South Africa

An apple a day is too costly


An apple a day didn’t keep the doctor away, because these days that simple fruit costs money… and not a little bit, either.

Never did I think the day would come when I would beg my child to eat sweets. Yes, these sugary treats are known to spike up the little humans to a hyper state of chaos.

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As a mother, there have been many firsts: the first step, the first tooth and my 10 year old’s first plan to make money out of me and her teeth.

If you have a little ADHD monster, you would know that sweets are like kryptonite and a recipe for disaster.

I know Father Christmas and the tooth fairy are only myths, but a sugar rush isn’t a myth. Last year, I quit sugar and shook off more than 10kg.

Besides the health benefits of not consuming a lot of sugar, there were some financial benefits too.

At some stage, my daughter wanted a pack of M&M sweets every, single day.

This quickly became expensive, considering R18 for a packet five or six times a week added up to R100 per week or R400 per month.

It was an expense I did not want, nor could afford, for that matter. I then introduced the fruit basket and yoghurt snack option in the house, to keep it healthy and somewhat economical.

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It went well until my daughter fell ill last week and started the occasional vomit, a fever, a snotty nose and a dry cough in the form of a couch potato.

I have to confess this was a strange round of the so-called seasonal flu because it had me wondering if it was swine flu, Covid or worse.

Two days into the sick week, the vomiting subsided and the fever stabilised, but she did not look better.

She did not want to eat the toast with Marmite, nor the mash and gravy, or even a McDonald’s happy meal.

I made rooibos tea by the litre and tried to force-feed her any type of food she was willing to take a bite of.

By this time, I was getting worried because I could see that her flu symptoms were getting better but she was getting weaker from not eating enough.

I begged her to eat, anything, even if she wanted to eat sweets (I was hoping that sugar would kick-start her appetite or get her back on her feet).

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She declined the offer of any sweets and, instead, asked for an apple and some grapes. I was both confused and grateful for the request – until I went to the local fruit and vegetable store, only to find out that grapes were out of season.

One pack of grapes was going for the price of three packets of M&M sweets. A full R60 for grapes had me running for the door and forgetting about the request for apples.

After explaining that the fruit was out of season and the prices were sky-high, she asked how much the apples cost.

Before I could answer, she showed me one of her three loose teeth fell out.

“So, if I use my tooth fairy money to buy a bag of apples, I can get the other two teeth out and have enough money to buy three packs of grapes?” she asked me.

I don’t know if I was more shocked at her creative plan to make money from her baby teeth, or at the sad reality that no matter how I looked at it, I was paying for it.

In this case, an apple a day would have cost me double.