You would think 5 kids and over 22 years of parenting would have made me a brilliant parental strategist....one who would be able to almost effortlessly "work the kids" to achieve a goal. You would also think, by the age of 50 I would no longer blush when I heard the word "vagina", or laugh every time some uses the word "duty" at work. Unfortunately, you would be wrong on all thoughts.
As a public service for you soon to be or recent parents, here's an excerpt from my upcoming book (not really) "Why Bad Things Happen To Good Ideas."
Issue - Kids who get up first eat all the "good" cereal, leaving the less sexy cereals for the late risers. This results in me having to listen to complaints....and having to eat Bran Flakes or Grape Nuts for my breakfast. Unacceptable.
Details- Having five boys means you go through a lot of cereal and a lot of milk over the course of a few days. At the height of consumption (when all boys are home), we probably go through 1-1.5 gallons of milk and 1.5/2 boxes of cereal at a breakfast. Against the suggestion of my wife, I would typically stock the cupboard with cereals such as "sexy" cereals as Honey Grahams, Oatmeal Squares, Life, Super Sugar Crisp, Captain Crunch, Raisin Bran, and the occasional Quisp. I would also toss in a Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, or Rice Chex to keep the sole adult in the family happy.
My Proposed Solution - Emphasize (meaning repeatedly scream) that early risers are not to "finish a box off", but are to leave some for others. In other words, a box should not be drained until the late risers are up. At this point, I know what you are thinking. Did I fire 6 shots or 5....I mean, why didn't I just tell the late risers to get up earlier, which would avoid the issues. Simple reason why....I am one of the late risers, and there is no way I get up early on the weekend.
Unintended/Undesirable Consequence - Although the "don't drain a box of cereal before 9:30" strategy sounds flawless, and it did result in cereal boxes not being emptied before 9:30, it had an undesirable consequence. That consequence is that I ended up with 5 boxes of cereals in the cabinet, all with approximately 1.5 teaspoons worth of cereal in them. The early risers chose to go with the literal interpretation of the law, rather than the spirit of the law. Yes, the wouldn't technically drain the box. Yes, there was some left for others.....just not a bowl full....or even barely a spoonful.
Resolution - To avoid the problem, we now buy 4 boxes of identical "healthier" cereals. No variety, no issues, no fun.
Way to go boys. Way to ruin it for everyone. Wonder if anyone would find a box of Frosted Flakes if I hid them in my closet. ** said by the oldest child of the house, me.
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