Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sugar-Coated Demon Child

Let me begin by telling you that Thursday was very educational. The day began so sweetly. Flik and I went to a play date with our playgroup that has largely disbanded now that our oldest kids are now all in pre-school (all on different days) and we all have second children. Schedules have just made regular get-togethers impractical. But at playgroup, Flik was so well-behaved. He was good with the other kids, and when it was time to go he didn't fuss a bit; just walked right to his shoes and coat to get ready to leave.

When we got home, we had more fun, playing in the kitchen making a "stew" in the kitchen sink by filling it with water and then adding various "ingredients": coffee grounds, puffed rice, Lawry's seasoning salt, maple syrup, etc. Lots of stirring. Our final ingredient: Capn' Crunch Berries.

Quick aside for some background. Flik's breakfast cereal choices are Cheerio's, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Rice Crispies. We also have some Total Raisin Bran for Mommy and Daddy, which Flik sometimes chooses as well. Flik dies not eat sugar for breakfast. In fact, he doesn't eat a lot of sugar at all. He gets a glass of juice for breakfast and occasionally some candy. A while back, Daddy took Flik with him to go grocery shopping and came home with a box of Cap'n Crunch Oops All Berries. It's like Crunch Berry, but with all berries and no Cap'n Crunch. When asked to explain the non-standard purchase, Daddy's reasoning: "Flik asked to buy it." Now there's a Daddy reason to buy something for you. I suggest you all take my husband with you when you go shopping. Maybe he'll be feeling equally generous. So I stuck the cereal in the back of the pantry and figured Flik could have a small handful as an occasional treat. It's about equivalent to a snack-sized candy bar, I figured.

Anyway, when I gave him the cereal to add to his stew, he of course wanted some to eat. I gave him a small bowl with about ten to fifteen colored puffs in it and told him he could add as many to his stew as he wanted, or he could eat as many as he wanted. He, of course, ate the whole bowl. Now normally, this would have been the end of the cereal, but my sister was visiting that day as well, and she had a handful of cereal, too. "Mmmm. Haven't had this stuff in ages. I'm having a bowl." So she poured herself a bowl of cereal. Of course Flik wanted some in a bowl with milk, too. So we had a talk.

"This cereal is really sugary and it's not very good for you. In fact, it's really like candy. So I'll make a deal with you. You have one reward token for a piece of candy. If you want, you can give me your candy reward token for a bowl of cereal."


Flik hunts down his reward token and gets himself a small bowl of sugary cereal. Thirty minutes later the chaos begins. Jumping, running, climbing, kicking, squirming, yelling. Oh it was insanity. The child could not sit still. He could not stand still. He climbed on the back of the couch. I told him that it is not allowed. He climbed on the back of the couch again. He went into timeout. He came out of time out. He climbed on the back of the couch again. And oh the meltdowns! Perfectly happy and squirmy one minute, full blown meltdown the next. Five minutes to recover. Pretty happy again. Oh no, did you not play the game the exact way that I wanted you to play? Full blown meltdown. Eventual recovery. Three minutes later... you guessed it: MELTDOWN.

He had transformed into a completely different child before our eyes. Now I'm not entirely sure what they put into that cereal. Sure, Flik doesn't get a lot of sugar in his regular diet, but we have had very sugar-filled days before. Halloweens, Christmases, Easters. They are all days of pure sugar in our house. Yet I have never seen him turn into the crazy emotional basket case jitter bug that he was yesterday.

When Daddy got home, I informed him that the cereal would be going into the garbage, once I was sure it wouldn't induce another meltdown.

Yesterday morning, while I was still in bed and Daddy was feeding Flik breakfast, I received a text from my husband recounting the following discussion:

Flik: Can I have some of those colored balls?

Daddy: No.

Flik: Why?

Daddy: Because they make you crazy.

Flik: Please!

Daddy: No

Flik: If I have some... I'll promise to keep the craziness inside... I promise.