I Want Breakfast (I Don’t Want That)

My children are unhappy with the choices before them when it comes to meals. There are always better options. I just don’t share them with my poor, unhappy children. I keep them locked away while presenting them with the swill they are forced to consume every day.

One morning, The Oppressed wanted Carnation Instant Breakfast, just not the disgusting vanilla we had tucked away in the pantry. I asked what was wrong with the vanilla. She told me, “It’s disgusting.” She wanted chocolate. I told her vanilla was fine and there’s nothing wrong with vanilla. Here we have another obvious example of how I do not love my children. A truly loving parent would go to the store and buy chocolate or strawberry or another flavor of Carnation Instant Breakfast. One that a child would really like.

Vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast

Much to her chagrin, I informed The Oppressed I would not be buying another flavor of Carnation Instant Breakfast until what we had was finished. This upset the child. It was another vivid example of how I do not love my children and do not see that they are fed and taken care of. She wanted a flavor other than vanilla. She really wanted “Carnation” and now she can’t have it. I remind her that’s not true. She can still have it. “I’m not drinking disgusting vanilla!” she exclaimed.

This brings us to my favorite part of the mealtime stories I share with you. We have cereal. None of the cereals we have taste good. They’re disgusting. We have granola bars. Disgusting. There is fruit. There is always plenty of fruit at our house. Disgusting. Disgusting. Disgusting. Everything is gross. She wants Carnation Instant Breakfast and she doesn’t want vanilla.

Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast

I inform my children the car will be leaving soon and they will be going to school with or without breakfast. The Oppressed chokes down a granola bar. A nasty, disgusting granola bar and washes it down with a glass of water. The juice we have is disgusting and she won’t drink milk. Disgusting. We drive to school. The Oppressed curses my name for making her eat disgusting subpar, un-tasty food. She asks when I will buy more Carnation. I will do so when the children finish what we already have. She looks forward, hoping someone will take one for the team and choke down the vanilla Carnation so the entire household (her) can get something tasty to have for breakfast soon.

Teen Drivers (Part 2)

Our family of seven has just welcomed our fourth driver. Wife and I are hoping to delegate some of the errands to the children very soon should there be a time someone or something need to be picked up. This child has just received her learner’s permit. We patiently wait until she can get her license and drive on her own. In the meantime, we continue with our diligent parenting and errand-running, waiting for that moment when Wife and I can just sit back and let one of the cherubs handle it. Until then we sit… and wait… and hope.

Another one of The Gaggle is the latest one with the learner’s permit. She and I went out to the driveway she she could get a feel for what it’s like to be behind the wheel. She made it abundantly clear she had no intention of actually driving the car. She just wanted to get in the car and see what it was like.

I gave her the keys and we got in the car. She started the engine. She was ready. She didn’t think so but I informed her she was. I told her she had prepared for this day. She took a test and passed it. I reminded her she really had prepared herself.

She put her foot on the brake and put the car in drive. She never took her foot off the brake. She just put the car back in park. She released the brake and the car rolled an inch, maybe two inches. She let out an excited cry. She wasn’t expecting the car to move at all. I patted her on the shoulder and told her how proud I was. It was a small step, especially for someone who was more than a little apprehensive about driving. We went back inside and told Wife about the big first step taken. Later that afternoon, we drove to a parking lot. The Gaggle refused to drive there, even if it was just a question of making three or four turns without really leaving the neighborhood. She didn’t care. She didn’t want to and I wasn’t going to kill what smoldering confidence there was from our driveway venture.

I drove us to the parking lot. I killed the ignition and switched seats with her. I wanted her to to it all, including starting the car, as simple as that may seem. She got in and adjusted her seat. She adjusted her mirrors. She started the ignition and made a face like she was operating a loaded tank. Driving and firing. She wasn’t ecstatic about this. I was excited for her and didn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling the joy. I think I may have been excited enough for the two of us.

A car dashboard with the speedometer reading 9 mph.
This is about as fast as
she was willing to go.

She took her foot off the brake and we rolled forward. She wasn’t interested in picking up any speed. We did 5 mph. I’m not exaggerating this. She did a couple of laps around the parking lot and practiced parking a few times. She did well. Towards the end of the session, I asked her if she was feeling dangerous. If so, she could bump it up to 10 mph. She did. It was exhilarating. I don’t think she had ever been in something so fast before in her life. The driving came to an end. I asked her if she wanted to drive home. She emphatically refused. I drove us home. She spent the night recovering from the adrenaline rush. I’m looking forward to our next driving lesson.

It’s Time for Coffee

Children are learning things every day. Sometimes they learn on their own and sometimes Wife or I need to teach them.

We had one such teachable moment with one of The Gaggle. They wanted to get a coffee. I stopped at a drive-thru so they could get one. The order was a little difficult as they kept changing their mind as to what it was they wanted. God bless the poor person taking the order. They never lost their temper or raised their voice once. Upon receiving the coffee, I drove away. I could see the look of disappointment in The Gaggle’s face as we made our way home.

“This is black,” they said.

“Yes. You wanted a black coffee,” I reminded them.

“They don’t put cream in a black coffee?”

I put my hand on the child’s shoulder and said no, they don’t put cream in a black coffee. That’s why they call it a “black coffee”. If the child had wanted cream, they should have said, “coffee with cream.”

“That’s dumb,” they said. “I should sue Starbuck’s”

I tell the child to go ahead and try, but Starbuck’s doesn’t care what just happened where we were.

“I mean McDonald’s.”

“Again,” I say, “Knock yourself out, but it’s not McDonald’s fault.”

“Wait,” they say as they look behind them, hoping to catch a glimpse of where we were. “Where were we?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “I’m driving. I need to look forward so I can see where we’re going.”

“Well, wherever we were,” they say as they turn back and get settled. “We should sue them. They screwed up my coffee.”

Of course they did.