Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Tensile Strength of Cheerios

I tried to write this blog post 2 years ago, but couldn't come up with much more than the name.

Two years ago, I first noticed how the floors of the house were littered with a minefield of Cheerios. JB got those things everywhere. And the ones he wasn't tossing, dropping, and sprinkling about, Katy and I were spilling ourselves. No brooms were active enough to sweep the "danger" clear.

After they achieve a functional pincer grasp and their diets advance beyond mush and slush; after they demonstrate successful mastication of the beloved crunchy oat wheel, then you have to spend a few weeks worrying that they will get distracted while chewing and somehow wedge a cheerio into some narrow portion of their trachea...

THEN, when you are convinced they could chew and swallow a Cheerio in their sleep, you start to use those things for everything: snacks, teethers, passifiers, counting exercises, lessons in sharing, a form of distraction, reward for good behavior... They are like baby dog-biscuits!

Thing is...unless you have live-in help (or are the kind of parent that can't sleep if one item is out of place, or unless your living situation requires ruthless attention to packaging up food lest you attract varmint of all kinds) evidence of the parental overuse of Cheerios invariably shows up all over the floors of your house. I could have predicted all of this, but what caught me by surprise two years ago, and what still amuses me now, is the emergence of this superhuman power I possess: Whether bare-foot or wearing shoes, I have highly sensitive, perceptive abilities in my feet. If I skip, walk, hop, or otherwise landed on a single Cheerio, I can instantaneously reverse course. I will hop up off that thing without even causing damage. Maybe I might crack the "O" into 2 or 3 pieces, but I have learned to instinctively spring-load off those things before crushing them into impossible-to-clean-up piles of oat dust.

At first it was like every WW2 movie you've seen with the soldier's foot on the trip wire and the calculated, slow-motion determining how to back up off of that thing without making a big mess. But then it became smooth and seamless like a 007 dancer.

At some point, we all got better about not leaving Cheerios laying around, and many months could go by without one Cheerio narrowly escaping pulverization. BUT...

Now we are back to Cheerio mayhem again; and my toes and soles and ankles are back at it- bouncing off the cereal scattered around the floors of our house. It's a 1 1/2 year old thing. ML has mad self-feeding skilz, but a pile of Cheerios will not stay above ground when he is their commander.

So this is the part of motherhood is tricky.

You've got to stay on your toes... And you've got to be okay with some dust under your feet.

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