As I crouch down and open the kitchen cupboard, I glance around to make certain that all the small bodies are out of my line of sight. This is when my steadfast rule “No kids in the kitchen” really pays off. Great. The coast’s clear. I furtively peel open the lid and reach into a container, carefully selecting a yellow marshmallow from the pastel collection. I stuff this quickly into my mouth and then stand up, trying to look normal. (Marshmallows compress very rapidly, hiding the fact that I’m snacking.)

I have a thing about some foods — usually these foods are rare treats, expensive even. I don’t want to share. I’ll share with David if I must (i.e., if he catches me), but the girls?— no way! Their tastes are not refined — they can’t discern between a Reece’s piece and a prune. One is just as prized as the other — but not to me. But I feel guilty enough to hide them anyway.

Living in Australia, I miss out on American products like Kool-aid, Reece’s pieces, Butterfingers and Twizzlers — they’re just not for sale here, except in specialty shops where a medium bag of peanut butter M&Ms costs AUD13! So when I have them, they qualify as a rare treat. I’m also a sucker for licorice all-sorts and yellow marshmallows — they are that fake banana flavour that doesn’t resemble bananas but is yummy anyhow.

I have a number of hiding places around the house where I keep my treats in the hopes of not having to share them. (I can’t list them because David may log on and check… you know the usual places, I’m sure.) I indulge when reading a book at rest-time (very rare these days), when making a cup of tea (more often), and sometimes when working on the computer (but only if no one else is around).

I’ve been known to jump up, throwing the corner of the bedspread over my lolly stash when I hear David approaching. One day I was interrupted in the midst of a novel/Twizzler indulgence, and it took me several hours before I could safely sneak back into the bedroom and retrieve the red sticks from beneath my pillow. I kept wandering around the house, performing my chores and interacting with my family while the Twizzlers called to me in a voice only I could hear.

Today, David’s away at work, leaving me to only concentrate on hiding my snacks from the children — easy peasy. So I duck down now and then to sneak a yellow marshmallow and then stand up, smooshing it within my mouth and keeping my face expressionless. If caught out, I’ll offer a piece of fruit.

But I still feel guilty. Not guilty enough to share, but guilty enough. Bad mother? Okay, I’ll wear it — it’s worth it.