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Published November 11, 2013, 05:42 PM

Parenting Perspectives: Kids eat all the good food

There are definite upsides to having children: they’re cute; they’re super cuddly; and they come with certain tax benefits.

There are definite upsides to having children: they’re cute; they’re super cuddly; and they come with certain tax benefits.

There are also downsides: they puke a lot; they don’t clean up said puke; and they do socially inappropriate things in public (the more public, the better as far as they’re concerned).

But, the worst part of having kids is the fact that they eat all the good junk food in the house – and fast. If you want a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, you’d better have a plan. The minute you walk in from the grocery store, stuff that box and some milk under your coat, go to a dark room, close the door, bolt the lock, and, as quietly as you can, chew your cereal (it’s a good idea to take a head of broccoli with you as it will mask the scent of simple carbohydrates that children love so much).

Just be careful. Junk food drives children stark-drooling mad. As a matter of fact, I heard about a mother in Nebraska who was trampled to death by a herd of her own children when she opened up a box of Corn Pops an hour before supper. True story.

The cereal/cookie/chip manufacturers are in on the whole thing. You think they couldn’t make a bag that opens quietly so that you could hide your snack food consumption from your children? We’ve got unmanned drones; we’ve got maps on the Internet incorporating pictures taken from space! They have the technology to make a quiet package. But they don’t. The rustling of a Cheetos bag is louder than a train hauling a fleet of fighter jets in a tunnel next to a nuclear weapons testing site. It’s a virtual junk food alarm system.

One time I went to a grocery store at 2 a.m. and bought a bag of Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies. I walked in the door of my home at precisely 2:36 a.m., slowly opened the bag, and withdrew three cookies (I did not close the bag because I suspected I’d want more). At 2:38 a.m., an angry mob of 13 neighborhood kids appeared on my front porch, banging on the door and demanding cookies. True story.

You know what? My wife and I recently bought a box of Reese’s Puffs cereal while our kids were staying at their grandparents’ house. Am I ashamed? OK, a little. But they leave us no honorable option.

Parents don’t eat things like whole grains and fiber because they’re good for them. Parents eat that stuff because if they bought only the foods they really like, it would all be devoured by the children within 24 hours. Countless bodies of starved parents would be found on cold kitchen linoleum, the corpses clutching empty Pop-Tarts boxes.

Further, kids never, ever close the box/bag, so everything gets stale. And they don’t do it because they’re irresponsible or forgetful or lazy. (They are, but that’s not why they do it.) It’s because, in their minds, they’re never finished. Once they open the box – about 43 seconds after you bring it into the house – they consider themselves to be engaged in the activity of eating Lucky Charms until the entire box is gone. In their minds, if they are not eating Lucky Charms at any given moment, it is only because they are between handfuls. They think, “I played for a while during the time that I was eating that box of Lucky Charms” or “I slept for a few hours while I was eating that box of Lucky charms.” But they never think, “I had a serving of Lucky Charms, and then I was done until I had my next serving.”

Some parents resort to deception. One of my co-workers (whose name I have changed) disapproved of me on two levels.

“You’re a terrible parent for bringing home Pop-Tarts,” said “Steve” (whose real name is Jeff Beach). “Eat them in the car before you get home.”

Another co-worker said, “I usually try to hide things.” A third told me his wife “hides stuff.” These are full-grown adults!

Making matters worse is children’s super sense of smell and extrasensory junk food perception (ESJFP). So you’re never safe. If you’re eating chips and salsa con queso late at night, they know. They’ll come wandering down the stairs under the guise of thirst or the need to use the bathroom.

“I’ve got to go potty – Oh, are you eating chips?”

Or if you have to go to their room for some reason, they’ll smell the junk food on you. These powers aren’t just some theory folks. Forum graphic designer Troy Becker says he’s seen the super smell in action.

As a matter of fact, I heard about one little girl in Ohio who devoured an entire box of Twinkies using only her ESJFP powers. She. Never. Even. Opened. The. Box.

True story.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734