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Do you have a midnight creeper?

We do…and we’ve named him the “Candy Caper.” Our creeper comes out in the middle of the night when the house is pitch black and the rest of the zoo is quiet. The dog is nestled in our bed sleeping, the cats are sleeping, and the kids…err, ONE kid is sleeping. The other, of the male variety is busy lurking in his room. Waiting…

As soon as mommy and daddy are down for the count our little midnight creeper who we’ve nicknamed “The Candy Caper” comes out to strike. He sneaks downstairs and raids the pantry for cookies, candy, or anything junk-related. He’s been doing this for the better part of a year, at least. It drives me crazy. My ridiculous facade of control (over his dental hygiene and his well-managed diet) goes out the window each and every night. We no longer lock the gate at the top of the stairs because as much as we fear he’s going to take a tumble down them in the dark of night, our fear that he’s going to try to climb over it and miss and go over our balcony railing is even greater. He would land 18 feet down on the tile and suffice it to say, that is much scarier than a child with cavities. I’ve even played the grandparent card and had my mom talk to him. To no avail, I am afraid.

I am a very conservative mommy. I do not give my children foods with high fructose corn syrup in them; I avoid processed foods; I avoid saturated fats; I avoid sugary junk and caffeinated products. We are healthy eaters. My kids get rice cakes and fruit for snacks for the most part. When they get cookies they are generally homemade by me so I know just what’s in them. However, on Halloween they get candy. Even on Easter this year we only gave them each one small Gertrude Hawk chocolate and then filled their basket with non-teeth-rotting gifts. However, that blasted Halloween candy…it will last well more than a year in our home. I just threw it out the other day…eight months later, because I said enough is enough. The only person who eats it is my husband…and my little Candy Caper in the middle of the night. *sigh* So into the trash it went. My son STILL comes down scouring even though he knows the candy is gone. I threw it away right in front of him. Hoping upon hope that it would discourage him if he knew that temptation was now gone.

He is so desperate. I had moved the candy bowl from Halloween, before throwing it out, up to the fourth shelf in the pantry. Too high for me comfortably to reach at my whopping 5’4″. My wee little five year old would pull over a stool, a chair, whatever he could find to reach up and get the goodies. Our little midnight creeper eats well enough. He always finishes his dinner and often has seconds or thirds, which delights me, because he used to be a horrible eater! We have repeatedly told him to come get mommy or daddy if he wants food in the middle of the night. He will not listen. I would be more than happy to go downstairs with him and get him some warm milk and an apple, or some water and a banana. I guess it takes the fun out of sneaking if he has to come ask us…and if he doesn’t get to choose what he eats.

We cannot fathom how we have never woken up when he goes downstairs…how the dog has never heard him and followed him down the steps. It’s just shear insanity.

Anyone else have a child who does this? What do you do about it? I worry; it’s dark and unsafe for him to sneak down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night, climb on stools, and then gorge on junk food. Not to mention the dental bills that are sure to come if he keeps this up!

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