Two stars

By Mir
March 8, 2006

Sometimes, I get a wild hair and decide to make a nice dinner. Sometimes, I am not very bright.

(Also? Wild hair? Just one? I mean, I have a dozen or so wild hairs on a GOOD hair day. That expression was clearly coined by a man. Perhaps a bald one.)

The children are having a Rough Week. The transition back to routine and school after vacation is always a painful one. They are slumping into the house at the end of the day as if they’ve been away at boot camp, crawling on all fours under barbed wire before scaling a 40-foot wall, and collapsing on the couch. Then they either watch television or whine to watch television (if I decline) or touching each other or threatening to touch each other and generally just being the Pitiful-McBickersons.

So I thought I’d try to have a nice family meal. HAHAHAHA!

I was actually on the phone with a friend when Chickadee announced “I need you to get me a snack.” Now, dear readers, who can spot the problem with this statement? Let’s make it multiple choice.

Why was this unacceptable?
A) I was on the phone.
B) I am not her lady-in-waiting.
C) She’d already had a snack.
D) Any sentence out of her mouth to me that begins “I need you to” had best end with “put out my hair because it’s on fire.”
E) All of the above. RIP, Chickadee.

So. After explaining the folly of her statement (after I’d gotten off the phone) and cleanly removing the top layer of her skin, I added that ANYWAY, I was about to make dinner. Which led to a familiar exchange.

Chickadee: What’s for dinner?
Me: Food.
Chickadee: What KIND of food?
Me: The kind you eat.
Monkey: Mama, she means what kind of food that we eat!
Me: The kind that’s good for dinner.
Me: Gotta go. Make dinner. In the kitchen. Where I can’t hear you.
Monkey: She’s making something gross.

Chickadee followed me into the kitchen. “Is it tacos?” she asked, hopefully. I ignored her and starting rinsing off fish filets in the sink. “Oh, FISH!” She went running back into the family room. “It’s fish, Monkey! We love fish!”

(Monkey’s response: “No, YOU love fish. I hate fish.”)

I seasoned and broiled and topped the fish. I made rice, and prepared a nice caesar salad. I set the table and poured their milk and fixed their plates. Then I called them to come sit down and eat.

Chickadee came running, and Monkey dodged into the bathroom. Chickadee and I sat at the table and waited. And waited. And waited. I called out (a couple of times) that we were waiting for him to say grace so we could start eating, and that our food was getting cold, but I’m pretty sure he’d fallen into the toilet. Eventually he emerged and joined us. We said grace, and my fork was halfway to my mouth when the fun began.

Chickadee: Monkey didn’t say “Amen!”
Monkey: Yes I did!
Chickadee: No you didn’t!
Me: CHICKADEE. Mind your own business and let me be the mother, please.
Monkey: Yeah.
Me: Don’t push it.
Monkey: Do I have to eat the fish?
Me: You don’t HAVE to eat ANYTHING.
Chickadee: Is there dessert?
Me: Hmmm. Yes, I believe there is.
Monkey: Do I have to eat the fish to get dessert?
Me: Yup.
Monkey: No fair!
Me: Your life is really difficult, isn’t it? Poor thing.
Chickadee: YUM! I love this fish, Mama. I’m not even eating it just to get dessert. I’m eating it because it’s good. Thank you for dinner, Mama.
Me: You’re welcome, sweetie. Thank you for saying thank you.
Chickadee: Thank YOU for saying thank you for my saying thank you!
Me: No, thank YOU for saying thank you for saying thank you for–
Monkey: What’s for dessert?
Me: Did you eat your fish?
Monkey: Not yet.
Me: Then you don’t need to know what dessert is, yet. Hey! Chickadee, did you turn in your extra credit thing?
Chickadee: Yep. I got a star! Actually, I got two stars, cuz I got a star for table washing at lunch, too.
Me: That’s great!
Chickadee: Yeah, but then I lost them both.
Me: What? Why??
Chickadee: I forget.
Me: You forget?
Chickadee: Yep.
Monkey: Excuse me! I farted!
*children dissolve into giggles for five minutes*
Me: Chickadee. Tell me why you lost your stars. Or I can email Mr. Wonderful and ask.
Chickadee: Go ahead and mail him.
Me: Okay. But you’ll lose your allowance today if I need to do that.
Chickadee: Oh. I just remembered! One I lost because I kept asking Mr. Wonderful what I should draw. I think I was supposed to be drawing instead of bothering him.
Me: I see. And the other one?
Chickadee: E wouldn’t let me see her picture, so I took her water bottle.
Monkey: Were you thirsty?
Chickadee: No, I was angry.
Me: Was that a good way to handle that, do you think?
Chickadee: No. But E lost a star, too, because she was supposed to let me see.
Monkey: Do I have to eat my fish?
Me: Only if you want dessert.
Monkey: No fair.
Me: Did you apologize to E for taking her water bottle?
Chickadee: Yes.
Me: Did you apologize to Mr. Wonderful for bothering him?
Chickadee: No. He took my star away.
Me: Because you weren’t behaving. I think maybe tomorrow you should apologize.
Chickadee: Okay. May I please have some more milk?
Me: Sure.
Monkey: May I please be excused?
Me: You haven’t eaten anything.
Monkey: I ummm… have to go to the bathroom!
Me: You JUST went!
Monkey: I have to go again.
Me: No. You can wait, now. Please eat your dinner.
Monkey: I’m gonna pee in my pants!
Chickadee: Ooooh! Pee your pants!
Me: CHICKADEE. Mind your own business, please. Monkey, eat your dinner.
Monkey: Excuse me! I farted!
*children dissolve into giggles for five minutes*

The food was excellent, but the ambience was questionable.


  1. margalit

    Mir, you stole my children. I do NOT want them back. You can have them.

    I swear it, we have the same dinnertime conversations that you do. Including one child refusing to eat fish of any kind while the other child can’t get enough of it. I have no advice, my kids are 13.5 and this is our nightly scenario, too.

  2. Mary

    Okay, here’s the plan: You make dinner for me (please), I will come when you call, sit nicely, eat with my mouth closed, and thank you when I’m done. After that I will help you clean up and we can finish off that bottle of wine while we talk and laugh.

    Adopt me! That dinner you made sounds better than anything I’ve eaten all week.

  3. Vaguely Urban

    Questionable? No way! That was some grade-A Family Time. And, by any standard, far more entertaining than the mealtime ambience provided by American Idol.

    btw, we had fish, too! Snapper!

  4. buffi

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has these conversations.

    Mind your own business and let me be the mother, please.

    My variation of that is “When, exactly, did you give birth to these boys?”

    And the whole “You don’t HAVE to eat anything…” I use that quite often, too. With great success. *snort*

  5. Norma

    Did you know you are featured today on “feedster”. Actually, I’ve never heard of it until today when I was reading another blog and she had been featured so I checked it out and there you were! How exciting! Just thought you’d like to know if you didn’t already. Love your blog!!

  6. Irony Queen

    Ohmygosh, does this bring back memories! I, of course, was the oldest child who was able to point out when the others weren’t doing what was expected of them. And, yes, there were many “Are you the mother?” reprimands. Ahem. Good thing I’m over that now and never, ever notice that my colleagues aren’t doing what they’re supposed to…

    Sigh. Makes me want kids. In a sick, twisted sort of way. But first, I need a date. Preferably with someone I like for more than ten minutes.

  7. David

    Absolutely classic! *grinning gleefully* Some things never change.

  8. Em

    To Irony Queen: what makes you think you can stand the father of your children for more than 10 minutes at a time? Oh, sorry, I’m not the mother. I’ll stop being so bossy. ;-)

    I also feel the need to tell you, Mir, that my two year old excuses himself for passing gas by saying “Excuse me, pig!”. Granted, he learned it by me saying “Excuse you, pig*” but still, not being the offensive one, I don’t know why I get called the names.

    *For the record, I don’t generally call my children farm animals but after a few instances of my son seeking out my lap to sit on in order to reverberate his gas just right, it felt well deserved.

  9. Fraulein N

    Okay, this:

    “Me: The kind that’s good for dinner.”

    Cracked me up. My sister used to say that to my nephews all. the. time. And you know what? It never got old.

  10. Aimee

    Funniest multiple choice question, ever. I want to have dinner at your house. By the way, we had fish as well! Alaskan cod.

  11. Cele

    Too funny Mir. At least your children swap off being stubborn. I have a husband who will tell me he is full – when in truth he doesn’t like something – so I continue to make it for dinner and he continues to be full. You would think one of us would get a clue. He did, but he said he was full for soooo long when he didn’t like something that now I have nothing I can make for dinner. And he doesn’t like mushrooms. His list of “I won’t that” is longer than any kid’s.

  12. EverydaySuperGoddess

    My favorite response to the “what are we having for dinner” question is:

    A great big plate of WAIT AND SEE!

  13. ben

    Excuse me! I farted!

  14. Nothing But Bonfires

    I’m sorry, I really HAVE to know what was for dessert. (I’ve eaten all my fish, I promise.)

  15. sweatpantsmom

    I’m so glad to know I’m not alone with my Farting Dinner Offspring.

  16. janie

    Now my dad used to say we got a wild hair up our butts. Not just a wild hair. Not sure if that was his addition or not. Ok, had to say that before I forgot or my kids started fighting, now I’m going to finish reading the entry.

  17. Mr. Fabulous

    Oh yeah, I’m gonna have kids reeeeal soon LOL

  18. Mike

    I don’t understand all the digs at the kidlings…reading through that I was even more charmed by Monkey and Chickadee than I’ve been for a year now! You got one to eat fish and THANK you for it?? These are angels!!

  19. Susan

    Sweet jesus, that was funny.

    And I, too, giggled for five minutes each time there was farting.

  20. janie

    Ok, I just finished reading it (Yes I realize it’s a day later, I just had my wisdom teeth pulled.) Sadly, those 2 conversations sound like you came in and sat down at my house for a couple of hours in the evening.

  21. Angel

    I so LOVE this blog!! You just described a few conversations I’ve had with my kids ;)

    In our house, the death-inducing phrase is “Get me some…”

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