My Life as Defined by Cheese

My kids are cheese addicts. I have tried really hard to acclimate their taste buds to REAL cheese, as opposed to FAKE cheese. For the most part, I have been successful. They like Colby Jack and Mozzarella, Feta and Cheddar.

By himself, Spencer could consume a block of cheese in one sitting.

I vacillate between being concerned that my kids are consuming too much cholesterol and fat and being thrilled that they are enjoying NATURAL snacks full of calcium and protein. Somehow, I can’t settle on any middle ground.

So this brings us to our latest cheese experience. Always on the lookout for new ways to get healthy food into my kids, I decided to give the little Babybel cheese rounds a try. A friend had mentioned they are good for lunch boxes and snacking.

I found them at Publix–almost $4.00 for six pieces. Ugh! Sixty-something cents per piece of cheese. That’s pricey cheese! I was debating if I should I try them or not.

Then–there in the middle of the Publix cheese aisle–reality gave way to my Mommy Vision. You know the one. I’m always dressed in pressed chinos and pearls, busily working in the home while the children flit gaily about:

Mom: Children! Time for a wholesome, tasty snack!
Kids: Coming, Mother. Thank you, Mother!
Mom: Today, children, I have Babybel cheese pieces. They provide calcium and protein. They are the perfect size for tiny fingers to unwrap. I’ll pack them in your lunchboxes, too. They come in this beautiful red wrapper with this darling picture of the cow. Don’t you want to gobble, gobble, gobble them up right now?
Kids: Oh, yes, Mother. Show us how to unwrap it. We’ll quickly discard the wrapper then eat every bite of the cheese because we understand that you paid almost SEVENTY CENTS per piece. We’d never dream of wasting a morsel. And we will be satisfied with this cheese and look forward to the piece of cheese to come in our lunchboxes this week.
(Children and Mother cheerfully gather around the kitchen table to partake of Babybel cheese snacks.)

Ah, yes. So with that vision playing in my head, I confidently placed them in my grocery cart. Still optimistic, I pulled out the Babybel cheese snacks today at lunch.

Let us re-cap the important facts: six in a package. Almost seventy cents per piece. Healthy! Natural! Shiny, fun red wrapper! Self-contained! Perfect for tiny fingers and lunchboxes. Protein! Calcium! Cute cow picture!

Mom: Hey, kids. Wanna try this new cheese?
Kids: Yay! Cheese! Yea!
Mom: OK. Here let me help you unwrap it.
(Mom and kids working on the wrappers.)
Chorus: Wait! No, don’t eat the wrapper. No. You eat the white part. Mom!!! I can’t get the wrapper off. Mom! Mom! Mom! Unwrap it. I want one. I want one. Mommy, let me try. I can do it.
(Wrappers now off, and children take a bite. Susanna disappears, though I don’t notice at first.)
Spencer: Mom! Don’t like it. (Goes to the bag on the counter. Starts to pull bag down. Cheese pieces perched on edge of counter in the bag.) I want the purple one.
Mom: There is no purple one. They are all red. And you have one. Eat that one first, then you can have another one.
Spencer: No! I don’t like it. I want the purple one. (Pulls the bag down and starts pulling out wrapped ones. Babybels scatter across the floor.)
Seth: Mom! I want a cheese slice.
Mom: No. You have cheese right there. I’m not opening a cheese slice when you have this cheese. Eat this cheese.
Seth: I want a cheese slice.
(Susanna reappears. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “where was she? and what about the cheese?”)
Susanna: Mom! I want another one, please.
(Yea! At least one child is eating the healthy, nutritious snack!)
Mom: Wow! You already ate that one?
Susanna: No. It dropped on the floor and I threw it in the trashcan.
Mom: What? Where?
Susanna: Mom. It dropped on the floor and I threw it away. That’s gross, Mom.
(Remember… almost SEVENTY cents each. Would it be salvageable, I’m wondering…?)
Mom: Where is it? Why didn’t you tell me? We could have washed it off.
Susanna: No, Mom. I threw it in the bathroom trash.
(Ewwww. Definitely a goner.)
Mom: OK. Here’s another one. Now eat this one. These are expensive!
(Boys meltdown and are done with cheese and lunch altogether. Boys go to nap.)

Mom eats one Babybel discarded by Spencer. Mom puts two wrapped Babybels back in fridge. Mom puts Seth’s discarded but untouched Babybel into baggie for the fridge.

Let’s see… time for inventory: That’s four, plus Susanna’s in the trash.

Mom: Susanna did you eat that last Babybel I gave you?
Susanna: (Nods.) I ate some but didn’t want the rest so I threw it in the trash.

After today’s lunch adventure I’m just wondering why I didn’t take the $4.00 and buy myself a vanilla latte at Starbucks?