Ganduri. Amintiri

Anna and the chocolate bunny. Another story on kids’ relationship with sweets

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On the request of one of my readers I translated the story of Anna and the chocolate bunny, which is inspired by painful true story I’ve come to learn about a young girl’s relationship with sweets following a trend very common today. I believe in balance. I hope that after reading this story you will at list consider it, as my reader considered that the story should be said in English too.

 

She is a little over 6. She goes to school. First year. In the last day before Easter holiday, one of her colleagues brought to school, for each of the kids in the class, a little chocolate bunny. The bunny is as small as an eraser and much thinner as the pencil that she uses to write her math sheet in the class. All her colleagues have already eaten the rabbit during the lunch break, right after they have taken their sandwiches. She is the only one in the class that still has his bunny “hidden” in the pencil box. When one of her colleagues asked her why she did not eat the chocolate, she just said that she was not in the mood for that. Then, to another colleague she said she had already eaten it. The truth is different, and she is the only one that knows it; and she does not have the courage to admit the truth in front of the kids. She will eat the chocolate bunny by stealth, in the toilet, before leaving afterschool program. Her mother should not know about the existence of the chocolate bunny.

Anna knows that she is not allowed to eat sugar in no way, in any form. She has always been told that, but she never understood why she is not allowed to eat a biscuit, a half of a biscuit, a wafer, something. The only sweet that she receives, once a week, is a slice of bread with jam.

“Mom, what kind of disease do I have?” she asked around 4 – 5 years old.

***

When she was kindergarten, one day, a boy had his birthday. He brought cake. With vanilla pudding, chocolate and berries. She would know exactly what the cake was made of – she would have studied very carefully and for a long time the slice of the cake received by her colleague sitting next to her.

“I’m sorry, Anna! If you like I can give you an apple”, said gently her young teacher – Miss Helen, how the kids used to call her. She even offered to play a little game together, while the kids were eating the cake. Or Anna could go to a dance class held for another group of kids within the kindergarten.

Anna preferred to remain at the table, to watch her colleagues making sounds of joy while eating the slices of cake. Watching their smiles, she imagined that the cake must have been better that the mango salad, that Anna adored.

Miss Helen brought to her, on a plate, some berries. The teacher founded a way to take the fruits out of the cake. Anna looked at her very surprised.

“They’re just fruits”, smiled Miss Helen. But Anna remembered when her mom threw away the strawberries that Anna put over some sugar, as she has seen before at her neighbor and friend’s house.

Anna thanked the teacher, but didn’t touch the berries. She feared the most that her mom would take here from this kindergarten too, on the reason that “it does not respect her principles” – whatever that means; and she loved Miss Helen.

“Miss Helen, I am sick?” Anna asked one day, while the other kids were playing outside.

“Do you fill sick?” replied Miss Helen.

“No! But I must be sick, right? I am never allowed to eat something sweet” said Anna with an extinguished voice.

“Oh, my dear! I cannot give you an answer. I only know what your mom told me. And I promised I will keep your family wishes. I will never want for you to be sick” said Miss Helen and took her in her arms.

A new birthday in the class. A new day for Anna to be still at the table, watching the kids eating a muffin with cartoons decorations.

“It was another birthday party at the kindergarten! … Of course they brought cakes, how else? These parents are not in their minds!” Anna’s mom was speaking on the phone, probably to one of her friends.

On the back bench, Anna tried to figure it out the bad thing in those cakes. She already knew her mom’s answer: sugar, colorings, chemicals… But Anna could not remember of a kid being sick after eating the cakes.

***

Anna have never been to birthday parties except the ones within the kindergarten. And excepting her neighbor and only friend that Anna was allowed to visit without her mom’s surveillance.

Eliza was different than Anna. Eliza could eat sweets anytime. Eliza’s mom had in every room a candy jar. Eliza knew the drawer where her mom kept all chocolates and wafers. Nevertheless, Eliza did not seem to be very attracted by all these sweets.

“Why don’t you eat candy and chocolate?” Anna asked Eliza during one summer vacation.

“I do. When I feel like it. And only after I’m having lunch. But not always”, said Eliza.

“I would eat them all at once, if I would be allowed, as you”, said Anna instantly.

“Why? Why should I eat them all? Nobody takes them away from me!” replied Eliza calmly and added: “If you want, you can have them! It’s ok! No one will fight you! Mom won’t say anything; she never say anything to me. Only at night I am not allowed to eat sweet, especially chocolate, because I will not sleep well. Ah, and I don’t have to cross the line and eat too much sweets. But one small chocolate bar a day is totally fine. You may take on, too!”

“I am not allowed!”

“Why? Are you sick? Like my aunt?” Eliza has an aunt that suffered from diabetes and she knows that her aunt never eats sweets because of that.

Anna thought that probably she was sick as Eliza’s aunt, but said nothing.

***

“Mom, what kind of disease do I have? Like Eliza’s aunt?”

Anna’s mom looked at her for a while. She had now idea about Eliza’s aunt and her disease.

“Eliza’s aunt is not allowed to have sweets, you know. And me neither” added Anna, before her mom had the chance to say something.

“No, you’re not sick” her mom calmed her. “But sugar is not good for anyone” said her mom.

“Why?”

“Because you could get sick. Now or later.”

“And all of my kindergarten colleagues will get sick?”

“Most probably!”

“Mom, did you ever had sugar? Had grandma ever make cookies?”

She would wanted to say no. But she wouldn’t want to lie either.

“I stopped in time” said mom with that voice that leaves no room for further discussions. And Anna remembered on fight between her mom and her grandma, after grandma tried to offer Anna a slice of sweet cocoa bread (panettone).

***

It was Eliza’s birthday. She turned 6. For the first time, Eliza’s parents threw her a birthday party at a playground. Eliza was already in school back then and she had also invited other friends to her party. Anna went alone at Eliza’s party, without her parents that had something else to take care of.

Eliza wanted a birthday cake with ponies. She actually wanted everything with ponies. Her schoolbag, her pencil case, everything had ponies. Even the dress she was wearing at her party. And the cake had ponies indeed.

Anna didn’t sit at the table when the cake was brought. She preferred to remain in the play room, next to the dining room. For the first time, Anna was not in the mood of watching the kids while eating cake and she didn’t.

And as she stood alone in the playroom, with the wide open door, she saw a lady from the playground leading to another room with the rest of the cake and 2-3 plates of cake slices. At the beginning Anna followed her with the eyes, and the, with small steps, without being seen.

And when the entire room was empty, Anna sneaked inside and jumped over a cake slice.

Wow, it was so good! The slice of bread with jam that mom was given her every week was tasteless compering to this cake slice!

She ran out of the room taking the slice cake and hide in the toilet.

She ate the cake slice in a few seconds. Then threw away the plate in the garbage can, washed her hands and face, rinsed her mouth with cold water a few times and then went out the toilet room as nothing ever happened.

“Where have you been?” asked Eliza. “I looked all over for you to take pictures!”

“I went to the toilet”.

“Ok. Let’s take some pictures together!”

No one knew anything. No one suspected anything.

***

Anna has eaten since then candies, wafers and also chocolate chips biscuits.

Some of them she had stolen from Eliza’s home, when Eliza did not pay attention. Others she received from colleagues, from school.

She’s always been careful. She knew what was important – that no one will see her. So her mom will never find out.

***

From time to time she looked at her pencil case. The chocolate bunny was waiting for her inside. Only one hour until the afterschool program will be over. Her mom will call her teacher, from the car, to let her know that she awaits for Anna to get out school. Anna will be stopping first at the toilet. She will eat the chocolate bunny as fastest possible, she will wash her hands with soap and rinse her mouth very well, so there will be no trace. And she will go down the stairs rapidly to her mom’s car. This will not be her first time…

 

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