Living Out Loud

Feeding Children


One of my recent pleasures is perusing old blog posts from when I used to sit at my desk in the family dining room in the days before I had a laptop and write stories about my children, a constant source of inspiration and entertainment in those more innocent times. They all grew up to be pretty awesome, so they are still inspiring but starting a business, getting massive promotions or conquering the frozen north aren't as funny as the stuff they did as adolescents. We didn't have a ton of money in those days, so having little people to make me laugh was economically necessary. These days I can afford Netflix. Here's another tale from the 90's.

Cereal Boxes

Late last year the cereal companies slashed prices by over a dollar a box on most brands. Suddenly, the lie I had been telling my children since their birth became obvious. When I said, "We don't eat Captain Crunch. All that sugar is bad for you." I meant, "We don't buy Captain Crunch. It costs four dollars a box." Now that the generic box of corn flakes (white box, black letters, CORN FLAKES) and the multi-media hyped Puffed Toast Cinnamon Crunch Smacky Flake Treats cost roughly the same amount, a new cereal culture is evolving at my house.

Any boxes of "sticks and grass" cereal purchased mistakenly or with an eye towards incipient diabetes are ignored or converted to bird food. After 2.5 children ate 4 (yes 4) boxes of cereal in one weekend, I had to lay down the one bowl per child per day rule. How did this go over, you ask. I can tell you in two words, Jethro Bodine. Yes, I caught my oldest daughter, Anna, with the mixing bowl normally used to make brownies for the church youth group (11 high school kids). She hoped that a quart of milk and half a box of Frosted Mini Wheats could forestall starvation one more day.

Some of the trends from the good old days are still with us for nostalgia's sake. No one will eat the last half bowl of cereal left in the box. I usually discover this when I venture into the kitchen after midnight looking for a satisfyingly quick snack. In quick succession I grab one and then another box of sugar coated vapor in an abortive attempt to find an entire bowl of cereal all for myself. I'm usually left with a mongrelized mix of stale Fruit Loops and Grape Nuts. There is always plenty of milk though. I buy milk two gallons at the time to lessen the number of trips I have to make to the grocery store. You may not know it but children cannot tolerate a closed milk jug in the fridge. Both jugs must be opened and it normally makes the most sense to the juvenile mind to use the jug that expires last----first. It is also a kid's rule to always, always, always leave on the counter the little locking strips that come on the caps of milk jugs. If a countertop is unavailable, the strip may be left on the floor or under the counter beside (NOT IN!) the trashcan.