Friday, September 4, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray!

If you've read some of my last few posts, you know I've been hanging on to these last days of summer and dreading the back-to-school routine. I'm trying to snap out of it. I've been doing some self-analysis (much cheaper than real therapy) to figure out why I'm so down on school. And it all comes down to one thing - the morning routine stresses me out. I figured this out when I had a bad dream recently. I woke up in a sweat with the PBS series' Superwhy song "Hip Hip Hooray, the Superreaders Save the Day" song in my head. You parents of young kids know the one - with the little superreaders doing their little victory dance at the end of every episode. Well, that song comes on every day in our house about five minutes before we need to leave for the bus stop. It's that moment when lunchboxes, backpacks and briefcases need to be lined up at the door, shoes and coats need to be on, Mommy needs to have dry hair and hopefully, some make-up on. Most days, it's a sprint to the finish line.

I'm working on a strategy to make this year's morning routine go more smoothly so that I won't be having nightmares about little Superwhy people. One change we are making is that the kids must get dressed before they come downstairs. We implemented that at the end of the summer and it has helped tremendously. Inspired by this week's Boston Globe article on breakfast for kids, the other change is that I am going to try for breakfasts that fit three criteria for the kids:
1. It must be quick
2. It must be something they are excited to eat
3. It must have a good NuVal score

My 4-year-old loves Quaker Old-Fashioned Oatmeal. It is not all that quick, but we can make it ahead in larger batches and reheat it throughout the week. She does get excited about putting in some brown sugar and raisins. And it gets a great NuVal score - a 57. This is much better than her other choice - Aunt Jemima Frozen Mini Pancakes. They get a 6. We are all done with buying those. If she does want something hot and toasty, we can always do Kashi Go Lean Waffles, which score a 36. She also likes Kix cereal, which gets 29. That is not bad when you consider that the highest-scoring cereal that you can reasonably expect your kids to eat is Cheerios which get a 34.

As for my son the First Grader, he is all about Cinnamon Toast Crunch right now. The regular version scores a 27. I am still on the lookout for Cinnamon Toast Crunch with 75% reduced sugar because it scores a 40. I just have not found it in my grocery store as of yet. Sugary cereals get such a bad rap, but truthfully many of them get scores that are not so bad. Consider this:

Lucky Charms Cereal scores a 23
General Mills Whole Grain Guaranteed Basic 4 Cereal also scores a 23

Now, I haven't let the kids buy Lucky Charms in the grocery store. It's just the principle of multi-colored marshmallows for breakfast. I just can't. But if it means that the little Superwhy people will stop visiting me in the middle of the night, I just might break down and do it.

Wow, I feel like a Super Reader! I Changed the Story, I Solved the Problem, We Worked Together, So Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray, the SuperMommy Saved the Day!!!


  1. On days when my husband is running late he grabs a 100 calorie pack of almonds and a Nature Valley Granola Bar. Maybe the kids would like that quick option too.

  2. I make my own waffle/pancake mix the night before. I make the waffle's and put out peanut butter, banana, blueberries, and syrup. Kids get to make there own plate, everyone is mix is packed with sweet potatos, cinnamon, and a little brown sugar.

  3. Great blog and I love your concepts and information....very HELPFUL....thank you!

  4. Thanks Pam! And thanks for those ideas, Anonymous.