Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cheez-it Hoarding

We’ve turned our children into Cheezit-hoarders. It was quite by accident. In general I’m opposed to Cheezits, partly because of their addictive quality which I came to know first hand when I was freshly out of college and in charge of my own food budget for the first time. I ate them by the boxfuls. It was quite uncontrollable, and I was young and clueless. My main opposition to Cheezits now comes from the fact that they are a processed food of epic proportions. Read the label if you don’t believe me. And while you’re at it, notice the salt content and the hydrogenated oils. There truly isn’t much good in Cheezits. But I completely understand they taste good. That said, my children and I had to come to terms in regards to the number of boxes of Cheezits I would provide on a weekly basis.

For several years now, the three boxes of processed snack food a week (primarily Cheezits, but sometimes goldfish or whale crackers) has been our bottom line. But as they all are in or approaching their teens, their appetites have increased. So has their mistrust of their siblings’ fair consumption of the Cheezits. Fights began to break out and nasty comments about who was eating how much were flung about. When my kids were little and fought over a toy I would always take the toy, place it on top of the refrigerator, and say, “If you’re going to fight about it, then I’m going to get rid of it.” That would settle that. But life, apparently, can’t go on without Cheezits. And all of them can reach the top of the fridge now.

My husband had a brilliant idea – put their names on the boxes. One box for each kid. Now each week I purchase three bags/boxes of processed snack food and I carefully label the packages one per child. No more fighting, but plenty of hoarding. Now that the boxes belong to them solely, they carefully dole out only a handful at a time. No longer do I find abandoned bowls of cheezits on the table. They eat them slowly, purposefully, like Charlie and his Wonka chocolate bars.

Boxes are beginning to pile up in the pantry for two of them. The third child lives very much in the moment at all times and that child’s box is empty by Wednesday. I asked one child who is in possession of three boxes at the time of this writing what he was saving them for and he said, “I don’t know. I just like having them.”

I’m sure there is a life lesson in here somewhere about valuing the things we have, saving for a rainy day, and not using the good china. No matter, I’m happy that my house is peaceful again. I suppose we are going to test the expiration dates validity on a few boxes. But that’s the thing about processed food – it’ll keep forever

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