My definition of what constitutes a meal has changed drastically in the past few years. My husband and I share dinners while standing at the kitchen counter. Sometimes, we are in such a rush that we have to lean over the kitchen sink just to keep food from falling on the floor as we hurriedly shovel it into our mouths. Sometimes, we have romantic dinners where we actually sit down (on the kitchen counter to keep the ankle-biters from biting our ankles) and savor our food. I have literally tried to hide myself in the pantry while I snacked on chips to prevent the girls from sensing them. If they hear the slightest crunch, they immediately begin circling, like sharks around a bleeding prey.
This morning, as I was working, I looked down and saw a Cheerio stuck to my dress. I plucked it off and popped it in my mouth without the slightest hesitation. I can’t even offer an explanation as to why I ate it without hesitation other than the fact that it was sullying my otherwise professional attire. It was of the Cinnamon Burst variety, so it was actually pretty tasty. As I continued working, I began to wonder about the rogue Cheerio. My kids had not eaten Cheerios for breakfast today and I couldn’t remember the last time that they had snacked on them in the car.
Unfortunately, much of my workday is spent in doctor’s office waiting rooms full of sick adults with sick children who are likely drooling on Cheerios. Had I just eaten a disease-ridden piece of cereal? Does that even qualify for the 30-second rule? I ate it as soon as I saw it, but who knows how many seconds it had been attached to my dress. The longer I pondered the situation, the more heightened my anxiety level became. After a few cleansing breaths and a squirt of hand sanitizer directly into my mouth, I decided that the benefits of the Cheerio outweighed the risks. I had just enjoyed a “well-rounded” breakfast without interruptions.