In Leave it to Beaver, June has her pearls on and looks like a supermodel as she whips up a hearty breakfast for her family. Ward has time to leisurely read the paper and drink coffee while Wally and the Beav are encouraged to eat their eggs. June proudly gives them fresh-squeezed orange juice to go with the five-course meal, and everyone leaves for work or school with fuel for the day, lunch boxes and smiles on their faces.
That’s just on TV, people. Here’s how it goes down in the Jungle.
I’m standing by the stove in Nate’s Angry Birds t-shirt, pj’s and fluffy socks, hastily throwing together a lunch for him with one eye open (this is if I’m not teaching that day). The blind chihuahua is underfoot, betting I’m gonna drop something, creating an obstacle course of sorts as I stumble around. Nobody even comes out of their rooms until 7:15 so if I don’t have something portable they aren’t gonna eat. There’s no cheerful music in the background–only Sid the angry angelfish looking at me with that one weird eye. He’s judging me, I know. I make Nate’s lunch every day, but he always loses his lunch box so I end up putting it in a used Wal-Mart bag. Don’t judge me.
Mancub ALWAYS underestimates the amount of time it takes to actually get ready for school in the morning. I think he mistakenly believes that he is “The Flash” and has superpowers that enable him to get up, shower, tame his mane, find clean weather-appropriate clothes, get his school work together, grab his lunch and hydrate in .27 seconds before his dad leaves for work.This is a false assumption.
This is imperative because should he miss his ride he has to WALK TO SCHOOL which inevitably leads to Kardashian- sized drama, industrial-size sighing and frantic last-minute calls to Watergirl and other Cubs to try to grab a ride. I’ve already told him I won’t drive him if he misses his ride with his dad, because he’s dang lucky that I got out of bed at 6:00 to make him breakfast and a sack lunch (because the school lunches are LAME), help locate clean socks (you’re welcome) and remind him to for the love of all things holy NOT FORGET HIS SPANISH HOMEWORK that he spent 16 hours on the night before.
Maybe it sounds cruel to you, but we had a time period of about 4 weeks at the beginning of the school year in which each morning after repeatedly lying around in the morning listening to the clever antics of Kidd Craddick’s hilarious crew, and then moving at the speed of a drugged slug to get his stuff done in the morning. I’m serious. Had we filmed him, and put the images on fast-forward, he would STILL only move about one inch per second, roughly the speed of a stop-motion filmmaker. It was a Herculean effort each morning, leaving the both of us drained and bitter. Something had to give or else Mom was bound for a breakdown. Again.
For all of you parenting experts out there, YES, we tried the “get up earlier” and “get your things together the night before” tactics but to no avail. There was little we didn’t try, short of hiring Mancub a personal butler. The only thing that seemed to motivate him was the effect of natural consequences. We actually live less than a mile from the school so it’s not super barbaric to make him walk, I swear. But to hear him tell it, it’s likened to a 30 mile hike up Pike’s peak.
Here are 7 quick breakfasts that I make for Mancub that he loves. Some of them are portable so he can scarf them in the car. If he doesn’t eat breakfast, it only hurts me (and my food supply) when he gets home and is starving and feels like he must clean out the fridge to make up for the injustice his stomach has endured all day. It’s a vicious cycle, people. And before you ask, we do have cereal available but he hardly ever eats it–again–it’s pretty time-consuming and time is a luxury for organized people.
1. Breakfast burritos. These are so quick and easy I can assemble them in about 5 minutes. I scramble up a couple of eggs and add cheese and salsa and he’s good to go. If I have bacon, sausage or turkey, it’s even better. I’ve even been known to make 20 or so of these over the weekend for reheating. It lasts about 2 days once the boys discover they are in there–so better just to make them as needed.
2. Frozen waffle sandwich. I take two waffles, toast them, spread Nutella on each one, slice fresh strawberries or bananas on top of the Nutella, then put it together like a sandwich. He LOVES this. If I’m out of Nutella, I use peanut butter and banana.
3. Fruit smoothie. In the blender, I add a small container of high-protein yogurt, whatever fruit I have on hand, a cup of milk and a few ice cubes. I give it to him in a disposable cup and he’s good to go.
4. A protein shake and a baggie of sliced apples. There are many ready-to-go protein shakes that are available, and I just chuck them in the fridge for mornings that are really rushed. He can grab it on the way out. I make sure they have at least 15 grams of protein.
5. A bagel with cream cheese and fruit. It’s the same concept as the waffle sandwich. I always have some kind of flavored cream cheese on hand. If I buy strawberry cream cheese then I put strawberries in the middle. If it’s blueberry cream cheese then I use blueberries. I can also put some blueberries in a baggie to go with it.
6. Fresh fruit/veggie juice. This actually takes a bit longer for me to make because I have to wash the veggies/fruit and juice them in the juicer. Nate’s favorite is a carrot/apple/pineapple blend. I can get away with 1 leaf of kale in it but not much more than that. There’s a mathematic formula Nate calculates that directly correlates his likelihood of drinking juice depending on how green the final product is. The greener it is, the less Nate is willing to drink it.
7. Banana muffins. These are quick to make and always portable. They take about 5 minutes to mix and about 10 minutes to bake. I add applesauce to the batter for extra flavor. He loves them.
If you and your family have a routine that cuts time in the morning, please share it here!
UPDATE: Here are a few other gems I’ve discovered that need NO COOKING and can be grabbed on the way out the door.For nutrition’s sake, I try to combine a couple of fruit/veggie/protein combos so he’s not hungry later. For example, a yogurt, a box of raisins and a baggie of nuts. Here are some things we mix and match for busy mornings.
8. Chobani yogurts to go. They come in Go-gurt type tubes but are lower sugar and higher protein. Nate loves them, and they have chocolate!
9. Boxed raisins or other dried fruit/fresh fruit.
10. Protein shakes (to go). We like Muscle Milk and I’ve been trying the new Post brand. Muscle Milk has more protein and less carbs though.
11. String cheese. These come in so many different kinds.
12. A baggie of almonds or cashews.
13. Fruit bursts. They are like portable applesauces, but some have veggies too.