Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Oatmeal Experiment

So, after days, weeks, months, and years of complaints and declarations of ingratitude and entitlement, and a few days of certain hormones I had finally HAD IT, and declared that we would be eating oatmeal (made with milk, for added protein), fruits, and vegetables for every meal and snack FOR A WEEK to help us remember how blessed we really are to have our needs met and a variety of food easily available to us.

Day 1:
Ian is resigned; I've been his mother his entire life. He knows I am serious.
David is refusing to eat. (He thinks he will survive just fine on his secret stash of candy.)
Marie is resigned; I've been her mother her entire life. She knows I am serious.
Joseph and Jeffrey are happy; they LOVE fruits and vegetables and don't mind oatmeal.

I go grocery shopping and want to WEEP WITH JOY at how simple it is! No agonizing over what to buy (Is it healthy enough? Is it filling enough for hungry, hungry boys to justify the price? Is it chemicals disguised as food? Should I buy it when I can make it for less money? Shouldn't I try harder to incorporate more beans into our diet since they are healthy and inexpensive? If I buy this will they refuse to eat anything else?)! No hunting through coupons (fruits and vegetables don't usually have coupons and I bought store brand regular oats)!

Later that day, I decide that people can make things like apple crisp or carrot cake. So far, nobody is feeling desperate enough to put forth the effort.

Day 2:
I told the boys they may take hot dogs on their camp out if they do their chores without complaining or being reminded. One child is refusing to do a part of his chores that irritates him. 3 others: forgetful. (Final total: 2 boys can have hot dogs, 2 bitterly pack oatmeal. One package of candy is confiscated on the way to the van to leave for the camp out.)

Joseph and Jeffrey are getting a little tired of apples and strawberries, and so they try salad with dressing for the first time as I am unconscious on the floor from the shock. Joseph decides he doesn't like it; Jeffrey does.

At 3:00pm, Ian asks if he can eat waffles if he makes them (from scratch). Unfortunately, he is having a very busy day and doesn't have time to make waffles before they leave for the camp out.

In time-honored tradition (the boys all go camping about once a year twice if we're really lucky), Marie and I have ice cream and pizza for dinner.

Day 3:
Boys have pancakes and sausage for breakfast at the camp out.

5:25 Jeffrey, after asking for a treat and being told no, says, "Can we PLEASE go back to what we usually eat?"

5:53pm Ian BEGS (because I told him that when a person is going to cook dinner they need to start cooking at 5:00 and not at the last minute {due to bedtime and various things}) to be allowed to make waffles. Every child, except 1, happily and GRATEFULLY eats waffles for dinner. One child complains that he can't find a waffle crispy enough and is pointed to the oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables.

Day 4:
I am very much enjoying the lack of stress about meals! Nobody is whining in the morning or at lunch about not knowing what to have, and I don't need to keep checking the calendar to see which person is supposed to be cooking dinner and remind that person 4 or 5 times throughout the day.

Since today was Mother's Day, Husband made sausage, eggs, and biscuits for me for breakfast. The children eagerly ate their share with many proclamations of thanks.

Entirely unprompted and without one sound of complaint, David made pizza (from scratch) for dinner for everyone.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
I hope my possible future DIL appreciates all of the effort that went into this ;-)!
Day 5:
I am sick, and it is WONDERFUL to not have to worry about what people will be eating all day because: OATMEAL, FRUITS, OR VEGETABLES!

Day 6:
At ~3:00 a child remembers that, in times like these, popcorn is considered a vegetable. The child makes popcorn for snack time and there is much rejoicing in the land!

Husband, Jeffrey, and I have salad for dinner, Marie has oatmeal, the other boys opt not to eat dinner.

Day 7:
Children practically LEAP out of bed in order to work on their chores, since the oatmeal experiment ends when the weekly chores are finished.

Since the oatmeal experiment has ended, I have had a lot less stress about dinner times. If the child in charge of dinner doesn't start cooking dinner by 5:00, I happily announce another meal of oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables! I do not worry about who is in charge of dinner and repeatedly remind that person to get cooking! For the most part, the children have HAPPILY and GRATEFULLY eaten whatever food someone has prepared. There has also been an overall decrease in the amount of complaining surrounding the daily and weekly chores. All in all, I call it a SUCCESS and will do it again if needed!