The Cocoa Krispie Nightmare

This is a message of hope for moms with toddlers, tweens or teens who have some version of the strong-willed child. I know the pain of wondering if you are damaging their self-esteem, leaving permanent scars and ruining their childhood.

First a little more background on The Grunter

He was born with a mild disposition and he slept through the night. He was an unexpected, unplanned joy in our life.

He was our pumpkin.


He became a big brother far sooner than we would have ever planned.
(If we had been planning.)

At 21 months, we brought home, not just one, but TWO baby sisters who invaded his world.


The days flew by and he spent his days letting his sisters touch all of his toys and protecting them from “choking people.” (You know those little Fisher Price® figures that went with the farm and various other toys.) He announced they had “choking people” at least seven times a day to which I would reply, “Thank you, Officer Humphreys.”

He endured being paraded around and photographed with those darn twin sisters. Here is just one of many, many photos he endured while dressed to match his little sisters.


Side parenting tip: It is much easier to count and corral your children in public if you have them dressed alike. I’m sure it also squelches their individuality but that’s a post for another day.

He even endured life when we had the nerve to bring home another sister the year of his 10th birthday. Weren’t two enough?

But he kind of liked this one who appeared to be his very own “twin.”


The above picture is Scary Baby at 6 months, framed picture of The Grunter at six months and The Grunter himself.

It has to be hard, still to this day, living with all these GIRLS! In spite of how he acts on the outside, we have witnessed his kindness and affection for them. On most days, he’s a pretty good big brother. I like to believe that he knows, deep down, that he would have been a lonely boy without his sisters to play with…


I shared all that with you first so you wouldn’t think I’m a bad mom for taking pictures of one of our many struggles. (Remember we’re all here to share not judge.)

I will be the first to admit that I think there is an extra challenge for mothers who are stubborn and strong-willed who are blessed with children who possess those same characteristics. Well, that and God has a sense of humor…

I am guilty of dreaming of having passive, quiet children who obey and never rock the boat. I have friends who have these strange nice children. Such a boring life these people have…sigh.

Instead, I have a boy who continues to challenge us in so many ways.

It seems like it was just yesterday but in fact, it was more than 10 years ago when our little pumpkin wouldn’t eat much of anything. (No comments from you vegetable-lovers please.)

I present you now with one of our favorite family memories. You know those fantastic one-liners your kids utter and you know right then and there that you’ll never forget them from that very moment.

On this day in September of 1997, that line was…



The back story of this sad photo:

We were in a phase at our house where he was having a very hard time eating good meals. Yes, I am one of “those” mothers who often says, “You are NOT sick, you are FINE.” But when this eating problem persisted, I had a change of heart. I really did get worried.

Worried to the point of going to the doctor to make sure he was healthy. After many tests including urine, stool sample, blood work, x-rays and an upper G.I. – a clean bill of health was announced.

Dad made a special trip to the grocery and bought him this specific cereal because it “sounded good.” Unfortunately, the soggy texture of the milk and cereal combination (who knew?) coupled with our insistence that he eat the TINY bowl of cereal created a full-fledged meltdown ending with the now famous line, “When will this nightmare be over?”

For those readers who are concerned about the boy, his cereal and his life now…


Here is our delightful much-loved firstborn on his 18th birthday who never eats cereal and drumroll please…he is FINE!

Life Lesson (LL): Cereal and milk become soggy when not eaten quickly and the trauma of eating the said soggy cereal may cause you to seek out therapy later.

Share a Life Lesson (SALL): What awful things did you make your kids sit at the table and eat? Or better yet, what did your horrible, mean parents make you finish and you are still sharing those memories in therapy with a chosen few? Come on now, don’t be shy – this is a safe place to share!


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    Wendy says:

    I never forced my kids to eat anything they didn’t want. My mother was always afraid that I would starve to death because I wouldn’t eat much of anything. She would make me sit at the table until I finished my dinner. I can remember spitting salmon croquettes back into my milk glass so I could get up and go play. To this day, I can hardly even bear the smell of seafood, much less bring myself to take a little taste of the fishy stuff! I wouldn’t eat fried chicken because I didn’t like the idea of picking the meat off of the bone. I’ll never forget, after much arm twisiting by my mother, the first time I tasted a Chik-Fil-A sandwich. It was heavenly! I wished I’d tried one sooner, because that experience helped me overcome some of the fear I had had over trying new things. Except it didn’t work for the seafood!

  2. 2
    Joan says:

    What a wonderful family you have! I never forced, but certainly encouraged our children to eat whatever was on the table, but there was always the option of peanut butter and jam or hotdogs (God forbid! – none of my children would touch one now…nor have they fed them to their children!) I happen to love liver and onions and/or pate, but I always had an alternative meal for the kids because they loathed even the idea. None of my children liked processed baby food, so I always used my blender and graduated them to finger foods as soon as possible.

    I noticed at a family dinner last night that my 18-year old grandson, who always had to be encouraged to have something green on his plate, ate plenty of salad last night. He says its one of the things at the dining commons at college that he can count on being edible because he knows exactly what goes into it as he makes it from the salad bar. Hooray! Maturity!

    Forgot to mention that our eldest daugher sometimes used her napkin to cover something she didn’t like…thought she was putting something over on us. (We always knew!)


    P. S. Love all the photos.

  3. 3
    Sherra says:

    Wendy–Ewww! I may not be able to drink milk now. But the salmon croquettes made me think of what we always told them as we asked them to just TRY something new. We weren’t asking them to try octopus legs or liver and onions…

    Joan–Cereal was the OPTION!! We had chicken that night. LOL! I won’t hold the liver and onions against you. ICK. PB & J has always been an option here too.

  4. 4
    Melinda says:

    Rolling on the floor laughing over here. These are some great stories. We don’t do much force feeding over here either cause I was force fed also as a young’un. I was so thin, I know you don’t believe that to see me now, but I blame my mother for making me this way by making me learn to eat cheese! It’s just added calories and pounds to my hips!

    I have one child that won’t eat anything but chicken. She refuses to eat steak and we all just think that’s weird cause we are BIG steak eaters at our house. We probably eat them every week. I KNOW that’s not a very healthy diet but can’t seem to convince my hubby to eat more fish. Of course it didn’t help when one of the cousins pointed out to my daughter that hamburgers were made of beef also. NOW she won’t eat those either. I get really tired of going to Chick Fil A.

    Other daughter doesn’t eat hot dogs or seafood. Now what kid doesn’t eat hot dogs?? She did eat them when she was smaller but got sick once and ever since she threw one up, she refuses to eat them anymore!

    PB & J is a choice but my children do prefer meat – ham for one, turkey for the other. Lord, save me!

  5. 5
    Rhonda says:

    Oh Sherra,

    I LOVE this post. Yes, we have been there too. I seem to blog far too much about my children and the hilarious things they too have said. Some, have become funny family sayings. Some… have stuck for the good, others have stuck at the chagrin of my children.

    So… I guess what I am trying to say… is our children survive their parents… one way or the other.

    Here is one example of my almost 18 year old who takes things with a grain of salt when it comes to her mom blogging about her!!! Thanks for sharing your life a little so we can all rally as moms!

  6. 6
    Karen says:

    I can finally confess! My son at age 3 survived an entire year on Toast ‘Ems, vienna sausages, and green beans. My mom (who forced me to eat everything on my plate – sometimes I was there until bedtime – don’t mention those little green peas to me!) was horrified that I let my son eat those things and didn’t force him to eat “healthy”. Maybe this post will allow me to get over my shame!

  7. 7
    Kerri says:

    I can remember being a picky eater when I was very young. Everything was “yucky”. My attitude was changed by a very cute book called “Spaghetti for Frances”. I’m not sure if it’s even in publication any more as this was a long, long time ago! It was about a little badger who would only eat peanut butter and jelly until the day her parents convinced her to try one bite of spaghetti – from that point on she loved (or at least tried) everything.

    To this day, that philosophy sticks with me. I will try anything ONCE.

  8. 8
    Sherra says:

    I think that philosophy went down the the drain for me after the “Black Chicken” dinner at your house in about 6th grade. Note: I didn’t say Blackened–which is entirely different. 🙂

  9. 9
    Sherra says:

    Karen–We all do the best we can with what we have and it’s all anyone should expect of us! You should be proud that you knew earlier than I did that the food battles aren’t worth it! (Sorry for my delayed response – you were approved for comments but I found two of your comments in my spam folder?!) 🙂

  10. 10
    Belinda says:

    When I was growing up my mom and dad would make me eat rutabagas…this has to be the grossest thing I have ever put in my mouth!!! I am now 37 and still refuse to eat or for that matter even have them in my house. Now my daughter who is 14 now refuses (or at least tries to refuse) to eat hambuger helper. I do usually try to prepare meals a little better than hambuger helper, but come-on not many people dislike the stuff. And when you work 10-12 hrs and come home or just wake up cause your on midnight shift it is a quick fix. I do infact make her eat it because I do not think it will kill her, and I know it cannot be as bad as rutabagas!! I believe she is saying in her mind “Will this nightmare ever end?” lol.

    • 10.1
      Sherra says:

      @Belinda–That’s my same philosophy! It’s not as bad as some things we could *insist* they eat rather than cocoa krispies and hamburger helper! Incidentally, I’m not a fan of hamburger helper but my daughters love, love, love it!!! LOL


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