October 11, 2009


My favorite food of all time has to be cereal. When asked what food I would take to a deserted island, my answer has always been “cereal and milk”.

I love all kinds and brands, discriminating against none. I love the sweet sugary tidbits as much as the healthy ones that people tell me taste like cardboard. I actually have very fond memories of original Shredded Wheat. I know they like large rectangular bales of hay, but I loved going down to the kitchen, when I was very young, on a sunny summer morning at my Ma and Granddad’s house to partake in a big bowl of mature wheatiness. I would crumble the rectangles until it resembled a big hay stack, then I would cover it in milk and sugar, making it absolutely perfect and delicious. I felt so grown up.

I have obviously passed this love onto my children. It has to be my gene; Adam only likes Lucky Charms with whole milk (which we never have) or Cocoa Pebbles. Too bad for him those are the two cereals that aren’t permitted in my home unless on special occasion.

The reason for the ban started when my kids began to get up in the morning on their own. They quietly come downstairs, turn on cartoons, and snack on dry cereal out of the boxes. This doesn’t bother me. That is what it’s for, and with other various junk foods lying around, I’m glad they opt for the cereal. Plus, fifteen extra minutes of sleep before the baby gets up is always welcome.

Cocoa Pebbles were the first to be banned when, no matter what they did, the small granules of cocoa couldn’t help but be spilt in what seemed like every inch of my floor. It always resulted in days full of sweeping and picking these pieces (and sometimes piles) off the floor. I felt bad for Adam, but the Pebbles had to go.

Lucky Charms were soon to follow, after I would come down in the morning to find them eating Lucky Charms minus the charms. They even, on occasion, when they couldn’t reach that last marshmallow, dump the whole box out leaving nothing but the non-marshmallow cereal bits. We do still get it on occasion, but it has a special place on a shelf no one can reach but me. Jagger is the only one who has been permanently banned. I don’t think he’s ever even tried the actual cereal part. I told them a long time ago, if they don’t eat the cereal too they don’t get any. The rest of the kids obey the rule.

Things have gotten better over the years, but I have recently seen a decline. This is due to the fact that Jude is now old enough to join the older boys in their morning ritual. Jude, not having the fine tuned motor skills for eating cereal out of the box, or opening it for that matter, has caused a major increase in cereal accidents. All this week I have had to come down and vacuum the floor. He’s been worse than the other kids in the fact that he tries to clean it. Unfortunately, his method of cleaning is crushing it into microscopic crumbs and spreading it over the carpet, making sure it is an equally thick layer throughout.

Lesson 23: perpetual rug of cereal crumbs = white trash

Yesterday, it was a blanket of Crispix, today it was a very vast layer of Cocoa Krispies. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “What is the difference between Cocoa Pebbles and Cocoa Krispies?” Well, let me tell you. Nothing! When I spoke of special occasion before, what I meant to say was really good deal! For all of you who don’t know, I am a coupon junkie. Coupons are like a drug to me, and the grocery store sales flyers are like my dealer, pushing me to buy things I really don’t want. Like Cocoa Krispies. Did I forget the consequences of having Cocoa Pebbles in my house? No. I just couldn’t deny the sale at Giant Eagle and the $2 coupon in my coupon holder, making the box of Cocoa Krispies 50 cents! I fought with myself in the store, but my pregnant belly reminded me of the delicious chocolate milk that was left in the bowl when the cereal was all gone and the box of forbidden food was in my cart.

I do enjoy seeing people’s faces when they see a cereal massacre. My cousin Evan had come down for the weekend for a visit a couple of weeks ago. When he emerged from the basement his eyes widened at the torn up Life cereal box and crumb mess that spanned the living room.

“What the heck happened here?” he asked.

I responded, “Oh, sorry about this, Jude is a cereal killer with no respect for Life.”

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