Written by: Leigh Ripley

My oldest could live on bagels and is nothing short of annoyed with every night’s dinner menu. Without fail, she comes home from school and asks, “What’s for dinner?” No matter my answer, the response is always the same, “Ugh, I hate chicken (or pork, or steak, or pizza, etc.).” But she eats it; so we’re OK.

The middle child loves food and will try anything. She eats sushi, lamb, lox, pate?, spicy jambalaya – honestly, anything. No food issues here.

The youngest? Well, here is where we have a real problem . . . and it lies with chips and Oreos. If left unsupervised, she can pack down an entire bag of chips and a few sleeves of Oreos. As you can imagine, this triggers battles at the dinner table, because she’s full by then. Furthermore, she doesn’t like much else – if left up to her, dinner would be chicken tenders and fries every night.

Among her many nicknames, we lovingly refer to her as “Elbow Deep.” Any time she gets

her hands on a bag of chips, she can be found quietly sitting in a corner, elbow deep in the bag. This method of chip eating is actually a defensive tactic. If her entire arm is submerged in the bag, then no one else can get one.

So why do I buy them, you ask? Because my husband can’t eat a sandwich without chips and the other two children have chip will power (i.e. control). What I did do was put them on a high shelf in the pantry in an attempt to keep Elbow Deep under control. Smart, right? Apparently not as smart as a 7-year-old. Recently, while

in the kitchen, I heard a chip bag crackling in the near distance. I called out to the concealed child in the pantry but there was no answer (shocker). Completely unaware that sound carries, she assumed that if she didn’t answer me then I couldn’t hear her. So I quietly walked over and found Elbow Deep, standing on an elaborate ladder of sorts with a bag of chips in her hand.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

The answer, “Nothing.”

“What are you doing with those chips?” “Um, getting them for dad?”

While that would have been nice, dad wasn’t even home. Needless to say, she emerged from the pantry chip-less. So she moved on to plan B: Gramma’s apartment. My mother-in-law lives in an apartment above our garage and is known to stock the youngest’s second favorite food, Oreo’s. But on this particular day, I wasn’t thinking about cookies, I was still hot to make sure not even one chip passed her lips.

I yelled up to Elbow Deep at Gramma’s, “You better not be eating chips!” and she replied, “I’m not.” Gramma concurred; so I went back to the kitchen. When the youngest resurfaced downstairs, I noticed a very dark Oreo ring around her mouth.

“What did you do up at Gramma’s?” I asked. “Nothing.”

“Did you eat anything?”

“Just healthy food.”

“Are you sure you didn’t have any Oreo’s?” “Yup.”

“Then what’s that dark Oreo cookie ring around your mouth?”


We had a meaningful discussion about lying and making good choices, even when it comes to food. And I would like to say that my child learned a lot that day. Unfortunately, I am fairly certain the only lessons she learned were that sound carries and she should always clean up the evidence.

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