrible, I know), and the rest grew stale and was eventually thrown away.
You would think it might have occurred to my otherwise pretty intelligent kids to ask why, like the Roach Motel, what went into the Treat Basket rarely came out, but for some reason they promptly forgot about it — maybe because in today’s sugar-laden world, the next gratuitous candy give-away was usually just around the corner.
Over the years, though, I could see my kids slowly clueing into the parental betrayal. I’d bring the basket down from its high shelf and someone would spot the broken candy canes from last year’s holiday party that I’d forgotten to toss out, and the little mental gears would start to turn. Eventually, of course, the jig was up.
These days we still use that basket but now it’s more like Candy Escrow: the kids exact solemn promises from me to save specially-prized treats for the next sanctioned candy-eating opportunity, and, like little elephants, they never forget what’s in there. With respect to the rest of the sweets that I insist we get rid of (or not take when offered in the first place), I’m now officially the Bad Guy.
So as I prepare this week to post on Halloween candy (what to give/what to do with the haul), I recall fondly the simpler times when the trusty Treat Basket did all the dirty work for me, and no one was the wiser.
R.I.P., old friend. You served us well.