Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Breakfast Nazi

We have a Breakfast Nazi in our house. He goes by the name of "Yaakov," though in the morning, I refer to him as "General Hans von Stupidmeister." Hans has very specific rules about his breakfast, and woe to the parent (that role is played by yours truly) who doesn't follow them to the letter. Also, as part of the game, Hans can change the rules at the last second, and then yell at you for not following the new rule, even though you had dutifully obeyed the original one.

Here are some of the Breakfast Rules, as dictated by Hans. Violation of the rules result in being called "stupid."

1. Hans must eat at the picnic table. DO NOT SUGGEST he eat at the big table with everyone else.

2. Hans not only can take out every single box of cereal, in fact, he MUST. Regardless of whether he plans to eat from it or not.

3. Said boxes of cereal must be placed ON THE FLOOR next to the picnic table, except if Hans decides they are to be placed ON THE PICNIC TABLE ITSELF. Get it right, Mommy!

4. NO ONE ELSE may eat from the General's cereal. (Ariella and I are forced to make mad dashes to the picnic table, grab the cereal, pour it into our bowls, and then return it to its spot amidst Hans' indignant howling that we took HIS cereal. Attempts at explaining that these cereals are for everyone are unceremoniously rebuffed.)

5. Hans likes cereals mixed up. Or not. Sometimes, after he requests two cereals together in his bowl, he begins the indignant howling again, for how could Mommy have been so STUPID as to mix the cereals in his bowl???? ("But Hans," I mutter helplessly, "You just said you wanted them mixed up." "No I dinn't, Mommy!")

6. The General prefers his cereal dry, without milk. (This is a rather recent development, and has seriously thrown off my milk-purchasing calculations.) Today, he asked for some milk. I poured the milk and we had a pleasant discussion about how the milk raised the height of the cereal. After one bite, Hans yelped, "Mommy, this cereal is WET!" I was then forced to dump out the offending Cheerios and pour a fresh, DRY bowl. (Throwing out Hans' uneaten cereal is one of my painful morning tasks.)

7. Hans enjoys a morning stroll during breakfast. Even though Mommy is exhorting him to eat so he has enough time for all the bowls he will want (and then not finish), Hans pays her no mind. He takes his time, taking frequent breaks, and then is VERY UPSET when suddenly it is time to go and he did not finish his breakfast.

8. Mommy then needs to make Hans a baggie of cereal to take in the car, which he knows he is allowed to eat only until we reach gan, at which point he places it in a special, predetermined spot in the car to await him upon his return trip home.

The only rule of mine that we manage to keep (not without a good deal of chasing and limb-flailing) is that getting dressed happens before breakfast. Go Mommy! Score!

Now, some of you good parents out there are probably shaking your heads and saying, "You must be firm, but kind with the children. Explain to Hans in no uncertain terms that this is not how we eat breakfast, that he must sit at the table and finish everything he is given before asking for more. Do not give in to his unreasonable demands! You are the mother! Set boundaries!"
(Good parents set boundaries; less good parents cower in fear of the Breakfast Nazi.)

In my defense, flimsy though it may be, the goal of my morning is "happiness." I need the children walking out of the door with smiles on their faces, happy and excited to go to gan/school. Starting the day with a fight about breakfast is a slippery slope to crying-fests and idon'twanttogotogan-itis. So I give in. Does it work? I don't know, but when I drop the little boy off at big boy gan, he races me down the hill and gives me some fabulous hugs and kisses, and then waves goodbye. With a smile. Ahh.....Yaakov has returned.


Baila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baila said...

My parenting motto: Pick your battles. Sounds like your choosing right to me.

Of course, noone ever gave me the Mother of the Year Awar--not that I ever wanted it.


Future conversation between Yaakov and Mrs. Yaakov:

Yaakov: I am only eating breakfast at this picnic table.

Mrs. Y: Fine, but you look like an idiot sitting at that tiny table and you have to make your own baggie of cereal to take to work.

Yaakov: Mommy, my wife is making me make my own bag of cereal, she's stupid!

kathleen said...

I am new to reading your blog but have enjoyed reading about your Aliyah experiences. We are planning on moving there as well. I agree with Baila- sometimes you just have to pick your battles (no one ever gave me the Mother of the Year award either). The future conversation comment was too funny!

Leezy said...

Your challenge could be minimized with fewer cereals in your house. (though that might introduce other challenges that you may not want to deal with - I know you like your cereals!)
Maybe I'm just jealous that we have so few cereals here...ah, remember that American grocery store aisle with cereals on both sides the entire length of the aisle.....actually it's ridiculous, but I really miss it!

faith/emuna said...

sorry, just bc seifeld thought it was ok doesnt make it right. call your son a dictator, a tyrant, a terrorist, but dont call him a nazi. (unless he puts you in a gas chamber, or makes you strip naked and shoots you into an open pit with lots of other bodies, or cuts open your womb etc, then you can call him a nazi)

Alisa said...

That was a bit harsh..

Alisa said...

(oops accidentally changed identities..)

faith/emuna said...

i think calling your child a nazi is harsh.
i also think that if we jews use nazi so flippantly, it serves to show the rest of the world that there are jews that think the nazis were kind of cute tyrants.