Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sugar cereal and other adventures

image via Jeni Rodger

Not too long ago I received some unsolicited material in the mail. It happens every so often that I'll be sent something with the hope that I'll write about it here on my blog, and since you never read those posts, you know that I don't make a habit of writing them. That package was a few boxes of cereal that were boxed in promotional packaging related to a new movie. There are so many reasons why those boxes weren't going to appear here, including that I think of myself primarily as a narrative blogger and that I don't think we should encourage our already-overly consumerist society to buy cereal just to save the cardboard box. Oh, and the cereal has no redeeming nutritional value. It's sugary, artificially colored, exactly what we never buy for our house...and delicious, of course. It's the cereal of my childhood.

I stuck it in the basement, not being able to waste food by throwing it out and not interested in posting about it, and forgot about it.

The main cereal consumed in our house is oatmeal, and not even the quick cooking kind. The kind where I mix honey and cinnamon and milk and real butter and fresh berries into dry grains, the kind made of real ingredients. When we buy dry cereal we pretty much stick to Cheerios and Chex, sometimes that box of cornflakes with the dried strawberries in it.

On the lovely husband's most recent business trip, at the end of a long day when no children would agreeably go to sleep and I still had to empty lunchboxes and pack new lunches and find clothes and any number of uninspiring and further draining chores, I realized I was starving and nothing would get better if I didn't at least give myself a few moments to eat. And like a hallelujah chorus of angels singing, I suddenly remembered the sweet indulgent cereal sitting in the basement.

Oh, I know how wrong it was. Refined sugar. Refined sugar at 10pm. Colors not found in nature. Have I mentioned the delicious? I ate it for dinner four nights in a row.

On the last night I didn't get the cereal box put away in the cabinet because one of the babes woke up screaming from a nightmare and the only solution was to snuggle my little one to sleep in my own bed. In the morning we awoke to the return of the lovely husband, who'd gotten home around 3am, and to the tantalizingly bright cereal box still out on the kitchen table. What's that? both girls asked with great curiousity. The lovely husband shot me a bemused look and quickly answered, "oh, it's a mommy cereal. Kids don't like it." And because I eat all kinds of things that they won't, like salmon and asparagus and coffee, they just accepted that. Because grown-ups eat all kinds of weird, gross things. You know that, right?

After his return yesterday morning I wasn't home last night and L had more questions about the cereal. It was so interesting to her, a new food she'd never seen, and so brightly colored. She never expressed an interest in trying it, because mommy foods are yucky, obviously, but she needed to engage with it. The lovely husband and she came up with a plan that she'd pour me a bowl of it in the morning for me to eat. And she told me so at 1am when she woke up, wandered in our room, and asked if it was wake-up time yet; should we go downstairs for my cereal?

When real morning came and not the 1am insomniac's version, she and I walked downstairs and she lovingly poured me the most sugar-dust covered meal she's ever seen, and lovingly stood by my side as I ate it, tenderly suggesting that I try the blue piece in the next spoonful, then the purple. Happy Mother's Day, she crooned. I love you so that's why I made you breakfast. And I had the very strange experience of accepting her love by eating a meal that would be, in her mind, the best thing she'd ever tasted, by not offering her any at all. That's my own love, keeping her from an unhealthy fondness for sugar cereals. Sometimes I think motherhood is best understood in its most bizarre moments.

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Although I don't usually write about them at all, the fact is that because of blogging, sometimes some really fun opportunities come my way. More fun than sugar cereal. So tomorrow I'm going to pull back the blogging curtain a little and tell you about a few fun things I've done lately. I came here first to write but this space has brought me moments I'd never have without this medium. And on Monday I have two memes to address, even though I don't often do those, either. Meme Monday - everything's better with alliteration, right?
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