Corn Flake Conniption

Corn Flake Conniption

My 3-year-old Tsofia likes her 7:45 AM bowl of cereal just so.

“Tsofia, which cornflakes do you want?” I asked her this morning, as I do every morning.

And like every morning, she answered, “Yellow.”

So I poured some of the Telma cornflakes into her bowl (NOT “Rooster”—that’s Kelloggs. NOT “bag” cornflakes—that’s the generic Turkish-made).

“Tsofia, which spoon do you want?” I asked her this morning, as I do every morning.

And like every morning, she answered, “Little.”

So I handed Tsofia a teaspoon and NOT a tablespoon.

And then the wild rumpus began to start.

“I want less cereo! This is too much!”

“Then just leave it over, sweety. I already poured in the milk, I can’t put it back now, and I’m not going to throw it away.”

“But I want less cereo!”

“Just leave over what you don’t want…”

“But I want less cereo!”

“I’m not going to throw it away, just leave it over…”

And then the crying began. And the yelling. And then she kicked the chair I was sitting on.

“That’s a one!”

Then she punched me with her plum-sized fist on the arm.

“That’s a two!”

Then she pulled her plum back one more time and let me have it.

“That’s a three! Time out for 4 minutes…”

So I sat her down on a chair. Tsoofy knows that if she gets out of the chair, I add a minute to the time out. Ohhh, she hates when I do that.

So she just sat there, pink-faced and whimpering, seething misery in human form.

And she kept on crying and kicking her legs for three full minutes. But by the start of the 4th minute, she was sitting there all calm and quiet.

I told her she could get out of the chair and she sweetly walked back over to her cornflakes that were split-pea mushy and obediently gobbled up the entire bowl without stopping.

And then my Tsoofy looked up at me with her big blue eyes, still pink from her copious tears, and handing me her bowl she said: “Eema, please, more cereo.”


  1. Are you in my house?! She sounds like she’d be great friends with my Menucha.

  2. My 3 year old is the same but I find with my older kids at least, I don’t even count to three because then they get 3 chances to do something not nice. I send them immediately to their room and they count to a high number (according to their ability) to calm them down. They are only allowed back when they are ready to behave nicely. B”H this really works for us. My problem with the 3 chances is that it lets them get angry instead of nipping it in the bud.

  3. Chaya Rivka Carasso

    I think the problem with many of the stories of moms and children is that mom lose sight of the fact that their child will someday be mature, grow out of this childish behavior, and be a pleasure to have around.

    Being locked into the time and age of a child makes things difficult. I remember when one of my sons would do the very same thing with me and food. What helped me most was seeing this sweet boy, who was really annoying, and realizing that before long he will grow up and outgrow this whining. It was nothing I said or did, but something I kept in the forefront of my encounters with him. That is, I saw the boy and the man he would become. This helped me speak with much more calm. He is now 50 years old, six feet 4 inches and a lawyer, and he eats everything. He has stopped whining ages ago.
    Thank you

  4. Perhaps she found out that when the cereal gets soggy it takes up less room in the bowl so it looks like less – goes down easier – and by then maybe she was hungrier due to the upset. Maybe next time give her an empty bowl to put what she doesn’t think she wants aside, and then she can add to her own bowl from it later. Puts the control back in her court.

  5. Here’s a chiddush: how about time out for mummy!!! I’d be more than happy to go sit on a chair and be quiet for 41 minutes…..

  6. chana jenny, you handled it magnificently

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