Breakfast Agonistes

A True Account of Events in the Rovira Household on the morning of Saturday, February 6th, 2016.

9:07 a.m.: Princess Grace (9) awakens and seeks out food.

9:10 a.m.: Princess Grace settles upon a desired breakfast item — Honey Nut Cheerios — in record time and pulls it out of the kitchen cabinet.

9:11 a.m.: Princess Grace discards the empty Honey Nut Cheerio box in disdain and retrieves the quite full box of Crispy Oats and places it on the breakfast table. She asks herself a question probably not for the first time, and certainly not for the last: why would someone put an empty box of cereal back in the kitchen cabinet? She then answers it to herself: “Penn didn’t want anyone to know that he ate the rest of it.”

9:12 a.m.: Princess Grace retrieves a bowl and samples the Crispy Oats, of which it is boasted upon its very box that it is “Heart Healthy,” and decides that it is in fact Pathetic. I fear a bias against healthy foods has begun, if it was not already well under way.

9:13 a.m. through 9:17 a.m.: Princess Grace attempts to drip honey out of a nearly empty honey bottle onto her Pathetic Oats. Father observes. Mother remains in bed reading, oblivious to her daughter’s life and death breakfast struggle.

9:18 a.m. through 9:20 a.m.: Princess Grace turns the honey bottle upside down on the breakfast table, keeping the cap carefully shut, and watches TV.

9:21 a.m. through 9:29 a.m.: Princess Grace returns to her honey bottle and, unscrewing the cap, discovers a nice little puddle of honey that has collected in its bottom. She then attempts to spoon it into the cereal. The cereal sticks to the spoon. Using her fingers, she then tries to coax the honeyed cereal back into the bowl.

She proceeds to lick her fingers, and then says, “I give up.”

9:30 a.m.: Father valiantly intercedes: “You should give up. It won’t work that way because the honey is too sticky. You’d need to melt it into a liquid to distribute it around the cereal, and then there probably isn’t enough to make it taste like much. Why don’t you dip the tip of your spoon in honey each time before taking a bite? Then you’ll have a bit of honey on your spoon every time.”

9:31 a.m.: Princess Grace is Not Buying It, but Has an Idea.

9:32 a.m.: Princess Grace gets a Carton of Milk from the Fridge and Pours its Contents onto the Cereal. There is a pathetic, insufficient little splash of milk.

9:33 a.m.: Princess Grace proceeds to retrieve the second carton of milk from the fridge. She pours its entire contents — five drops — onto her cereal. She may have coaxed a sixth drop out of the carton.

9:34 a.m.: Princess Grace has Done Something with the honey and the milk and the cereal that Father didn’t observe and is now happily eating. Father has now decided to Blog About It, titling his work, “The Great Breakfast Insurrection of 2016.”

9:35 a.m.: Princess Grace says to Father: “It worked! It tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.”

9:36 a.m.: Father changes the title of his imagined work to “Breakfast Agonistes.”

9:37 a.m.: Princess Grace finishes her cereal and then proceeds to watch T.V. with her Siblings.

10:48 a.m.: Princess Grace walks by the kitchen and announces, “I am going back to bed.”

The Great Salsa Jar Emasculation of 2015

Sheridan (aged 26… for the last 18 consecutive years): <Banging salsa jar, then yelling across house.> “Jim, come be the man.”

Jim (not aged 26 for a very long time): <Approaches Sheridan and hugs her from behind.> “So, what you’re saying is, you need a man?”

Sheridan: “Just open the jar… man.”

Jim: “Go ahead. Say it. You need a man.”

Grace (aged 8): <Turns salsa jar upside down, bangs it on the counter, opens lid. Walks away.>

Sheridan: <Laughter.>

Jim: <Sigh.>

Dad and Breakfast…

My wife left very early this morning to take the Praxis test in English at a college about forty miles away from where we live.  That means I was left in charge of breakfast.  But it gets worse.

When my children awoke, they all knew I was left in charge of breakfast.

“Do you want eggs and toast?” (which I had already made).

“No, we want cereal with milk” (Grace and Penn almost simultaneously).

Zoe got up about fifteen minutes earlier than everyone else, went straight to the refrigerator, and showed me what she wanted for breakfast: leftovers from last night’s white bean and sweet potato soup.

Who was I to argue?

But of course once Zoe saw that Grace and Penn were having cereal with milk, she suddenly wanted cereal with milk. Copycat.

Now cereal with milk in our household can never be just cereal with milk.  It has to have something else.  Grace started the barrage:

“Can I have bananas with it?”

“I think we’re out of bananas.”

“Can I have blueberries?”

“I think we’re out of blueberries.”

“Can I have chocolate chips”

Quite uncontrollably, deep in the recesses of my mind, an ancient song started playing: “Dad is great! He gave us the chocolate cake!”

“No, Grace, you can’t have chocolate chips.”  Although I sincerely felt her suggestion was a good one and actually wanted some myself, I still fear the conniption fit.

Now you need to understand that my daughter is not just a five year old.  She is five going on thirty.  That means she does not trust any man’s account of what is in the refrigerator without checking first herself.  After we both rummaged through the refrigerator, I said, “I think the only fruit that we have is apples.”

“Ok, I’ll have an apple, but I don’t want it cut up.”


Then Zoe, of course, wanted an apple too.

Ninjutsu and Childhood

My daughter Grace walked out of her room this morning dressed like this and said, “Today I’m going to be a ninja!”

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