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Protein Shakes! Just Kidding.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. My kids won't stop eating. When did three meals a day and maybe a snack or two get replaced with a never-ending succession of noshes? It's like I'm running an all-day chef tasting menu. If I were to follow the advice of every parenting guidebook out there (I'm assuming...I don't actually read them), I'm guessing the solution to this problem is to serve everyone the same meal at the same time with two healthy snacks interspersed at exactly the right interval to provide them with a boost of energy to rally them for the next adventure on our daily chart. This is not happening. Not only do I not have an activity chart. I hate charts. I also do not have a meal schedule. Or a time when we all wake up. The only reason I wake a kid these days is to attend a virtual morning school meeting. Otherwise, I'm maximizing the morning peace as much as possible. This, of course, means that they wake up sporadically (drink) demanding breakfast one by one during a window of approximately two hours. I know what you're thinking...aren't some of them old enough to get their own breakfast? Why yes. Yes, they are. (Drink) But I can't deal with a few of them in the kitchen whipping up their own concoctions (did you know that whipped coffee is trending right now?) as I attempt to do dishes, get younger kids' breakfasts, and make sure everyone is actually attending online classes.

So let's dissect this two hour window. Child number one wanders downstairs, requests let's just say a bowl of cereal and a banana (this is not actually what they request, but you will judge my handling of meals even more if I tell you the truth). Ten minutes later, child number two comes down and requests "same as yesterday." What the hell? There's five kids and I'm supposed to recall exactly what this kid had an ENTIRE 24 HOURS AGO? You've got to be joking. After piecing together the order through a series of questions and memory prompts, child number two is served. Child number three is usually Kaleb and is pretty easy. Chocolate Toast Crunch cereal. Breakfast of champions. But then child number one sees the cereal and decides she would like some too. But without milk. No with milk. No with milk in a glass on the side. No chocolate milk in a glass on the side. Oh wait, how about half regular milk and half chocolate milk heated on the side? For God's sake. (Drink - not because I was interrupted just now, but because we both need a break from my morning routine.)

Just a reminder - there are still two more kids to feed and we are only on breakfast. When kid number four trickles in, the bacon game usually begins. Three out of five of them are obsessed with bacon and I've let the obsession escalate because I figure it's at least protein. And I buy the center cut stuff which is leaner. So stop judging. Oh, and I microwave it on a special plate so the grease drips off. Kid number four will inevitably request bacon which is no big deal - three minutes in the microwave. EXCEPT. Kid numbers one and two will want some too. This morning I proactively asked kids one and two if they wanted to get their daily pork quota. One said yes and one said no. I distinctly remember this because I was surprised and wondered if she was feeling alright. So kid four got her breakfast (drink), kid two got her bacon, at which point, kid one saw kid two's bacon and requested some. Really? Now mind you, the day is young and patience is still on my side. I did reprimand her for changing her mind, but still made the bacon. I know, I know...I should have just said, "sorry, you're s.o.l." But I could write an entire blog about the repercussions of that decision. (Drink) When batch #2 was done, kid two wanted more see where this is going.

By the time kid five is served, I'm usually about done with the breakfast dishes, but James and I are starving (drink). I'm gonna say it's about 11:00. If we're lucky, we get to eat, but sometimes it's more of a grab a banana and remnants of uneaten breakfasts and move on. To snack time.

I would love to say that out comes the celery, peanut butter, and raisins for those adorable (and healthy!) ants on logs. Nope! Instead, I try to fend them off until lunch, but usually wind up setting them lose in the pantry to help themselves to a salty snack that doesn't require any dishes. Once again, I hear you, dear reader. Why not a banana or apple? Excellent idea! (Drink) I did think of that and even tried to enforce it during a period of deluded optimism. Then I got sick of throwing away overripe fruit. But can't you make a smoothie or very berry muffins out of the fruit instead of wasting it? SHUT UP. PLEASE. JUST LET ME WRITE MY BLOG. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WRITE A HEALTHY MOM HEALTHY KID BLOG, GO FOR IT. I WON'T READ IT.

You know what really sucks for kids in a big family? Unknowingly being the third or fourth kid in a row to ask for something. It goes something like this:

Kid 1: "Mom can I have some icy cold water?" (I'm killing myself...the request is really for grape juice)

Me: (Having just sat down to relax with a basket of laundry to fold) Eye roll, "Sure."

Kid 2: "Can I have some too?"

Me: "Yup." I'm actually kind of glad that the second request was made (drink) in conjunction with the first one as opposed to the back and forth exercise as demonstrated by the bacon incident.

Kid 3: (Just as I settle back down with the laundry...and this time, screamed across the house) "Moooooom?"

Me: "What?" Imagine a really annoyed voice.

Kid 3: "Can I have a snack?"

Me: Flips out on kid three. Like big time flip out.

Then I feel kind of bad because in hindsight, kid three actually didn't ask for much all day. Kids one and two had put me over the edge and kid three took the heat. So in addition to the guilt I feel for not making charts, schedules, healthy food, and better rules, I also feel guilty for losing my patience on the wrong kid. So I go to Dairy Queen and get kid three an apology (drink) blizzard. No, I'm kidding - there is a limit to my "parenting without a manual" approach (drink). And anyway, the yelling across the house was annoying. I won't feel guilty for long. Because you know what those manuals say - you can't parent out of guilt. So let it go, my friends. Don't worry about making power smoothies, protein shakes, and compost piles out of all those apple cores your kids are supposedly going through and let it go. But if your kids really do eat lots of fruits and vegetables, that's awesome. Truly. Maybe mine will one day too. In the meantime, I'm not losing sleep over it.

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