It's a familiar whine: ''But why can't I have it for breakfast? It's good for me.''
''We're having steel-cut rolled oats. It's natural.''
''But these super frosted fizzy oats with marshmallows and boffo bits taste better.''
''Put a dab of organic honey on your oatmeal.''
''But, but, but ... Look, it says on the box that my cereal is fortified with 11 essential vitamins and minerals. Don't you want me to be healthy?''
''What it's fortified with is processed grains and enough sugar to smack you into a major crash by noon.''
''So I'll take a nap. Kids my age need naps.''
It's right about here that my wife pulls the wooden spoon out of the pan of rolled oats and shakes it at me. ''You are nearly 55 years old. Don't you think it's about time you learned to stay awake through an entire day of work?''
''I guess.'' My shoulders slump. ''It's sure not much fun being a grownup.''
I grew up during an era when breakfast cereals ruled. Alpha-Bits. Cap'n Crunch. Sugar Smacks. Super Sugar Crisp. Even when ''sugar'' became a dirty word, changing the names of some cereals - Honey Smacks and Super Golden Crisps - it was what was for breakfast for us kids.
And Saturday mornings ... ah, cartoons and sugared cereal bliss. We were up and at 'em with Atom Ant and going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. We tra-la-laed with the Banana Splits and yelled, ''They're gr-r-reat!'' with Tony the Tiger.
It was OK, because breakfast cereals were fortified!
Then nutritionists ruined everything. They spilled the Frosted Flakes to our moms that highly processed foods loaded with sugar weren't really the best way for us to start our days. Oh, and by the way, Mom, Bugs Bunny's probably a bit too violent for the kiddos, too.
Still, I counted on the essential vitamins and minerals keeping me in cold cereal serenity for years to come.
But the nutritionists are back - and they're backing my wife and her crazy theories.
''Millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts'' of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based health research and advocacy organization. They blame cold breakfast cereals as a chief culprit.
C'mon, would the Silly Rabbit really do that?
The problem is that more isn't better with some vitamins and minerals, and too much vitamin A, zinc and niacin can cause liver and skeletal damages to kids younger than 8, the primary market for the cereals in the colorful boxes with the cartoon characters.
''But I'm not 8,'' I whined - I mean, said - to my wife.
She arched an eyebrow. Maybe too much whining - I mean, saying - is sort of like too much vitamin A.
So my plan is this: Remember how eggs were good for you, then bad for you, then good for you again? Remember how butter was good for you, then bad for you, then good for you again?
Well, I suspect if I wait long enough, another study MUST find that Froot Loops, Reese's Puffs and Lucky Charms are the epitome of health and nutritional importance.
Until then, I'll be sitting here gnawing on my raw broccoli.
---- Write Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook. His latest novel, ''Bash and the Chicken Coop Caper'' (B&H Kids) is in bookstores.