Nearly every single mom I know — including me — waters their child’s juice down to the point of turning into a cup of faintly colored water. We all do this. It’s like a generational compulsion; this quest to turn our children into joyful spelt eaters whose delicate constitutions prevent them from digesting anything yummy.
Our moms didn’t do this when we were kids. We were allowed to drink all the undiluted juice we wanted, cup after lip smacking cup, mouths ringed crimson and orange. Or blue, if you were one of the kids lucky enough to be served Kool Aid by your parents, which I wasn’t.
Back then, juice was considered “good for you!” Now the consensus is “it’s nothing but sugar! Get that orange stuff away from me!”
How did this happen? When did juice — poor, misunderstood juice — become the enemy? I suspect this modern disavowal is part of a broader backlash to all the unnecessary sweeteners, additives and high fructose corn syrups that have crept into packaged foods since we were kids….into foods where it legitimately does not belong, like potato chips, canned soup and ketchup. Conscientious parents have to be vigilant about preventing their children from developing a super size taste for insanely sweet foods, and juice — even the freshly squeezed stuff — gets lumped into this category. And grape juice? Forget about it! I don’t know a single mom who serves their kid straight grape juice, the progressive parent’s version of mainlining crack.
I don’t plan to stop watering down June’s juice anytime soon, but I do think it’s funny how we all go out of our way to explain to each other why we do this even though we all do it. I’m surprised more juice manufacturers haven’t jumped on this watery trend, marketing their product as “specially formulated for toddlers” and charging an arm and a leg for a jug of faintly colored water.
And when you ask a grandparent to water down your toddler’s juice? They look at you like you’re uptight. Busted!