Why the Children Are to Blame for These Extra 10 Pounds

Every morning I wake up with the best of intentions: today I'm going to eat only healthy, whole foods.

I fill the boys' cereal bowls, thoroughly un-tempted by the plain Cheerios that float on milk like beige life-buoys. Feeling virtuous and almost slimmer already, I fix myself a couple of high-protein, low-carb eggs, and enjoy my coffee.

Ahhhh. So satisfying. What's for lunch, I wonder? A nice green salad, a salmon fillet, a—

Snacktime! The kids are clamoring for waffles, so I pop a couple in the toaster and ... ohhhh. Oh god. Oh those Eggos smell so good. The 3-year-old wants peanut butter on his, so I dutifully smear some on.

What ... what's that sound? Why, it's almost like singing. Yes, it IS singing, and it's coming from the open jar of Jif on the counter. It—it almost sounds like "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast!


Be our guest! Be our guest!
Put our butter to the test
Tie your napkin 'round your neck, cherie
And we'll provide the rest
Peanut du jour
Makes a great hors d'oeuvres
Why, we only live to serve
Try the brown stuff
(It's delicious!)
Don't believe me?
Ask the dishes ...

I quickly slam the lid on the jar and shove it in the back of the cupboard, panting. Meanwhile, my child has wandered off, a full half of his waffle left on the plate.

Well. Just half a waffle. And the package says "whole grains." Why, it's practically like I wandered into a field and harvested this.


Lunchtime comes and I've eaten my lovely green salad, which was perfectly delicious and filling. I go to clear the kids' plates, and again, I swear I think I hear something.

This time, it's coming from the leftover Goldfish crackers and uneaten macaroni and cheese.

Be our guest! Be our guest! Be our guest!
Get your worries off your chest
Let us say for your entree
We've an array; may we suggest:
Try the pasta! Make a wish!
Eat those little cheesy fish
It's a treat for any dish
Don't believe me? Ask the china
Singing noodles! Dancing cheese!
This meal aims to please!

Well. It's just a couple bites, right? How bad can orange-colored food be for you, anyway? It's probably loaded with vitamin C! Besides, everyone knows if you eat something standing over the sink, it totally doesn't count.


For dinner I stir-fry a bunch of brightly colored vegetables for my husband and me, which the kids shudder at as they gnaw their breaded fishsticks. They each consume exactly one spoonful of sweetened vanilla yogurt before declaring they can't eat another bite. Later, naturally, they beg for snack bowls of Oatmeal Squares cereal. As I clean up the kitchen, I hear that goddamned song again.

Be our guest! Be our guest!
Our command is your request
We want you to be chubby
And we're obsessed
With your meal, with your ease
Yes, indeed, we aim to please
While the fishsticks are still glowing
Let us help you, we'll keep going
Cracker by sandwich-rind, one by one
'Til you shout, "Enough! I'm done!"
Then we'll sing you off to sleep as you digest
(Gassy and bloated from all this mess!)
Tonight you'll prop your feet up
But for now, let's eat up
Be our guest!
Be our guest!
Be our guest!

Please, be our guest!


That night, I look mournfully at my puffy belly as I revisit the extra items on the day's menu: waffles, peanut butter, crackers, mac & cheese, yogurt, fishsticks, fistfuls of cereal, forty trillion potty-training M&Ms. Not including the Triscuit binge I went on at 10 p.m., having figured in for a penny, in for ... 10 pounds.

Of course, the next morning I wake up with the best of intentions: today I'm going to eat only healthy, whole foods.

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