Friday, June 5, 2009

The American Milky Way

The economy affects us all.

In a family of 11, there are limitations on resources like milk. Our refrigerator can only hold so many gallons, especially when you add other needed items like meat, butter, vegetables and adult liquid fuel also known as diet coke. In the past, we just used what we had and rotated for meals, orange juice for breakfast, milk for lunch, juice or water or milk for dinner. But one of my children loved whole milk, and as such, she requested we purchase a separate gallon for her.

Another daughter suffered from a slight skin allergy and requested soymilk instead. Both requests were accommodated. Then a child decided that while he didn’t mind skim, whole milk was too thick and could he please have 2%? Things were getting out of hand until the parents in a fit of frustration designated individual gallons of la leche for each child.

“When you run out of this, you are out for the week.” We announced as we loaded up the refrigerator. And then things got a bit crazy.

Some contested that cereal milk should come from the general stock, used for cooking and providing protein and calcium to the non school going crowd on a daily basis in the form of a beverage. Others lectured “to thy own stock be pure.” But kids figured out pretty quickly, once the common stock milk was poured into the cereal bowl, it couldn’t be taken back, and thus the purists abandoned their position until Mom began raiding their stock.

When people began to hold to only their gallons, there were ants and there were grasshoppers, which resulted in over the breakfast counter deals. “I’ll trade you a glass of milk for two cookies.” Such things I could tolerate, but then came the milk miser. One child in particular, nursed her milk by drinking water the first three days of the week so she could smugly make milk shakes every afternoon in front of the rest. This was the same child that hadn’t finished her Easter bunny by Memorial Day, but I took care of that problem personally.

We tried labeling the milks to mitigate milk disputes. “Remember, some milks look alike so remember to check the label before pouring.” We tried buying different brands. “Mine’s the CVS brand, yours is Lucerne…see?”

And then one time, the general stock went dry. “I’m making muffins and need a half cup, any donors?” No one was feeling charitable milk wise. I used water and the kids complained that the breakfast tasted a bit off. The next time, I used an equal measure from each person’s milk, which brought complaints when some had more to start. “This is America.” One of them argued. “You should do a progressive tax of the milk.”

I responded, “We’re Republicans. I’m doing a flat tax.” The voter left disgruntled but admitted the muffins tasted better.

Then there was the spilled milk incident…and from the hoarder no less. Talk about genuine sorrow, and subsequent glee from those who had watched her sip her chocolate shakes so smugly. I was about to intervene with my own version of the stimulus package when the kids took pity on her and pooled their resources to replenish her stock. In response to such generosity, she promised the following week to share in the shakes come Friday.

I thought we had turned the corner.

Then the milk black market started up over breakfast, and enterprising capitalists were charging premium dollars for moomoo juice and measuring it out in fluid ounces. They were shaking down a five year old. I exercised parental fiat power to declare a dairy detaunte.

“We are a family! Milk is a common use product, like toilet paper, bread, air conditioning, the computer, the television, the laundry machines and the furniture of this house. Everyone gets it. Everyone uses it. The milk is for the greater good of the whole family, ergo, as far as food is concerned, this is a communist state. Being the mother, I am the state, and I shall distribute the milk, it to each according to his or her needs.”

“But Mom, we’re Republicans!”

I produced the powdered chocolate Quick mix. “I will sweeten the deal.” They lined up. Pouring each a drink and creating a sense of peace, Motherland has spoken, and sometimes, it’s good to be the State.


JimmyV said...


Anonymous said...

I am laughing, but I think you have barely skimmed the surface of this problem. Leche les bons temps roulez. La Momma de Texas

MightyMom said...


excuse me, I think I peed my pants laughing...oh, and can I trade a cat for a glass of milk?

Sharla said...

I love it! Too funny.

dotty said...

thanks for making me laugh. i loved the "i took care of that personally" about the chocolate rabbit---I too ate my chocolate slowly and therefore never got to actually finish it (one of 5 kids--labeling didn't work--i tried).

Anonymous said...

Until I read your column, I never thought the milk of human kindness was that funny... Texas mooDad

dotty said...

Are you saying that my MOM might have been the one that ate my candy?---all these years I was blaming my bottomless pit brothers--back to therapy!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!