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.