The kids hide food.
I swear we feed them.
I never hid food as a kid, but then, I have only one sister. If my mom brought a box of Zingers or Jello Pudding Pops home, we were guaranteed to get one. Hell, more than one. More often than not, exactly half the box for each of us.
Not so in my current family.
A regular-sized box of anything isn’t big enough for all the kids. We buy in bulk wherever possible, and buy multiples when it isn’t. Even if the numbers work out, no one is guaranteed an equal share.
We don’t run our house as a democracy, nor as a commune. It’s a benign dictatorship with a flourishing black market. Any treat we buy is immediately, surreptitiously pillaged and hidden.
#5, being little, likes to tell me his hiding places. Sometimes he asks if it’s okay. I haven’t figured out if he’s cute, or if he’s trying to distract me from his more sinister master plan. But occasionally, I hide things on his behalf, because what are the odds that an eight-year-old boy can come up with a hiding place that his four older sisters haven’t found before him, and won’t think of in the future?
I get mad when they hide things to the extent that one kid gets all of them. I also get pissed when they hide something successfully and forget about it, and I find it months later with a green/blue spray of mold across it or else fused to the inside of an appliance we rarely use. Sometimes one kid finds another kid’s stash, takes a bite and returns it to its hiding place. The pantry is a minefield of half-open wrappers with one bite missing. Likewise the freezer.
I come across hidden treats when I’m packing lunches or pretending to cook. What I do with them depends on my mood and where I find them. And if it was anything I wanted for myself to begin with.
This morning I found someone’s half-eaten bag of Sour Patch Kids. It’s now a three-quarters-eaten bag of Sour Patch Kids.
UPDATE: It is now a bag containing four Sour Patch Kids.
UPDATE: #1 just declared in a very loud and sarcastic voice while we were standing in the kitchen, “Oh no, I knew that was a bad place to hide my Sour Patch Kids.” I pretended not to hear her.
We pay allowance. Not much: 50 cents per year of age, per week. I don’t pay on time. I currently owe them about three hundred dollars. They spend most of their money on food: Ramen. Nutella. Marshmallow Fluff. Frozen chocolate chip waffles. Brownie mix. Donuts. Icing. Soda. Lemon Juice (yes, lemon juice). CC makes them share any and all candy, even if they buy it with their own money, but somehow there’s a loophole around everything else.
They’re not supposed to keep food in their rooms for the obvious reasons, so it’s all about how to make sure nobody else gets their treats. In addition to the hiding, there are threats, fair trades, bargaining, and diversion.
Still, they steal like mad. They steal from each other and then when they discover that their own treat, purchased with their own money, has been decimated, they are indignant. And I’m forced to point out the fallacy of their argument, namely that they can’t complain about the loss when they’re thieving themselves. This makes me incredibly popular, as you might imagine.
I personally get around this by just buying things for myself that they don’t like. Dark chocolate is the only treat they won’t eat. Beyond that, I’m safe with spinach and brussels sprouts, and crushed red pepper flakes on everything else. (I learned that last one from my Dad.)
A new development in protecting their loot has sprung up: messages written on containers. This is from a carton of Limeade that #4 bought:
“Warning I licked it. I licked the spout.”