Sunday, March 28, 2010

No Gum Intended



Last week Lucy told me she might cancel
her annual family Easter Egg Hunt held on their mini-farm.

"Ric and I aren't ready." She explained.

But when she sent an email out to the family notifying everyone of their intentions there was nothing short of a family mutiny.

"YOU CAN'T CANCEL THE EASTER EGG HUNT!" Everyone shouted via messages. "WE WILL SHOW UP ANYWAY!'

And that is because my family loves our traditions.

Lucy and Ric waved their white flag: "WE SURRENDER! COME NEXT SATURDAY!"

And that's when someone terribly health-conscious in the family suggested we sacrifice the traditional Easter candy and instead use seeds to fill Easter eggs.

I am sorry. Seeds?

That totally blows.

Look, I am all for new approaches to old rituals, but what child wants to open a basket full of Easter eggs and find zucchini rocks? Where is the reward for having out-smarted the hunt? Turnips? Radishes without high fructose corn syrup? Non-partially hydrogenated rhubarb?

Let the kids have jelly beans, for Easter's sake.

"I bought egg-shaped gum." Lucy told me later as she contemplated filling over 300 eggs with a viable treat inside (viable treat, seeds are not).

Gum?

Our family has a new motto, "Accept Everything With Gratitude" for the purpose of seeing God in all things. But I've never loved gum. It is sticky, stringy and rolled in spit. It actually turned me off in my dating years. There is a plethora of ways to refresh the mouth, and gum seems to be the least polished.

But here I was coming face-to-face with something I couldn't see the best of. Gum.

It was better than seeds . . . there was a start.

On Saturday morning we joined the crowd of family at the Beesley farm. The Chief came prepared with his tin basket, ready to retrieve. The whole excitement of finding eggs was lessened, however, when a fire bug flew directly into his bucket and became much more thrilling than the actual hidden prizes.

"BUG! BUG! BUG!"

See Dad? Bug?

See Mom? Bug!

See Umi? Bug.

So on.

Made me think maybe next year we should nix the candy and seeds and just fill every egg up with squirming insects.

When the hunt was over and lemon-wheat cinnamon rolls were devoured, we said our good byes, and with a bucket full of plastic eggs and one bug we headed to run some errands--the most pressing being fuel for our car. Only on our way to fill up we actually ran out of gas. Chup heroically pushed us off the busy State street and rolled us to a nearby neighborhood. I called the one brother I always call when I run out of gas, Andrew, who was just leaving the hunt with his family. He was about fifteen minutes away.

Great. I thought. The Chief doesn't sit still. I mean, I know most two-year olds don't. But My Dude, he will give you a hefty ten minutes before baby claustrophobia sets in and he goes mad. We had run out of gas, that was one thing, but The Chief's temper was only minutes away from dropping. That was another.

(Yes, we've tried a DVD player in the car. Still, ten minutes.)

Just as The Chief was beginning to arch his back like we had put him in a transportable torture chamber, Chup opened up one of the Easter eggs and spilled out the gum.

"Does he chew gum?" Chup asked.

"We'll see." I replied.

Chup popped a gum egg into The Chief's mouth.

And suddenly, we had magic.

We didn't hear from our son for the duration of our adventure. Not in the rest of the waiting period. Not when we filled our large tank up with gas. Not as we drove around town doing this-and-that. Every so often we'd look back at him pleasantly looking out the window as his mouth chewed in perfect motion.
He even spit out the gum and fell asleep before we arrived home.

Gum had quite seriously saved the day. It is true, keep a child's mouth busy, buy yourself some time.

And in my mind I started to calculate all the situations where gum could change our lives. Church! Restaurants! Checking my email! Plane rides! Stroller rides! Pony rides!

As soon as we get a pony.

Later that day I texted Lucy and thanked her for the party. And I added, "thanks for not doing seeds" --for not giving into the trendiness of alternative treats.

And as soon as she reads this post, she'll know why.

70 comments:

nido said...

I should try this trick with my 2 year old daughter:) I always use a jelly belly bean here and there, but it disappears quickly! Gum must be better!

madsta said...

that sounds so fun! I really want to live on a mini farm! and gum is what gets me through every French lesson! i spend so long concentrating on chewing it!

julie said...

wow, I feel so honored to be the FIRST message leaver!!!!
I guess that's what your advantages are at 3 in the morning when your puppy has to pee...
love you and your post!
and even gum....rolled in spit...and swapped with my husband!
take care!

Mama Llama said...

For the love of dentures! Just make sure you buy sugar free gum.

Tanya and Colin said...

We started giving our son gum around the same age and it made the twos so much better! Now if I could figure out something to get us through the threes!

Sage said...

My mother hated gum (she said it made you look like a cow chewing its cud). I still chewed it occasionally. I don't give it to my kids. My oldest chews it sometimes to rebel. I figure that's okay.

Yeah for Lucy giving in to tradition. And to the Chief for lasting longer than the flavor of the gum!

Sammi said...

I love that! Its hilarious!

I would really like chocolate easter eggs, however

The Boob Nazi said...

I haven't chewed gum in over 10 years... I don't remember what it's like.

Teachinfourth said...

Haven't you tried duct tape yet? That stuff ALWAYS works…even when gum won't.

Becci Hethcoat said...

Gum has saved my day as well. One time my son got car sick...yes...not pretty. I cleaned it up as best I could but we still had a long drive ahead of us so I gave my 3 children gun to chew and the smell of the gun overoad the smell of the...well, you know. We made it home alive all thanks to GUM. I agree...marvelous stuff.

thedomesticfringe said...

When I was kid, my mom regularly ran out of gas. It was always my job to walk to a pay phone to call my grandfather to come rescue us...needless to say, I fill up regularly. ;-)

Glad the gum saved the day! Save it for those times of desperation.

-FringeGirl

Amanda said...

I share your feelings about gum! It's pretty gross.

Anonymous said...

Gum for our two year old was a life saver too. We actually used it as a reward for potty training--> 3 days, baby. Gum is powerful currency, use it wisely :)

Anonymous said...

How did you get him not to swallow the gum?

springrose said...

Just be careful at home with the gum, or you will find gum ground into the carpet!! I love gum, it is a fabulous entertainer!!! Just don't start blowing bubbles for him or then other tantrums will ensue. Love the easter egg and pumpkin traditions at the farm.

Erica said...

i am so glad you also do not like gum... my husband swears i'm the only one on earth that finds it disgusting. most people can't just chew it... they smack it. fondle it. and then proceed to touch everything in their sights.

my 7 year old is just now allowed to chew it on special occasions. my girls, however, are not. 7 yrs is our magic number -- i just can't stand the thought of gum in the hair, in the carpet, etc etc etc.

with that said, i'm so glad it worked for you like only sugar magic can in desperate situations!

Jax said...

I love it. I wish I could hire you to write my life stories. Thanks for sharing!

Chelsie said...

I had a similar experience when my poor middle son left nursery and entered sunbeams. It was awful. All of the sitting still was not a favorite. He HATED IT. He cried and screamed and whined while all of the other somehow ANGEL classmates stared in horror at the misbehavior. It was so sad.

One day after sacrament meeting, my eldest asked for gum. So everyone asked for it.

And my middle son was completely different in primary that day.

Wierd.

But I am grateful to gum as well.

Something about it, I tell you.

Nicole said...

Lemon-wheat cinnamon rolls? Those sound amazing! Please share the recipe!!! Those sound perfect for our Easter table.

Cindy in PA said...

The greatest gum story ever. I mean family tradition. I mean parenting lesson.

I mean all of the above! Loved it.

The crazy Shaw Family said...

Ahh the blessed silence of a good gum chew! I have been known to resort to hard candy in church and had them have a competition to see who could go the longest without crunching or sucking it. The largest peice left wins. the record is 15 minutes with half a Butterscotch candy left. (I don't think the boy makes saliva!)

Kim said...

Courtney - You seriously had me laughing out loud through this entire post. Loved it. And love that you have traditions. :)

Kelly said...

LOL!!!! My two favorite lines:

"That totally blows."

and

"...I've never loved gum. It is sticky, stringy and rolled in spit."

I was laughing so hard at that last line. My kids thought I was nuts. That cracked me up. I have to admit, that's a new way (and totally accurate) to look at gum. Glad it saved the day, though.

My daughter's school enforces a "healthy alternatives" policy for what you bring to celebrate birthdays at school. Remember mom painstakingly baking colorful, yummy cupcakes and presenting them to your teacher and classmates with pride? Yeah, no. Now you have to bring "healthy snack alternatives" instead, or you can just bring a bag of useless party favor crap. Great. Like one mom said, there's 18 kids in the class. I think they'll be okay ingesting a bit of sugar 18 days a year out of 365. Ya think?

Great post, Cjane...loved it! :)

Amy said...

I don't comment often but I enjoy the honesty and humor of your blog so much! I have an almost 2-year-old so I empathize. I'm going to add your family motto to my life. Thank you for sharing!!!

-Amy
Crafting by Candlelight

Sarajane said...

it seems like all of your posts have so many comments- and today "0"- it might be because I am reading it so early- but I thought I should be the first today to tell you- thank you. thank you for writing what you think, and for saying what you mean. i am encouraged by your example and your words- especially when you said:
"She isn't less than, or more than, the next woman or man. She is her own entity which becomes cheapened when compared to others."
so thank you.

Jeannie said...

no treats in easter eggs is akin to no toys in happy meals! thank goodness she came to her senses! all this sort of 'careful' parenting is taking the fun out of everything. my sister is a teacher in 2nd grade and has a parent on a tear, wanting to ban candy from the school - not at parties, not given as a little treat / reward - BANNED. i am over it! (sorry, i'm still all up in it from the community topic)

ANYWAY ---> glad it worked for your little guy.

when's this baby coming????!!

Steve and Alli said...

I am so glad you wrote about the Chief not liking his "torture seat". I think I had the Sunday morning from, well that bad hot place, and oh how I wish I had anything to appease my little one. I never thought of GUM! I think you may have posted my tender mercy of the day- maybe we'll get things done today!

ElizabethFaust said...

Ha! I love it! Great post!

ElizabethFaust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pollydove said...

Am I really the first one to comment? Cool!

This post was adorable. I can just see that little baby chewing contently. :)

Anonymous said...

,,,gum it's the american way,,,

Anonymous said...

,,,gum it's the american way,,,

Shanon said...

Maybe your family motto should be "When all else fails, chews gum" :) HaHa

I love your real motto though. Gratitude is important, but sometimes hard for me to have. Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Hahaha! That's awesome! Definitely a better choice than seeds ;) I mean seeds are great and all....

I haven't tried gum with my 2.5 year old yet, but if I get desperate to control the wiggles or keep him contained at the store I just might!

{april kennedy} said...

I forgot how fun it was to give a child gum for the first time and watch their amazement with chewing and chewing and chewing. I wish my children would stop growing and I could get that same reaction with a piece of gum now!

Marianne said...

I like gum. But I had a bad experience a few times with little daughters who fell aslepp while chewing. The mornings brought a wad of gum in blonde tresses and many tears and snips with scissors!

Amy said...

I'm impressed he didn't just swallow it and keep asking for more. My kids can't seem to do that until they're about 4. I love when as parents we find something that works. Yay for you!

kwg said...

bwa ha ha!!! So funny! I am impressed by your son's ability to chew gum at such a young age. My kids are not so talented. Generally ended up in their belly or in their hair before 3 minutes was up.

Vicky said...

I'm actually surprised he didn't swallow it at his young age! Mine always did, however, you are right! It is magical how it can extinguish the tempers quickly! Glad you got to have your festivities without the seeds...heaven forbid!!

Allyson & Jere said...

Man, i wish that worked for me. I gave my 2 1/2 year old her first piece of gum and she PROMPTLY swallowed it. Apparently, she figured it was more like candy. Needless to say, I'm a bit leary of trying that again. So glad it worked for you though!

Kelly said...

HA! Loved this post. :) Reminds me of a friend of mine's son when he was three. She gave him that purple grape bubble gum -- the ones doused in saccarin powder and individually wrapped?? Anyway, he got it in his hair and as she was cutting it out with scissors his dad walked in. The boy looked up at his dad and said with a roll of his eyes, "I don't know WHY Mommy gives me purple gum." Priceless.

Glad your little guy got through it without incident!

Weezie said...

My mom filled our Easter eggs with Teddygrams and Goldfish last year, which was perfect for the little kids. However, the big kids were left eating Teddygrams and Goldfish, too. This year we've requested chocolate in the grown-up kids' baskets!

The Jones said...

bahaha...cjane...your family would get along so great with mine...I totally understand the whole "eat whole foods" But sometimes I cannot help but just laugh when they are terribly disgusted I am eating a chocolate bar...
And seeds? In the kids easter eggs?I'm sure you weren't surprised...I wouldnt be either! :)

Anonymous said...

I've used gum for potty training with 2 of my boys...it works wonders!!

Karen said...

I've always been a big fan of gum...Until I read the line "rolled in spit."

Thanks so much for ruining it for me. :-)

Anonymous said...

Love the sound of lemon-wheat cinnamon rolls!!!!! Could we get that recipe???
kori

Sunny girl said...

Cjane, Have to say I agree with your health minded sister. I have had a myriad of health challenges, and from them learned alot about our bodies. Sugar is very harmful to our bodies. We are much better off to focus on fruits and veggies, whole grains and quality protein, legumes and nuts. Our Maker's manual really is inspired. Treats should be very occasional, not a daily thing.

Anonymous said...

Lemon-wheat cinnamon rolls? I'll be needing that recipe. Yum.

sharpasatack said...

I'm a gum-chewer from way back, but I'm getting old and the jaw-clicking is starting to irritate me (and those who love me). What's your breath-freshening solution?

Kate said...

That's such a cute story. I don't chew gum... I always swallow it, a little bit at a time. I just can't pay attention to it when I get really absorbed in something.

PS I saw a photo of you on Nie's blog. You look like the cutest third trimester Momma ever!

Crazy Me said...

GUM, it works so well as a new distraction, but like anything else, it becomes old and boring for any bright child. Watch out, the boy will be pulling it, stretching it, wraping it and sticking things in it before you ever thought it was a good thing. I only tell you this because last week I had to do "gum clean-up" more than once, on our new sofa, rug and pretty flower dress that my daughter so creatively decorated. Two words... GOO GONE! I love that stuff!

Bubby's Mom said...

This is hilarious! What a great post. Thanks for sharing

emily w. said...

I was inspired by your post this morning so I gave my two year old about a quarter of a stick of gum in the car today. It was her first encounter with gum. She swallowed it two seconds later. I think it will be her last encounter for awhile.

Eva said...

My sisters once suggested hiding the kid's lunches. "Hurrah, a tuna sandwich! This is the best easter egg hunt ever!" Not so much.

kamille said...

ummm you probably have people asking this already but i would love the lemon wheat cinnamon roll recipe!

Bek said...

If you use sugar free gum it comes out of stuff easier (for when it inevitably gets spit out somewhere it shouldn't).

My son has sensory issues and chewing gum helps him focus. We buy gum by the truck load. And I hate it. HATE it.... but I hate him being a wild man more....

bugs 'n' bees said...

Oh man, I need a farm.

You've given me a whole new way to look at gum.

ewww.

breastfeedingkills said...

Gum scares me. I have visions of cutting out chunks of my kids hair . . .

Anonymous said...

Gum in the carpet. Gum in the hair. Gum banned. GO Crazy. Be Good. Give gum back. Gum in the carpet. Gum in the hair. Gum on the bedpost (no kidding). Gum on the walls. Gum banned. Go crazy. Forget. Give gum back. Gum in the carpet. Gum in the hair and on the pillow cases and in the blankets. Gum on the bedpost and the walls. Gum on the ceiling (don't ask ). Forever banned. Mom forgets and gives gum back... Gum on the dog. Cut it out. Yeah we love gum, no matter what happens.
K.

tharker said...

I was once yelled at by a doctor for giving my 3 year old gum. I didn't listen. She didn't like that, but I didn't really care. My son had been chewing successfully and not swallowing at all for nearly a year, so I didn't feel to bad about ignoring the doctor's advice.

Thank goodness you didn't have a seed hunt. BOR-ING!

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen anyone mention the fact that gum is a choking hazard? I don't mean to be offensive, but can a two year old (not even two year old) be trusted with gum?

Joanie said...

Yep....I hand out gum for long car rides!
And Easter eggs are made for candy!

thorney said...

I so love your family traditions and that you all live so close (minus Steve) that you can continue your tradiions as your children grow. I wish my sisters all livedcloser, but we are all scattered about the country.

I am not a gm fan either.

tharker said...

I just re-read my comment and now I'm wondering why my sentences sound like they are constructed by a 4 year old. Awesome.

One more gum story...because I'm sure you love reading a zillion of them ;)

Last week, my 8 year old {8 YEAR OLD!!!!} got gum in the pew at church. You know at the end of sacrament meeting when they ask you to please clean up your area to leave the chapel clean for the next ward? Normally it's just paper and such, but not our pew...we had GUM! And of course when my son tried to get it out, he only rubbed it deeper into the lovely carpet covered pew. Double awesome.

So guess what mom did for the first 15 minutes of Sunday School? Triple awesome.

c jane said...

Nope nobody has mentioned the choking hazard, but Chup and I have waited all day for it. Anon to the rescue!

Thanks Commenters for a fun section today!
You know what I like? I like writing a post and having people share their similar stories. Nothing like the human experience!

Anonymous said...

Well, you should have asked me! Uh, I mean asked a sr cit. 'Cuz we, I mean those, GUM CHEWIN' SR CITZ know a lot. (Hope the mental image didn't scare Baby :).

Research has shown that chewing gum can promote relaxation and relieve stress and anxiety. It can even help adolescents improve academic performance; chewing while doing homework apparently improves focus and concentration.

Sugar-free gum, YUM!

Lots of love from Arizona!

Kara Herron said...

Maybe this is a dumb question, but I've always wondered...

How in the world do you teach a child to chew gum? Do they just know how? All my kids (now adults and teens) know how - but I don't ever remember showing them. I think it's funny that your son knew how - had you already taught him?

Just wondering. :-)

-Kara
My Story Moments

Anonymous said...

What a fun post:) Makes me glad I got up early just to check your blog. Good grief I fear I have become addicted!

Leiann said...

I was always scared to give my kids gum, but have since let them have it. That's so funny how little things can make them so content!

b. said...

I don't like gum either and up until now, I didn't know ANYBODY else who felt the same way!