You know how in the post-Christmas clearance frenzy everything that’s marked down 50 percent or more looks so enticing? When, confronted with shelves of leftover holiday merchandise, you (OK, I) try to stretch your logic to fit the limits of your sane-decisions-making mind in order to convince yourself that you really need something when you actually don’t? Like, “maybe I should get that Elmo set of poorly crafted, totally obnoxious tree lights, even though my kids are teenagers and were never really into the muppets anyway, because I may want to buy a tiny tree for my non-existent pet next year and I wouldn’t want to spend cash on a nice set of lights” logic?
That insanity made me buy a make-at-home Rice Krispie kit which, in the moment, struck me as a cool thing for the kids to do on a rainy day. The box even said it would be a “fun family activity” so obviously I believed it. One of the few packaged treats that my kids eat are Rice Krispies, and I was in a benevolent mood (likely because the wackos weren’t actually there with me), so why not? Right? Right?
Last week being miserable, the chance for some creative intervention came up soon enough. The excitement in the air was palpable when I sold them on the idea of creating! and decorating! their very own rice krispies. The first sign of trouble arose when V, who doesn’t care for roasted marshmallows or general squishy things, queried, “why does this have marshmallows?” Me: “Because we’re going to melt them! And mix them in with the rice cereal! That’s how Krispies are made, silly!” As I started to melt the mini marshmallows though, my confidence waned. They immediately stuck together into a highly unappetizing, glutinous ball of something that would never, ever hold anything else together. But I persevered. Maybe a few drops of water will work? It kind of did, in that the ball unraveled to become liquid enough to pour into the cereal. But the quantity of the cereal was entirely too much! V, again, “but this is TOO crunchy. The store one isn’t so crunchy.” I could’ve punched his scrunched-up nose! Here I was trying to get the mutinous marshmallows to be friends with the army of cereal; here was my plan for a fun afternoon scattering in front of my very eyes; here my impatient kids would up and run leaving me to work or clean up the mess any minute! I couldn’t afford to be distracted! “It’ll come together, buddy,” I muttered.
It did. A little bit, anyway. Enough to press it into the train mold that came with the kit. This part I had banked upon, apart from the decorating, to provide some enjoyment to the kids. After all, they like squishing play dough into the stapler. No go. Apparently the sensation of cereal sticking to their fingers is abhorrent to kids. I don’t blame them…it was kind of icky. So I ended up doing that part as well.
Decorating did end up distracting them for a few minutes. But even after it looked fairly pretty no one wanted to eat more than one bite of it. The Rice Krispie train sat there ignored for a couple of hours before I chucked it into the trash. If a bonafide, begged-for treat isn’t maniacally consumed immediately, you can rest assured it ain’t gonna be. Its fate was sealed before even getting pressed into shape. And so was the fate of my fun, clearance-inspired afternoon.