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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Evidence that Fran brought up her kids in luxury and decadence

On birthdays and at Christmas, while we were raising our kids, there was always one present that had to be opened first. It would be sitting on the dining table, ready to be unwrapped before breakfast.

Why before breakfast?

Because it was a valuable computer game or expensive toy that had to be opened immediately. 

Because it WAS the breakfast.

Yes, we always surprised them every year by wrapping up their Christmas or birthday breakfast.

What was in it?

It was a parcel of smoked salmon, syrupy pancakes and croissants.

It was a box of sugary cereal.


We didn't let our kids have sugary cereals on a day-to-day basis. They now, in their late twenties and thirties, swear that this was a form of deprivation.

I'll just say this in my own defence. The kids still have all their teeth. And they also have a memory of a childhood ritual no other child in Britain will have ...


The childhood ritual was this. On special occasions, we made an exception to the sugary cereal rule, wrapping up a box of Frosties, or Coco Pops, or Sugar Puffs, for their breakfast.

It looked like this. I'll find you a picture.

*Googles: 'Frosties wrapped in Christmas paper. Google says, 'But why would there be such pictures? Who would DO this to their children?' and yields nothing*

Okay, here's a packet of Frosties.




Please imagine that, wrapped in the paper below. I say this, not because this is the actual paper we used, but because I wish it had been available when the kids were young. It's junk food wrapping paper, and would have reminded them, in the true spirit of celebrations, of all the other things we never let them eat.






The ritual changed in nature over the years. 

When they were only little, they ripped open the package, desperate to get at the sugar, like little honey bees on the frantic search for nectar, and saying 'Thank you, thank you, Mum and Dad!'

As you all know, this kind of innocence doesn't last long. 

As they got older, they groaned when they saw the package. But they opened it anyway and grudgingly spooned the cereal in as we said, 'Merry Christmas, kids!' and winked, as though we were the Most Amusing Parents Ever. 

Once they hit the teenage years, the ritual continued, but laced with a heavy sense of irony. For a start, they were busy gobbling sugary cereal at every friend's house they could possibly wangle a sleepover at. I imagine that, at teatime, when asked by a friend's mum if they'd like sausages or chicken, they'd say, 'Do you by any chance have Coco Pops?' and making this kind of face.




Also, they were old enough to pour themselves a bowl of Bran Flakes from our kitchen cupboard but then lace it with a layer of sugar thick enough to masquerade as a snowdrift. 

On family holidays, sugary cereal became mandatory and if we took a box of All Bran with us, Paul and I would be the only ones eating it while everyone else laughed and poured themselves a third bowl of Sugar Puffs. 

Now they have left home, we visit their households for Christmas. Last year, we stayed with our two daughters who share a house. There was a familiarly-shaped present waiting for us before breakfast. The girls were guffawing as we opened our box of Bran Flakes.





'We know you asked for a new posh notebook and a pair of sparkly earrings, Mother, but we needed closure.'







23 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha! Love this. And it makes me feel better about having *accidentally* wrapped a box of chocolatey cereal flakes for my brother and sister-in-law one Christmas under the illusion they were a new type of box of chocolates..... Never lived that one down!

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    1. That's so funny. I bet that story comes out every single Christmas! This year, could you sneak into their kitchen on Christmas Eve and slide a box of chocolates inside a cereal packet?...

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  2. Fran isn't bran supposed to open rather than close? Only asking. Loved the post.

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  3. What's that old saying? "Revenge is a dish (of Bran Flakes) best served cold."

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  4. Mine wail , "and everybody else always had Coca-Cola in their fridge ... "

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    1. That's the thing, isn't it? Everybody else .. everyone else's mother ... in all my friends' houses .... Now I'm a teacher, I get the classroom version: All the other teachers ....

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    2. My son gave me that crap all the time. Everyone he knew had everything in the world, and he had nothing. Absolutely nothing. My daughter didn't complain as much, but she did say that all the other kids got to have messy bedrooms. Oh, the joy of wearing clothes that have been on the floor for a month!

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    3. 'All the other kids get to have messy bedrooms!' Love it.

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  5. My mom let me eat anything I wanted so I'd shut up. I still have my teeth. I've stopped eating cereal because I automatically dump a cup of sugar on top of it after I pour a bit in a bowl. The song shouldn't have been "a spoonful of sugar." It's "a bowlful of sugar."

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. My mum used to give us what she called 'pobs' when we had no box cereals. That was cubes of white bread layered with sugar and then hot milk poured on. Or maybe even cold milk - I can't remember. But I'm sure that's why I'm now addicted to comforting carbs of any kind.

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    2. .. have never heard of 'pobs', Fran .. but my mother always gave us this treat whenever we were sick .. we just called it 'bread and milk' ..... we loved it ... Barb ...

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  6. I remember doing a similar thing at each holiday break between terms. One very large box of coco pops per holiday between the four of them. If they ate the whole box in one day, that was too bad. They all still have their own teeth too.

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    1. We read the same parenting manuals! :)

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  7. Haha! Brilliant. You are good parents. Much better than us. We gave them sugary cereal whenever they wanted it. Question - Are the grandkids allowed it?

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    1. I'll leave that question for their parents ... :)

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  8. I love the end of the story. Mine had way too much crap & still do but at 21 & 24 it's their problem.

    I had a " you can open one present before bedtime but it has to be THAT ONE " on Christmas eve ever year when my kids were young. The present was either new pyjamas or a Christmas themed bedtime story, that way they went to bed swiftly so I could get on with stuffing their stockings while enjoying a glass of port.

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    1. The Christmas present at bedtime idea is genius.

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  9. I would have dropped by earlier, but I got waylaid by a a Variety pack.

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    1. So much choice! So little time!

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  10. mm I remember Cocopops. Not sure I could get them down now.

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    1. I like them without the milk ...

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