Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pageant Crack vs. Go Go Juice, and Miscellaneous Continued Honey Boo Boo Child Discussion

Yesterday when my mother was chronicling her reasons why she didn't enter me (or my brother; let's not leave him out of this discussion since little boys are apparently not immune from the particular form of child abuse know as baby beauty pageant participation), I didn't share every single personal vendetta against the baby pageant system that she mentioned. My reasons for cutting her diatribe short are somewhat obvious: I would have been typing continuously since then and still be typing  had I taken down every word she said. At one point last night I got sleepy, and my dad piggybacked me upstairs to my room. When I came back downstairs this morning, my mom was still ranting about the topic. I assume she, too, went to sleep somewhere along the line (she is wearing different clothing than what she was wearing yesterday )and hasn't been ranting continuously even though no one was here to listen, but I cannot be 100% certain.

Another sub-topic my mom addressed was the substances with which pageant parents, usually mothers, dope their children in order to ensure that the little angels are sufficiently energetic to be their generally precious selves, or at least to remain conscious  throughout the long day of a typical baby beauty pageant.Trial and error have produced a few formulas for success. Hint to parents: If an activity lasts too long for your child to make it through the activity without a parent resorting to tactics he or she would otherwise deem not beneficial to a child's health, perhaps it is unwise to engage in said activity on anything resembling  a regular basis.

The first substance is simple and to-the point: Exhibit A,otherwise known as the Pixie Stick. This retro-confectionary artifact, which consists of a paper straw (Pixie Stix are also sold, often in places like Little League concession stands, in larger plastic tubes) filled with a  granulated  fruit-flavored substance.This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is known as pageant crack. Essentially sugar in a relatively unadulterated form,  a pinch of flavoring and a few preservatives  are thrown into the mix. It has the advantage of being able to be poured into a child's mouth relatively neatly, with little mess either to a child's makeup or clothing. (Imagine the potential disaster of a kid eating a Snickers bar in full pageant regalia.) Pixie Stix would probably be a worthwhile addition to the medicine cabinet of anyone with a diabetic immediate family member, as the practically pure glucose could be ingested quickly in the event of insulin reaction or similar low blood sugar crisis. What a close family member of  a diabetic also knows, however, is that with the ingestion of essentially pure table sugar, blood sugar levels plummet almost as rapidly as they spike. To avoid the crash following the sugar high, pageant crack must be consumed all day long.  The only clear winner in such a scenario, in addition to the manufacturer and stockholders of Pixie Stix, is the child's dentist. 

The second nutritional/pharmacological supplement has come to be known as Go Go Juice. The term Go Go Juice was actually coined by Honey Boo Boo Child's mother, who likewise developed her own unique formula or recipe,  but other drinks consumed by pageant contestants for the same purpose have come to be called by the same name. Go Go Juice as prepared by June, the mother of Honey Boo Boo Child, consists of a twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew (minus a few sips from June to allow the concoction to fit in its container) combined with a can of Red Bull. The kid is getting massive doses of primarily sugar and caffeine.When Honey Boo Boo Child sips the concoction, she instantly begins to behave even more bizarrely than her ordinarily bizarre behaviour, spinning on her stomach, running in circles, and spouting gibberish.  Her blood glucose levels cannot possibly have been so quickly elevated to the degree that physiological changes could account for such drastic behavior changes. A placebo effect is in play. Honey Boo Boo Child  believes she is expected to react in such a way to the vile concoction.

My mom, who holds a doctorate in psychology and is a licensed school psychologist, questions the degree to which sugar causes extreme hyperactivity in most children. She's read a lot of research on the topic, and maintains that almost all of us would be dead if the human body didn't have a greater ability to deal with sugar intake than is supposed by many people. She's not advocating massive sugar intake; sugar provides lots of calories and not much else, and it's terrible for one's teeth.  She's merely saying that it doesn't cause a kid to behave the way Honey Boo Boo Child child acts seconds after downing her mom's energy formula. 

My mom likes to use the example of the time she provided sugarless snack foods for a kindergarten class's Valentine's Day party.  (She didn't give them apple wedges and wheat germ, because then they would have known they weren't being fed sugar, which would have ruined the experiment and ruined their party as well. She paid big bucks for fancy sugarless sweets that looked and tasted for all intents and purposes,  at least to the immature  palates of five-year-olds, just like the real thing.) The children,  my mom said, were highly energized from the second the parents dropped them off that morning. The mere suggestion of a change in routine causes increased activity in many children. The high energy level continued throughout the day. Once the children began eating the party food in the afternoon, they could barely contain themselves. Their teacher tried containing them, but there was only one of her. The parents who attended the party did little to attempt to curb their own children's out-of-control behavior. They instead looked at each other and shook their heads knowingly. Children always bounce off the walls when they consume sugar was the consensus. Then my mom told them about the sugarless drinks and the sugar-free, gluten-free baked products.

My mom says her point was not that one shouldn't be concerned about children's sugar intake. Instead, her point was that inappropriate behavior should not be accepted because of the belief that it is caused by sugar.
I would very much like to be a fly on the wall of Honey Boo Boo Child's classroom. I would love to be wrong in this regard, but my instincts tell me that it's unlikely Honey Boo Boo Child is an especially attentive and compliant student. I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it. The kid probably takes Little Debbie's snack cakes in her lunch, then bounces off the walls of the lunchroom. I wonder if she drinks Go Go Juice on school days. Perhaps we'll find out in Honey Boo Boo Child's new reality series, slated to debut in August.

I've rambled quite a bit here to the point that even I'm not totally sure anymore what my point was supposed to have been. If I have to sum it up, I suppose I'll go with the idea that baby beauty pageants are bad enough in and of themselves. .Add sugar and caffeine to them, and they're worse. If  parents then excuse bad behavior, which is rampant in the pageants aired on Toddlers & Tiaras, for whatever reason they choose to excuse it, pageant participation becomes a prescription for disaster.

I don't often thank my parents, but I do wish to express my appreciation to them, regardless of their reasons, for not entering me in baby beauty pageants. God knows I'm screwed up enough as it is. 

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