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Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

Chocolate Milk

Jenifer DeMattia


So there we were. Expecting our first baby. We would lie on the couch and talk about what kind of parents we wanted to be as I rubbed my belly. How we were going to do it right. It was like living in a dream, the anticipation of what was to come and the possibilities that we could control as parents of our very own little boy. It’s funny; we each had our lists of what we would never do as parents. My husband was obsessed with the idea that he would never give our child chocolate milk. Odd to me, but okay. Mine was that I would not say “no” all the time. The lists went on and on, and then our sweet angel was born.

Quickly the days of lying around on the couch were over. And quickly our lists were going up in smoke. I’d like to say it was right before he turned 3 that I gave him the chocolate milk. “What is he drinking”, my husband asked.

“It’s only one glass in the morning. Come on, he loves it.”

I swear he started waking up early just to get his hands on the stuff. “Get me chocolate milk!” said the tiny voice. I was half asleep, still adjusting to the light.

“Sure sweetheart.” So began my daily march to the kitchen to retrieve the chocolate milk while our son watched a morning cartoon. The days continued like this and his vocabulary continued to improve month after month. “Momma, get me my chocolate milk!” he would demand. “Excuse me? Is that how we ask for something we want?”

“Please get me the chocolate milk”, he stated. “I said please!”

My husband was fast to remind me that this is why he never wanted him to have chocolate milk. Who knew? I decided to slowly decrease the amount of chocolate I put in his sippy cup. “No! MAKE IT BROWN”, says the child.

“No, No, No, No!” I shouted. Dear God what have we done. Damn you Hershey’s! I ultimately decided that it wasn’t so much the drink that bothered me, but the way in which he demanded it super early in the morning at my most easily annoyed state. After all, we had created the scenario where he was the king and we were his lowly servants. That was more important for me to change than his morning chocolate milk. There are several ways we could have handled this situation, including just getting rid of the chocolate milk all together. What we eventually came up with was that he still gets the milk; he’s just only allowed to ask twice. I need to get up and start the day, I don’t really mind walking down the stairs once I’m there, but the incessant asking over and over again is too much to bear.

Following through is one of the most difficult things when setting rules for my son because most of the time I end up doing something I really don’t want to do, and because I love to see him happy. But, alas, it’s part of the job. It’s the small victories however, that mean the most and remind me of the importance of creating limits with my kids. I was thinking about my son’s love affair with chocolate milk and so I decided to make myself a glass since I hadn’t had one in years. It was a nostalgic feeling, a trip back to my childhood and taste that pretty much describes the life of a kid.

Absolutely delicious!