There is a phenomenon in the universe known as Toddler Ear (known in some regions as Child Ear or I SAID COME HERE Ear). This a seemingly universal condition in which your child appears to be unable to hear directions or requests, such as, “Don’t lick each other,” “Let’s hurry and get ready for school,” “Put these toys away,” and anything whispered in what I call the Church Voice.
But the other unique aspect to this phenomenon is that while your children remain unable to hear your continued pleas to put on some clothes, they can hear the rustle of a chip bag or candy bar wrapper, sometimes from two floors away. Scientists aren’t sure of all the mechanisms of this condition. But they do know it’s spreading rapidly among children ages one to 17.
There is no cure. But through careful study, several trial experiments, and a persistent desire for chocolate, I believe I have found a way to manage the condition to a degree where some of your food might actually enter your mouth. It won’t be easy. But we are #SnackStrong.
Step One: Prepare
You think you are quiet enough with that package of m&ms. You think your kids can’t possibly hear you from your room. You are wrong. Step One involves more planning than it took to buy your first house. You will need the following: One (1) snack of your choice (or several; I don’t judge); one (1) decoy bag (grocery bag, empty box of tampons); one (1) child’s TV show for background noise and distraction; and one (1) decoy snack – celery, carrot sticks, and quinoa are all great ideas to start (This item is optional but highly recommended). The last thing you need is a burning desire to succeed.
Step Two: Set the Scene
Choose your snacking place well. You want a place that isn’t too well-lit, near-ish the TV, but not so close you get sucked into the plot of My Little Pony and fail to guard your precious cargo. You don’t want to be too far from the kids, because as soon as they notice your absence, they will seek you – and they will find you. Before you set up, place your snack into your decoy bag. Then, once you’re sure you’re ready, walk nonchalantly to your chosen spot. Do not – do not – remove your snack from the decoy bag. Place it casually beside you, behind a pillow or your decoy snack.
Step Three: Take the Plunge
Begin to eat your snack quietly. Only take a few chips/Skittles/brownie pieces at a time – snacking when your kids are awake means sacrifice, so soldier up and restrain yourself. If your kids look around to identify the sound of rustling paper or plastic, do not move. Leave your hands where they are. Maintain eye contact with your child and do not speak unless you are spoken to. If they ask what you are eating, hold up your decoy bag and say vitamins, kale, or dirt. If they don’t buy it and ask to see the contents, ABORT THE MISSION. Tell them you just remembered the oven is on and you have to check on it. Walk away and try again another day.
If, however, they do not pursue the line of snack questioning, you are free to resume your snacking after a few moments of silence have passed. Eat as much you desire, while being mindful that the silence will only last for so long.
Step Four: Cover Your Tracks
All of your carefully crafted plans will be for nothing if your kids catch you throwing away the wrapper or placing the rest of your Doritos back in the cabinet behind the fancy plates you never use. If your snack bag is empty, keep the wrapper inside the decoy bag and throw it all away in the trash. If your decoy bag is reusable, take it to the trash can and dump your snack bag into the trash, and immediately cover it with other trash.
If you’re saving the rest of your snack for a rainy day, leave the snack inside the decoy bag and put it away swiftly in the hiding place of your choosing. Do not look back; do not stop to answer questions. Move quickly if you want your snack to survive.
*Fill your husband in on the plan so he doesn’t come home and ask you where the Muffin Bites are.
*Change out your decoy bag after every few uses so your offspring will not become suspicious.
*Don’t be afraid to offer your kids their own snack before you start eating to add another layer of crunching to cover your own.
You have your orders. Good luck, and may your snacks taste like an Oreo while containing the calories of an ice chip.