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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Breakfast Incident

oatmealThis one day’s breakfast would change everything.  Hopefully.  After attending an early-evening meeting, we had traveled most of the night, arriving to the dacha around 4:00 am.  Naturally, the children had slept, after being plied by my husband (Guilty Party #1) with ice cream (Guilty Act #1) around 10 pm.  By 12:30 am, he bought them small hamburgers (Guilty Act #2) and gave bites of meat to the dogs who also got to stretch their legs.

I should have known that, with these co-conspirators working in the dark of night, we were bound to have Problems in the morning.  Benedetto and I were not well-rested like the children, having to Pay Attention so that we arrived at our intended destination.

“Okay, everyone, set your alarms for 8:00 am.  Mama and Papa have not slept while we were traveling, so we might sleep until later,” I instructed.  “Petya, you’re in charge of breakfast.  Everyone start school by 9:00 am.”

Naturaly, I was up before 9:00 am, as well, and very surprised as to what I found.  Petya gave me the low-down.breakfast-toast

“I tried to make them oatmeal.  Mashenka doesn’t like oatmeal.”

She didn’t like oatmeal, and already, I wasn’t liking the sound of this.

“So we had yogurt and decided not to make a lot of noise with breakfast, which we could eat later.”

“Later?  Okay…” I nodded.  “Why are there only three spoons here in the sink?” I was conducting an investigation of my own.

“Sashenka didn’t want to eat her yogurt.  She said she would eat it when we had our second breakfast.”

yogurtI looked over at her, her long hair still wet in the back.  With sleep deprivation on my side, this was not the day to mess with me.

“Please go and dry your hair.  Nothing has changed.  You are to get ready the same as usual, whether I am here to give you non-stop instructions or not.  You do not come to breakfast, nor to school with wet hair,” I tell her, while turning back to Petya.

“Second breakfast?”

“To keep the noise down.”

I understood his point, which, innocent and well-meaning soul that he was, was not at all linked to their point, namely, wasting time.  Two breakfasts?  Less time for homeschool!  In general, I was in charge of lunch and dinner.  Benedetto made them breakfast each morning, and usually catered to their whims, as any doting Italian father would.

“Stop it,” I told him upon occasion.  “Stop making each one something different.  At every other meal, we all eat pretty imagesmuch the same thing.  If it’s a food that one child really – really – really can’t stand, I can see skipping it, but this is not a cafeteria….”

“What’s the big deal?  Why shouldn’t they eat what they want?  I make a couple of different items,” he shrugged.  “You make too big a deal over the smallest things.”

“Right, like them getting their way every moment of every day….”

Well, today, we saw what was the Big Deal.  One didn’t want her yogurt, one didn’t want her oatmeal, and then, when I suggested toast, I learned that Pasha didn’t care for whole wheat toast, either.

“Not even with butter, or jelly, or honey?” I asked incredulously.

“I’ll have plain bread, don’t toast it,” he told Petya, still laboring in the kitchen.  Even with toast, they had to be different.

p1010894And that’s how the kids came to eat toast (or bread) and water for their “second breakfast”, following the hot cocoa and yogurt of the one an hour earlier.

“You have five minutes,” I intoned, more than a little irritated.  “This behavior may fly with your father, but I would think that the one day, THE ONE DAY, that your father and I are trying to get a couple of hours of sleep, after he feeds you ICE CREAM AND HAMBURGERS for late-night snacks, you could TRY to get with the program.  Each one of you is more babyish than the next:  no yogurt for me, no hot cereal for me, no toast for me.  Just forget it.  See if you travel anywhere with us.  What a bunch of babies!  We can’t take you anywhere if you act like this, much less across the street.  You owe your brother and your parents an apology.”




And thus we began another delightful day at La Nostra Casa, the Russian Dacha where everyone is at least a Diva, if not Drama King or Queen.

As soon as we turn our heads for a moment….

Do your kids have to have Special Foods?



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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    Our 2 daughters are pretty solid vegetarians – this comes from parents who are very much meat eaters. So, it is difficult for me to find what I think might be tasty to serve them. My youngest likes to arrange her food as she eats it. She eats it so that it ends up on the plate in squares, circles or rectangles. Her brother distracts her and messes it up but he is much older than she is that she knows he is lovingly teasing her. Her Dad teases her about it and I say to leave her alone she can eat her food any way it suits her. So food issues and special foods….yes indeed.

  2. avatar Sue says:

    uh… you do sound a little… rigid about all of this.

    No wet hair at breakfast or homeschool? Why on earth should that matter to anyone but the girl with wet hair? And if it doesn’t bother her, why should it bother you? It will dry eventually.

    Aren’t they each old enough to get their own breakfasts, if and when they are hungry? Why must they all eat the same thing at the same time, if they are spending the morning at home? I’m all for order and routine, but come on. Some days maybe roll with the flow a little, it will make you all happier.

    • avatar admin says:

      I hear you, Sue, lol. As Benedetto would say, “Lighten up.” But I’m the one who has to deal with crowd control and picky eaters who are unfortunately often put into high level social situations for breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings. Sitting at a table with hair drip- drip- dripping is not very appetizing. I know that most people think homeschoolers lay around all day in their pajamas, but it’s actually like school where they get dressed, dry their hair, try to make pleasant conversation. The the rules are there in order to… have order.

      Ours came from extremely rigid, scheduled lifestyles in the orphanage. A minute or two of decisions (chocolate or vanilla ice cream?) could take hours– they would simply freeze up, never having been allowed to make decisions. So it’s easier to schedule them, then give out a little bit of line/freedom, some fall apart, and we reel them in again.

      It’s a delicate balance.

      But hey, I’m all for them getting their own breakfasts. Unfortunately, three out of four would vote for pop-tarts, it would take them an hour to make, they might burn up the toaster, and then all their teeth would fall out. 🙂

  3. avatar Connie says:

    I’ve been thinking about this the past week and know what you are going through. My oldest daughter is 14 and is not only very picky, she’s also lactose intolerant. She was diagnosed at age 8 and the doctor said it will get worse as she gets older. The doctor was so right. It really limits what foods she can eat. Try cooking with no milk, cheese, mayo, yogurt, etc. Plus she’s extremely picky so it leaves very few foods. I actually talked to her last night about trying to eat new foods, because what she can eat is slowing diminishing because the lactose problem. Luckily my youngest daughter is a good eater with only a few things she hates.
    As far as breakfast goes, it’s different at our house because there are only two kids, but for the most part, they get their own breakfast unless I’m making something they like say French toast. I let my oldest daughter use the stove on weekends if she wants bacon and eggs, but only if I’m home and she agrees to clean up her mess. My younger daughter is 10 and will be using the stove in a few years, but for now she’s happy using the microwave to make snacks and soup. I remember growing up with our family of seven and we could get our own breakfast and make some snacks – there was a time limit (kitchen was not open all day for breakfast) and we had to clean up after we got it.
    One thing I might suggest is maybe having one kid at a time helping get breakfast for the family. That way they could get a mini cooking lesson and learn how to prepare a few things.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Connie, great suggestion! As far as the cooking and the laundry, we have not been pushing them to learn anything, just to help set the table, carry food to the table, fold their own laundry, etc. We figure that they had to fend for themselves for so many years, nobody ever made them a meal at home, nobody ever did their wash…. But nothing wrong with a few new goals for the new year! 🙂

      I’m sorry that your daughter has certain foods she can’t tolerate. That must be hard for all of you. My kids are pretty good overall with foods, I just need something to whine about occasionally, lol.

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