Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tastes Like Guilt

Friday, 5 pm

I stopped by the grocery for hamburger buns after picking up the kids. The kids were in good moods, so I decided to go ahead and shop for the week. Any fool knows that good moods at 5pm on Friday are capricious, so we were rolling through the store at light speed. Produce! Seafood! Deli! Dairy! Dairy! Dairy! We hit a snag.

A middled aged woman was doddering around the milk cooler. I smiled and excused myself as I reached around her for a gallon. I glanced to the left and saw her cart. My heart sank when I saw the suitcase in the cart. I prayed, "Oh please God, not now. I just want to get home. Pleasepleasepleaseplea-"

"Ah! 2%! A whole gallon! But you have two little ones so of course you need a whole gallon. It's just me so I just need a quart. I like skim. Do you like skim?" I froze the smile on my face and tried to be nice without getting involved. I was edging toward the bagels and freedom when Jake started asking for vanilla yogurt. I said no. Jake started arguing. The suitcase lady asked about my yogurt preferences. I weighed my options. I decided that capitulating was preferable to a full-out yogurt battle with interference from a stranger. I hissed to Jake that he had better eat the yogurt this time and tossed a large tub into the cart. When we had retreated to the relative safety of ethnic foods, I reminded Jake that he didn't eat the last tub of yogurt. This was his last chance. He solemnly nodded and we wrapped up our errand.

This morning, 6:43 am

Jacob requested a bagel for breakfast. I peeked in the fridge and saw one lonely little bagel. We started the negotiation process. "There's only one bagel. You can't eat it because then Claire will want one."

"I can eat one part and Claire can eat the other part."

"OK, but you'll have to have something else. Half a bagel isn't enough breakfast." Jake wakes up hungry and usually eats a large breakfast. It's not uncommon for him to eat an adult portion of oatmeal and then clamor for more. "How about some yogurt?"

"What kind is it? I think I'll just have a granola bar."

I could feel my veins constricting. "It's vanilla. The kind you asked for at the store and promised me you would eat. Granola bars aren't food*. They're treats. Eat half a bagel and some yogurt and then you can eat a granola bar." I heard Jacob mumble his assent. Three minutes later, I put the toasted bagel and two bowls of yogurt on the table and called the kids to breakfast.

"I'm not eating this! I don't like this kind of yogurt! I like the little yogurts!"

"It's the same thing, Jacob! Vanilla yogurt is vanilla yogurt! It doesn't matter what container it is in!" I put both hands on my head and squeezed to prevent my head from exploding. "Eat! Your! Breakfast!! I am not making anything else for you." He refused and sent the bowl of yogurt spinning across the table. I opened the cupboard, took out the last granola bar, and shoved it in my lunch bag. I gathered Claire and left the house, hugging a sobbing Jake on my way out the door. "Goodbye. Have a good day. Dad will be awake soon."


I'm hungry and I'm looking at a granola bar. I should be able to enjoy it. Jake won't die for lack of a granola bar. So tell me why it tastes like peanut buttery guilt.

* Of course granola bars are food. But my children will eat five granola bars per day if I let them. Granola bars should not make up 50% of a child's diet. Therefore, we put them solidly in the treat/snack category of food. No granola bars for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

Stand your ground, Christy! No way should he have had that granola bar. You were right, though I know it feels like a pyrrhic victory.

As for the yogurt, my kids do this all the time and it just drives me wild. But you can make muffins with vanilla yogurt! Just use it in place of milk and they will be all the tastier.