In the following post, carbonated beverages will be referred to as soda. I have lived my entire life in various cities of San Diego county and refuse to refer to it as pop or coke. Pop is a noise made by a can as it opens. Not only does it not refer to the specific beverage inside, it also discriminates against all other forms of casings for such beverages. Example: 2-liter bottle or fountain. Coke is a specific type of soda. I have no problem referring to an actual can of Coca-Cola by the word "coke". However, the question, "What kind of coke do you want?" is borderline absurd. None of this really matters because I seldom use any of these words at all.
In November I will have been soda sober for seven years. I still remember the day I gave up carbonated beverages. I was a sophomore in college. It was during the run of Hamlet and, in my fridge was a bottle of Sprite. I left it for too long and, when I returned to it, it was flatter than a pancake under the tire of a Mack truck. I very nearly spit my swig at my computer screen and, once I chucked the remainder of the bottle in the garbage, I was left to ponder this phenomenon and wonder if it was really the best idea to consume something that can, so drastically, morph into something else. (Don't give me any fruit of the vine lectures...I also do not drink wine.) Really, a liquid that is made of caffeine, bubbles, phosphoric acid, sugar, syrup, aspartame acesulfame-k, and sucralose doesn't really sound like something that should be put into our bodies. (Oh yes, I eat plenty of things that I shouldn't put in my body but seriously, one crusade at a time.) So, on that crisp fall day I decided to see how long I could go without drinking any of it--a real issue for someone addicted to the endless flow of fountain drinks in the university cafeteria.
In the beginning I would dream about drinking soda. I'd wake, in a cold sweat, thinking I'd failed. The dreams passed and I realized that I could probably do this for the rest of my life. It's not that I have to, that it's some kind of sin, I just think I can. I won't say that I don't, on occasion, wish I could drain a rootbeer float...because oh how I do. I won't say that I never wish I hadn't started such a silly crusade. Just last week, at my son's first birthday party, I thought about guzzling an orange soda. I could almost taste the bubbly orange fizz sliding down my throat. But I didn't.
I didn't because in the past seven years I have decided that nothing good, except, of course, for the taste, can come of carbonated beverages. I have also decided that caffeine is an FDA approved drug. It causes dehydration and a depletion of needed minerals. While I used to severely limit my caffeine intake, I now have virtually none, except for whatever you might find in a cup of hot chocolate or an occasional Milky Way. And while I don't think adults should guzzle soda because of its obvious adverse effects, I don't judge the adult soda drinker--for heaven's sake, I was among the worst of you a mere seven years ago. (And, well, my husband is a self-proclaimed Diet Coke-a-holic and I certainly love and respect him.) But I think the fact that we (and by we I mean humanity in general) pour it down the mouths of our children is appalling.
Apparently, teenagers are getting osteoporosis because of the high volume of soda they consume. Which is why Garrett is not allowed to have soda. (At least for as long as I can help it.) Now, with that being said, he's not going to be the poor little dork boy who can't have it at a birthday party when he's ten. I just want to see how long he can go before he puts it in his body and starts losing oxygen and ruining his bone growth. It will be an uphill battle because other children drink soda with wild abandon. We (yes, my Diet Coke-a-holic husband is enthusiastically on board with the plan) plan to inform Garrett that soda--or "Coke" *shudder* or "Pop" *shudders more fervently* depending on where it is in the country that we're ministering--is an adult beverage...or, at least, a big kid beverage. When children smaller than him start drinking it, I don't know what we'll do. But I imagine it like this:
Garrett: Mommy, Billy has soda and he's two years younger than me.
Me: Well, Garrett, Billy's parents don't love him as much as we love you.
Kidding. Just kidding. Seriously. I'm in a glass house throwing stones, I promise. Because my one-year old gets the occasional cookie or bite of ice cream. I'm a bad mom who is still ordering up some diabetes and some obesity for my kid (I really do love that commercial). Like I said before, I picked a battle. I can't win them all so I'm just hoping that by the time he defies me, or whatever, and chugs a can of Pepsi, he finds it gross. Because I just really don't want him to get teenage osteoporosis.
So, if you're reading this, please don't offer my child any carbonated beverages for a good long while. And please, always have a water option for him. And me.