Monday, June 13, 2011

I Fall To Pieces

I have come to terms with many of the reasons for my kids' meltdowns...
  • being overly tired (ninety percent of the time, my friends, I'm the same way) 
  • my youngest not understanding why his older brother gets to go play at friend's house and he doesn't
  • being screamed at by a mother who just spent 2 hours cleaning the kitchen (half of it on hands and knees scrubbing the floor) and upon returning from a 5 minute trip to bring up the laundry from the basement, discovers a melted Popsicle on the once immaculate kitchen floor
  • a toy car that has been beaten against walls and stomped on by plastic gigantic dinosaurs, and bombarded with "landslides" of rocks, has finally disintegrated
But what part of a child's psyche cannot accept broken food as edible?! I have tried to envision every possible angle as to why this is so, and I simply cannot wrap my mind around it.

I have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep their food intact. I don rubber gloves and grab tweezers, to ensure that a slice of pasteurized, synthetic piece of cheese is carefully extracted from its cellophane wrapper. One crack in the smooth, unnaturally yellow landscape of that square is met with arms crossed in front of their chests, and a lip that has amazingly swelled three inches beyond the upper lip. A stomp of the foot and vigorous shaking of the head alerts me that the cheese will now not be eaten.
So can't eat this stuff.

I know! I have tried reasoning with them, explaining that once the dang thing is bitten, it becomes the exact thing that they refused to eat. No headway.

Hot dog buns are divided with surgical precision, because the moment that bun becomes two SEPARATE pieces...inedible. (If you have ever watched Seinfeld's "Undateble" episode, you'll understand the tone of voice I'm taking here.) It doesn't matter that the EXACT SAME BUN (although it be in circular form rather than oblong) IS edible in two pieces with a hamburger. I have held up physical examples of both, read the ingredients from both bags, only to look up, see the lips, and know I will have to consume the broken hot dog and bun (and I don't even LIKE hot dogs...they frighten me.)

This isn't exclusive to just the bun. Cook a hot dog too long in the microwave and it will split. I'm usually able to hide this under ketchup and mustard, but just tonight, Kamrin opened the door to the "cooker," saw the split hot dog, grabbed it in his pudgy little hand and I suddenly had a scene from some overly dramatic black and white film. As he grasped the dog, his eyes teared up, with the back of his hand meeting his forehead as he throws his head back and he closes his eyes...(ever seen one of those movies where the voice is several octaves lower and drawn out in slow motion?) "Nooooo!" he screams, as he drops to his knees, his hand opening, palm up, as the V-shaped meat product drops to the floor. In a nano-second, it is consumed by one of the dogs, who instinctively KNEW this was going to happen.

Even the tantalizing lure of sweets, such as a chocolate chip cookie (and who can resist that?) has lost its magnetism if it has a notch in it. "Who bited this?! I don't want it!" Their rage against the imperfection is manifested in throwing the cookie onto the counter hard enough to now break it into several chocolate infested crumbs. I lick a thumb, press it into the pieces and insert into mouth. Can't let anything go to waste!

This from the same people who will willingly consume cereal dust. You know, the pulverized leftovers of any boxed breakfast product which has sifted to the bottom of the bag? I can't eat that. Urgh.

Others who have made the ultimate imperfection list include:
  • cheese sticks (even though you immediately peel them into asymmetrical poles), 
  • graham crackers (try that with S'mores!), 
  • and those super-cheap Popsicles that come in the fishnet bag. 
  • Whoever invented fruit roll-ups, has an evil sense of humor. Has anyone EVER unwrapped one of those whole? (Actually, I have a secret which brings me close enough 99% of the time.)
P.S. Are you starting to wonder about my children's diet by now? Yeah, I know. I know.

BUT, against all odds, the foods that pass, despite their flaws include:
  • Hershey's chocolate bars (mostly because they are still square when you break them and also, who DOESN'T eat chocolate?!)
  • Tortilla chips. They HAVE to be broken to dip.
  • Chipped M-n-M's. (Sometimes found weeks old in the car and STILL eaten)
  • Suckers (lollipops), but this is if-y, they need to be broken by the owner, if broken upon purchase...inedible (again, refer to Seinfeld) and usually only by Kamrin who has an insatiable sweet tooth.
  • Pies and cakes
At least I don't have to deal with different foods not touching...not yet. I'm sure that's coming, with all the drama of an over-cooked hot dog.

Side note: Anyone else have Patsy Cline stuck in their heads? I do, so here ya go:

  You're welcome. Also, if you want the fruit roll-up secret, comment, I'll tell you.


  1. I read that toddlers (especially around age 3) inherently feel out of control, and, therefore, feel the need to make things perfect. Orderly (at least, in their eyes) Whole. Things that are not whole or not as anticipated just won't do. Hopefully, it will pass.

  2. Sweetest - I just wish they felt that way about their messy rooms!

  3. My kid gets insane when the outside of his corndog gets cracked. In most cases he's fine, but with corn dogs, he's a Nazi!

  4. Dear M. - Wow. Haven't had corndogs enough to come across that one yet. Thanks for the heads up.

    To All: The secret to the fruit roll-ups, start by unrolling slightly peeling a small corner of the fruit, and pulling on the CELLOPHANE, NOT the fruit. I had it all backwards.

  5. NOT A CRACKED HOT DOG!!! Fun blog! My first visit

  6. My almost 3yo reacts the same to a broken piece of sliced cheese...BUT she will also ask me to fold such piece (hence breaking it) so it doesn't get...wait for it...broken.

    Uhhh, huh, wha...?????

    Toddlers baffle me.

    Visiting from RDC

  7. Dawn -
    Thank you for reading!

    Carrie -
    I have a feeling this is only the beginning....Thanks for visiting.