Day of the Duplo
Time Is a Flat-Packaged Ikea Box

Attack of the Floor Cheerios

Ceiba has decided that she will no longer eat Floor Cheerios. This is a real problem, actually. This is the equivalent to a Roomba suddenly deciding that it will only vacuum up certain kinds of dust bunnies, and deliberately navigating itself around the other kind. This basically goes against her understood Prime Directive as a dog in a house with small children: Help me keep my damn floors clean.

She's done an excellent job, historically. Every time we travel without her I invariably have a moment of profound befuddlement after our first meal, as I survey the mess under the high chair or table, wondering who the hell is supposed to clean that up? And then: Oh. Right. We're roughing it! How primitive! 

But now, she will not touch the Cheerios. Or the Trader Joes' Os. Or the Generic Big Ass Bag o' Osie Os. Honey nut, multi grain, whatever. If it is some kind of grain-based o-shaped cereal she will sniff dismissively before ignoring it completely. What else you got? I'm really more in the mood for something bacon-y. Or perhaps a nice raw-chicken-tainted paper towel from the garbage? 

(Meanwhile, one time I spilled an entire cup of flour on the floor and she went facefirst into that like it was a delicious pile of dog cocaine.)

(Also, she eats DIAPERS. DIRTY ONES. But ugh, Cheerios. Gross. No thanks.)

Now, I'm sure you're probably thinking: Dude. Get a grip. How many Floor Cheerios can we possibly be talking about?

Because I raise my children to be independent and industrious and also I like sleep, the boys are responsible for getting the first wave of breakfast themselves. Cereal, fruit, water, anything with a low probability of setting the house on fire. Every bowl of cereal they pour for themselves invariably overflows slightly and sends Cheerios skittering across the counter and floor. And they pour bowl after bowl after bowl, because they are hollow and never stop eating. Even Ike wants to handle this task himself, although his "pouring" skills are still more like "dumping."

(And yes, I tried pouring the cereal into more kid-friendly, reusable containers. You would have thought I skinned our cat and offered them his insides as breakfast sausage. They cried over the poor empty boxes and kept "rescuing" them from the recycle bin and trying to refill them when I wasn't looking, because CEREAL BOXES HAVE FEELINGS, APPARENTLY.)

Ike also insists on eating cereal with a spoon, because he is a big boy and not a savage, and will painstakingly pick up individual Os, place them carefully on the spoon one by one, and then get absolutely none of them all the way up to his mouth.

And then there's Ezra, my gentle, lovely little klutz. Who has always, from the second he sits down to eat, magically transformed into a whirling windmill of elbows and nothing but elbows, constantly knocking over cups and upending bowls left and right. 

It's like I'm buying all this cereal for some kind of insane, never-ending dress rehearsal for actual self-feeding skills, and it's officially gone on long enough that even Ceiba's like, ENOUGH. I'M DONE. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER UP THERE. 

So anyway, yeah, it's a lot of Floor Cheerios. And while I have a pretty high tolerance for surface clutter (that pile of unfiled mail and shoebox I was supposed to return to Zappos two weeks ago are at least mostly sanitary), I get absolutely twitchy about things actually being dirty or dusty or sticky. So a few dozen dry and/or milk-laden and/or stepped-on Cheerios scattered across the floor drives me crazy in a way the thick, carpet-y pelt of Legos in the living room does not. 

I am also pretty lazy, though. We have a cordless vacuum mounted on the wall in the kitchen, a dustpan and brush in the cabinet over the sink, and a broom in the closet down the hall. The vacuum does a better job in general, but it does refuse to pick up whole, intact Cheerios. It just kind of pushes them around. 

Jason will, for the record, use the vacuum to both clean the floor and corral the Cheerios into one general area, and then sweeps them up with the dustpan. Or he'll just get the broom in the first place, knowing that the vacuum isn't technically up to the task. I think this is the approach most grown-ups would take? 

Me, I go around and step on every individual Floor Cheerio, crushing them into powder, which I then vacuum up. Ta-daaa!

In summary, I am a very strange kind of industrious, and my dog is pretty much useless.

Photo (95)

Right. Like is MY fault you people won't buy any GOOD cereal, like Froot Loops. Whatever. 



Oh Ceiba! The only ONLY reason we bought two puppies when our dog died was to keep my floor clean. That is their purpose! (Napping on the couch all damn day is NOT a purpose). Get on it Ceiba!

As we have no dog, this is our only hope.



How did I not know this? All my objections about having a dog in an apartment are done. We have to get a dog.

Meanwhile, we vacuum twice every time we vacuum. Once with the vacuum cleaner on the highest possible setting (up away from the carpet) which actually picks up whole cheerios, and then one on the lower setting, to actually get dirt. And cheerio dust.


We got a damn Labrador Retriever and one of the ways my husband convinced me that a giant shedding eating machine was a good idea was by suggesting that the dog would eat the crumbs.


So now I'm doing twice as much sweeping, because there are STILL crumbs, but also dog hair.

Dogless people, beware. I love my dog but expecting them to be a vacuum cleaner may backfire on you in tragic fashion.


OMG, my youngest is like Ike & Ezra combined. Our dust buster is useless, and then we saw the Bissell sweep vacuum (at a LEGO event of all's all my daughter would do there. Dump legos on the floor & vacuum them up) and it is easy enough for a small child to use AND picks up cheerios! It's my youngest's job to now get the Bissell and vacuum up any and all crumbs after herself. She LOVES the vacuum and asked for it for xmas. It has an adjustable handle so you can make it shorter for Ike if you want.


Thought - has Ceiba seen the doggie dentist recently? If horses (my personal area of pet expertise) stop eating hard stuff it's usually down to their teeth.


Dude. Try a Dyson hand vac. I know, I know, they are ridiculously expensive for a vac and there probably are cheaper versions that do just as well, but I'm telling you. My Dyson is awesome at picking up everything. Whole cheerios, staples, dust bunnies, and even glitter. GLITTER! IT PICKS UP ALL TEH GLITTER!

PS - I swear i'm not compensated in anyway by Dyson. I wish...


This is exactly what our dog did when she got old! When she was younger, she would happily scarf up all food that fell on the floor, and then when she got old and started to be a bit unwell, she gradually got more and more picky about what she would deign to eat. I specifically remember the cereal thing, actually -- at that point she would still eat fruit, meat, etc that fell on the floor but she would snuffle around the cereal and leave them there. Oh dogs, they are so crazy...


I had no idea just how much of a mess my 2-year old was making at each feeding until we had to put our 10-year old Sheltie to sleep. I actually had to go out and buy a hand vac for our kitchen after that. He would loyally camp out at the foot of her high chair and wait for her drops, spills, and sometimes intentional shares.


My dog will also no longer eat cheerios. I think it is because he knows something better will eventually come along, and you don't want the cheerios to be wasting valuable stomach real estate.


Crumbs on the floor are the only reason I miss having a dog. I have become obsessed with vacuuming because if I leave any crumbs ants find them in no time.


My dog briefly went on a goldfish strike. He was over them. So...I stopped serving them to the kids (because I am an awesome mom like that). A little goldfish break and he's back on the job. So maybe look into some different cereals? Isn't this the saddest idea ever?


Children! This is what the children are for.


As a mother of 2 children (one of which is very klutzy and elbow-y like your Ezra), and 2 dogs and 2 cats that enjoy shedding, I couldn't live without my Swiffer Sweeper Vac. I use that baby twice a day and I'm happy to report it sucks up Cheerios.


My dog will eat absolutely nothing when the children are near. Sometimes the baby hurls food on the floor and shrieks "ANNIE!" hoping that the dog will appear and allow herself to be petted, but alas, Annie knows it is a trap and wants nothing to do with kids.


I grew up with a dog, and every time we'd drop food on the floor, we'd just call her name and consider the clean up done. When my first child started on solids, it had been over 12 years since I'd lived with a dog, but the first time food hit the floor, I automatically called out my childhood dog's name. In the absolute silence that followed, my future of stooping and crawling to pick up crumbs loomed depressingly before my eyes.


My boss's DYSON does not pick up whole Cheerios. Or goldfish! This brings me great joy, because my little Eureka does. But yeah, I totally do the stomp on Cheerios to make small crumb particles thing.


Time for a new dog.


If you're not opposed to the idea of setting a (utterly loveable, incredibly goofy, happy go lucky) 90lbs wrecking ball loose in your house you could borrow my parent's black lab. He'll eat any type (even imaginary) crumbs off just about any surface. He'll even lick the bottom of your socks sometimes to check for crumbs.

I love him dearly and he's so sweet but sometimes a bit too excited… about anything ever. I'm not sure he realizes that his tail is actually a part of him. He probably thinks it's a roaming spectre of some sort that follows him everywhere constantly knocking things over. I think he probably thinks his full name is "Shadow, no!"


Oh lordy you crack me up! Like, for reals laugh out loud


I am a longtime reader, since that fateful day Dave Barry linked to you and Ceiba was in a cast. Oh my, her face is so silver! Sweet little purse dog is getting up there in years.


"mop" is my dog's only 100% consistent command. She'll come running if we yell it for whatever tasty morsel we've (more likely the kids) dropped on the floor.

As for the diapers, let's just say that the dog's most recent emergency vet visit was due to the #2 filled diaper she chose to eat. Let's just say the e vet bill was worth not having to clean *that* up later!

Kaycee in Texas

As I was reading the vacuum part of this I thought, "Step on 'em!"

Then I thought, "I can't comment that, other people don't do that sort of thing."

Then I thought, "Yep, this is why I love you, Amy!"


We have the same problem. After having two toddlers spilling food constantly over the last 5 years my small and now rounder beagle mutt Buddy turns his nose up at a lot of people food, including cheerios. He also dislikes French fries. Point in his favor, he happily scarfs down left over broccoli.


Isn't this what Montessori is for? Tiny brooms for everyone!


My daughter, who's Noah's age, is like Ezra, a sweet, loving KLUTZ. She used to knock over glasses about twice a week. About a year and a half ago, we switched her to the short grown up glass glasses. More bottom heavy. I was nervous at first, but the heavier weight makes a huge difference. I think she's knocked over one glass since then.


When my daughter started feeding herself finger food in a high chair, our dog gained NINE pounds in six months! (As a perspective, that would be like an average, 140 lb woman gaining 21 lbs in six months-hah, like being pregnant!)
I have no advice. Just wanted to share that.
Although, maybe get her teeth checked? We thought our doggie was sick, because she wasn't eating much, but she and a broken canine tooth. Very expensive dental bill on that day. Gotta love the greyhounds and their terrible teeth!


You stepping on the Cheerios to vacuum up the dust is the equivalent of me running the vacuum over an object OVER and OVER again instead of just bending over to pick it up off the floor!

Lynda M Otvos

Don't we all reach down for that piece the vacuum won't pick suck, pick it up and look at it then throw it back down and run over it again with the damn noisemaker sucking machine. Give me a broom any day. And I hate carpet, if anyone (looking at you, spousal unit) cares.


Our dog has also become irritatingly selective about exactly what offal he will accept from our toddlers meals. Because why deal in bread and cereal when there is chicken, bacon and entire overturned bowls of Mac and cheese. He will still eat the carrots though - because he's weird.


I still sometimes get this irrational pang when throwing things out like I'm making them feel sad. I blame kids movies that anthropomorphise everything. I'm looking at you The Brave Little Toaster. You too Toy Story.


I'm very grateful for my dog's contribution to keeping the house clean. But way more than that, I'm incredibly impressed that you have your kids getting their own (first) breakfast. I can barely get my ten-year-old to pour himself a glass of water. (Different kids, different ages, different skills, believemeIknow.)

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