I like to call it a tax…it’s the price the kids have to pay at Halloween or any other time during the year when they receive candy in birthday goody bags or as part of some celebration at school. When we get home from trick-or-treating or from school or from the party, Papa must “inspect” their haul for “dangerous” items. So, for years now, I admit, I have been skimming Laffy Taffy of the top.
For the most part, they have been oblivious to the tax collection that has been going on, but I recently realized that I could take the Laffy Taffy right in front of them because they never knew what it was and they were more enamored by the lolly pops, chocolates and Nerds (Matthew recently discovered the Nerds and he promptly confiscates those for himself). They had never tried the Laffy Taffy before and just assumed it was something they wouldn’t like.
However, this Halloween, I made a huge mistake (cue the lightning and thunder and haunting music).
I got cocky and was flagrantly snatching a handful of Laffy Taffy from the bowl as Benjamin was picking out something for himself. Now, when it comes to sweets, there is no doubt that Benjamin is my son. You could hide a roll of Smarties in a warehouse full of equally colorful confetti and toys and within minutes, he will have them in hand. In this respect, he actually puts me to shame. Perhaps he is a “Candy Whisperer” and he can hear them calling out to him. Perhaps it is a wonderful mutant power that Professor Xavier would find some use for. Perhaps he has the smelling senses of a dog. Whatever it is, candy is his thing, but I digress.
So, Benjamin knows his old man. He knows about his Papa’s sweet tooth and I could see the realization in his face that if Papa was stealing these candies, they must be good. However, he was still hesitant and asked me what they were. I told him and he made a curious face, but without taking his eyes off of the Taffy. So – and here is where I made my biggest mistake – I asked if he wanted to try it. He said yes and I gave him a small piece of a banana Taffy. He hesitantly bit off a small piece.
I swear, the clouds parted and a ray of light came shooting through the kitchen window as a choir of angels could be heard in the distance. Benjamin’s eyes seemed to have opened for the first time as he glowed in the bask of this new treat. Like Edmund and Turkish delight, Benjamin was hooked on Laffy Taffy and he quickly gobbled down the rest. Of course, I had to offer Matthew a piece, as well, and while he didn’t like it as much as Benjamin…well, we’ll just refer to the “Monkey See, Monkey Do” theorem and how it applies to brothers.
Suddenly, their little hands were digging through the bowl seeking out the rest of the Laffy Taffy and it quickly turned into a game of “Hungry, Hungry, Hippo”. I joined in the fun and in a chorus of giggles, we “fought” for the candy. Soon, they were grabbing not just Taffy, but whatever they could get their hands on and running off to their room to hide it. Benjamin could be heard conspiring with Matthew on the best place to stash it. It also turned into a game of hide-and-seek as they would try to find where I was hiding.
The point of all of it is that it was a lot of fun being a little mischievous with them and I think they understood that it was a game. My parents always had a mischievous streak with us, and I love passing that on to them. It was a sweet set of moments that developed out of a drab afternoon, which is one of the wonderful things about kids.