What could be more satisfying than the unbridled joy that parenting brings? Well, how about the hilarity that comes from stacking Cheerios on your sleeping child’s head? It’s a real thing and parents of the internet are going nuts for it.
Picture a newborn baby sleeping silently in their crib. Perfection, right? Not for some parents, who think the picture isn’t complete until there’s a pile of Cheerios stacked on the blissfully unaware infant’s face.
The Cheerio Challenge started with a bored dad randomly decorating his sleeping son’s face with the oat-based breakfast cereal. Then the internet got hold of it and a whole new art form was born.
Patrick Quinn was the bored dad in question. He’s the founder of Life of Dad, a social network for fathers which normally shares slightly more practical tips for new dads.
Quinn came up with the idea while playing with Maxton, his new three-week-old son. Presumably he wasn’t in enough awe watching the baby sleep; he decided that something was missing, and that thing was a stack of Cheerios.
“I put one Cheerio on his nose,” Quinn explained to BuzzFeed, “and then tried to see how many I could stack, and it kind of just went from there.” The phenomenon, as well as the Cheerios stacks, grew.
Quinn posted a picture of his son with five Cheerios stacked on his nose to Life of Dad’s Instagram page. On it he wrote, “Take the Cheerio Stack Challenge!! How High Can You Go?” Internet dads everywhere duly obliged.
But they soon found that it’s not as easy as it looks. On Facebook Aaron Szafran said, “#CheerioChallenge is way harder than I expected! I got 7 on my 12th attempt or so. Must keep trying…”
Darrell Wade from Emmett, Idaho – who stacked 20 Cheerios on his baby’s head – appears to have the Cheerio Challenge record. Quinn had previously said that he didn’t think it would be possible to stack more than 16.
The challenge has captured the imaginations of dads the world over, with submissions coming from as far as Mongolia and Korea. Being successful, however, is dependent on overcoming many obstacles.
The greatest required skill is having a steady hand, which isn’t so easy when you’re giggling uncontrollably. As Quinn admitted to BuzzFeed, “The real challenge of the Cheerio Challenge is stifling your own laughter.”
The Cheerio Challenge isn’t exclusively for boys. Mom Alicia Adams wrote on Instagram, “I found myself at Maddies breakfast restaurant in Denver with a complementary plate of Cheerios, banana, and raisins and we just had to try.”
Aunts and uncles are also embracing the Cheerio Challenge. Nathan DeMoss wrote on Instagram, “#cheeriochallenge with my nephew Emmett… steady hands and a still baby… he has no idea what’s going on.”
Some participants have got a little creative with the Cheerio Challenge rules. Grayson Lamb wrote on his Instagram page, “Who says you have to stack them? A smiley face works just fine.” And arguably it looks just as cute.
Other challengers have really gone for it by trying the especially tricky double stack. And some participants have even foregone the face in favor of other parts of the body.
Not every willing participant has Cheerios to hand, though. Life of Dad user Ryan Blunden, for example, said all he could find were three Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – and an edible red frog. They proved to be fine substitutes.
Cheerios, of course, aren’t available in some parts of the world. Mongolian Life of Dad follower Mi Bandera Mystandard couldn’t get his hands on the cereal, so he instead opted for sukhar, a type of fried bread.
No matter what Cheerio Challenge participants are attempting to stack, external factors are an all-too-common hazard. Ana Liz Colson wrote on Instagram, “This is as far as you get when you have a toddler next to you eating the Cheerios faster than you can stack them.”
Competition is fierce and, as a result, some challengers have required clarification of the rules. Sam Cruse asked on Facebook, “My husband wants to know if you can lick them to stick, or if they have to be dry?”
It seems that now, however, the kids are getting their revenge. Greg Morgan wrote on his Instagram page that, “The babies are fighting back! I fell asleep waiting to compete in the #CheerioChallenge… and she got me!” Dads beware: never be the first to nod off.