It’s the second day of autumn, and if you haven’t already talked to your children about pumpkin spice, it might already be too late.

Pumpkin spice is a wonderful and warm mix of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. It signals the coming of the autumnal holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, easing folks into the also-cinnamon-drenched Christmas season that begins the moment the last person at your Thanksgiving dinner table puts their dessert fork down.

Pumpkin spice is also a historically-weird thing; it’s got a vague rise to American stardom, mired in really, terribly imperialist beginnings. But, but, but – it’s still delicious, you say! It still works in sweet and savory things alike!

But that’s exactly why you need to talk to your kids about pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin Spice

I’m right here with you. I love drinking an early morning pumpkin spice flavored coffee while I pretend that it’s cold enough for me to even own a scarf. I love eating gently-pumpkin-spice-modified versions of very specific things – pumpkin spice snickerdoodles, pumpkin spice waffles. Hell, I even enjoy using pumpkin butter on not-already-pumpkined waffles.

Pumpkin Spice

But it’s important that we tell our kids to not go looking for more recipes. It’s important that if our kids come home from school and tell us that their friends were talking about pumpkin spice, we sit down and ask them about what they heard, or which recipes someone pulled up on their iPhone. The worst thing is that your child learns about pumpkin spice on the streets.

Talk to your kids, and do it often. This can mean the difference between your child having a classic and sensible pumpkin spice cupcake and you walking into the kitchen on a Wednesday night and catching your child making an improvised bowl of pumpkin spice clam chowder.

Pumpkin Spice

This is serious business, and you need to be the parent here. Your children will check the browser history. They will look at your Pinterest pins. They will try to divide you and your spouse, and they will try to throw you off their track by saying that their teacher is making them come up with recipes for homework.