Love Thursday: A break from hating

This week has been a slippery slide into “I hate everyone and everything” territory, much to the chagrin of my family. Whoops! Not you! I don’t hate YOU! Except when you talk to me in that tone of voice. Or look at me that way. Or breathe. Do you have to do that quite so LOUDLY?

I think we all hit the wall this week, and it’s right and good and necessary, but that doesn’t make it fun. We are all cranky and feeling adrift, I think. I would like a vacation. What? You say this IS my vacation? Oh. Right. Please kill me.


So in an attempt to get out of my current rut (that lovely low spot wedged between “woe is me” and “everyone sucks”), I’d like to think about the good stuff, however briefly.

Tonight at dinner, Chickadee was in a snit before we ever sat down. We were having leftovers, and she didn’t WANT that. Even though THAT was her choice of about three different things. So there was some stern discussion and eventually we settled down to eat.

And then Chickadee asked for some barbecue sauce for her chicken. The chicken which Otto had marinated and grilled.

Otto: You can’t put barbecue sauce on that. That’s my special chicken. It’s perfectly delicious just as it is.
Chickadee: I would like some barbecue sauce. Go get it for me!
Me: Chickadee!
Chickadee: Go get it for me PLEASE!
Otto: What? No! It’s fine! You don’t need barbecue sauce. In fact, I don’t think I can even allow that.
Chickadee: Mooooom! He will not get me the barbecue sauce. GET IT GET IT GET IT FOR MEEEEEE!
Otto: I think that if you put barbecue sauce on that chicken I won’t be able to talk to you anymore. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to LOOK at you. You’ll RUIN it!

At this point I hid my face in my hands. DO NOT LAUGH DO NOT LAUGH I told myself, but it was too late. Chickadee was bouncing up and down in her chair, delighting in Otto’s horror. And horror is what it was, as he sat there in wide-eyed disbelief, having basically just dared her to defy him (silly man).

Monkey: *with a dramatic fork flourish and best brown-nosing earnest tone* I like the chicken just as it is. Yum yum!

(I may have emitted a small choking noise at that point.)

Chickadee: No you don’t! You wish you had barbecue sauce!

She got up to get her sauce from the fridge. There was a brief verbal scuffle—we’re pretty strict about making the kids ask to be excused, but she was just darting for the fridge after all—and Otto picked up her plate and started putting her chicken (which was cut up into cubes) on HIS plate to “rescue” it.

The next thing I knew, Monkey was still waxing poetic on how much he LOOOOVED the chicken, Chickadee had run back to the table and started GRABBING UP PIECES OF CHICKEN WITH HER BARE HANDS and tossing them back onto her plate, and Otto was saying “NOT WITH YOUR HANDS!”

I, ever the model of parental control and discipline, was busy sliding under the table and gasping for breath.

I love my husband. And his chicken. And his horror at my children being children. And the fact that even though he was genuinely horrified, he ended up laughing, too.

I love my daughter. And her pigheadedness. And her need to antagonize her stepfather and push the envelope and then make him laugh.

I love my son. And his need to step in and capitalize on being The One Who Isn’t Being Bad Right This Second. And even that he still wipes his mouth on his shirt when his napkin is sitting right there.

I love my little family even though we’re all driving each other crazy right now. And I’m sorry I’ve been so cranky, and I hope they still love me, too.


  1. bob

    congratulations. I’ve waited a long time for you to write a post like this, a family of FOUR laughing at the dinner table at goofy family stuff.

    I am soooo happy for you.

    love thursday, indeed.

  2. ChristieNY

    Cute, cute, cute! You all have become a family, that’s for sure!

    I hope your husband and children continue to amuse and delight you all week, and everything else starts getting easier and more fun for you, pretty Mir. :)

  3. Melissa

    Sure, okay, but was there PIE at the end of the meal? We mustn’t forget the really important stuff here.

  4. Otto

    I swear, if she tries that with my Chicken Crack recipe she WILL EAT WHITE BREAD FOR A MONTH.

  5. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

    Hooray for love.

    Will you be mad at me if I mention it is still Wednesday?

  6. Gaby

    What is not to love? While your over there dealing with all that chaos of the “neighborhood” and the chitlins (as I like to call my own) I have been in a cranky mood myself. I only hope it will get better next Tuesday, I mean this Friday when I leave one job for another. I can only hope the rest of the week will settle down for all of us that are being stretched in all different directions. But I love the fact that you make the children ask to be excused. I do the same with my 3 boys, the soon to be step daughter has not learned that yet as her dad has not pushed the issue. Love Thursday to you (even though I agree with Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah, it’s early.

  7. Sara

    Well, to be fair, it was only barbecue sauce and you ARE in the south. I would have been significantly more disgruntled if she had asked for ketchup. Happy Love Thursday even if it is still Wednesday!

  8. Chris

    It’s almost Thursday here, in Chicago so I’ll forgive you. Great post! As usual. ;)

  9. Karen@FamilyBriefs

    Must be something in the air . . . I’ve been rather cranky too this week, and I didn’t just make a major move! Things just aren’t clicking the way I’d like them to. I’m not doing what I want, but I don’t know what that is. Something’s out of whack, so I sure appreciated the laugh tonight. I can always count on you. Thanks!

  10. Anna

    Well, nothing says family bonding like a defiant food fight at the dinner table. The teenage years will be a blast. I can hardly wait to hear the tales. That is when they not only push the envelope, they rip it to shreds and throw it in the trash, right in front of you.

  11. Mother Chaos

    Heh. In our house, the BBQ sauce would have gotten on the chicken, and then Eldest would have said, “You know? I don’t think I quite like THIS sauce…” :)

    I’m willing to bet they still love you. Who can’t love a mom who slides under the table laughing with them?!

  12. Heather

    I can just picture Monkey totally sucking up. Too cute :-)

  13. LuAnn

    That could almost be my family. :) Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

  14. Melinda

    I love that the google ads I’m seeing are all for barbeque sauce and chicken recipes. I’m sure they aren’t suggesting Otto should do anything differently though. Hehe!

  15. Nancy R

    The only way that could be funnier would be Monkey yelling, “Save Otto’s Chicken!”

    Otto, my oldest would SO love to eat just white bread for a month. It might not be your best threat…brussel sprouts, maybe.

  16. Cele

    Oh.mi.gosh I need to breathe. I once had to keep from crying because Ducky’s whole family put tabasco sauce on my homemade red sauce and brijole. Ten hours that thing cooks and they put tabasco on it.

    Love Thursday

  17. Judy.

    LOL @ Chickadee AND Otto… Otto, I feel for you. I spend all day making my special Brazilian hot dogs in a lovely sauce of onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic and what do the kids do???? Load that sucker up with ketchup and mustard!!! Get used to it… Kids have NO taste and it’s useless to try to get them to develop any.

  18. Leandra

    At least Otto didn’t break out with a rendition of “Don’t drown your food in ketchup, mayo and goo” like my husband does. Does anyone else remember that jingle? And what’s with little boys wiping their hands on their shirts? That drives my husband nuts — I’ll have to tell him that ours is not the only one doing that!

  19. Barb

    LOL – replace bbq with ranch dressing and you have a drama that frequently plays out between our oldest son and his dad!

    Face it Otto, kids will eat anything they can dip or dunk and view with suspicion anything they cannot.

  20. Woman with Kids

    What? Sounds like a normal dinner.

    Child behaving badly? Check.
    Verbal battle of dominance? Check.
    Louder verbal battle of dominance in which I revert to acting like a two year old? Oh… is that just me?

  21. hollygee

    Bob at the top had it in one. I believe you have arrived at your new life.

  22. Megan

    I’m with Otto… at least spiritually. In our house one does NOT: ask for salt before tasting, put catsup/ketchup anywhere near potatoes that are not intended to be dunked or announce with disdain that “sorry Mom, it’s just that I don’t really like to eat anything that is just an insect with gills.”

  23. Terri

    We’ve had a week like that here, for no real reason other than the kids’ camps are over and they’re getting tired of hanging out with each other, plus we’re having the house painted so I haven’t been letting them play outside much this week. Between the rain and their love for ladders, I just can’t deal with it this week.

    But I guess they’ve picked up on my impatience and grouchiness because at least at meals they are full of praise and lovingness. Apparently I am the best “cooker” of everything everywhere. ;)

    I would like the chicken crack recipe, though.

  24. Mark

    I’m with you. A man’s chicken has to be sacrosanct! With this small chink in the armor comes the undoing of the Roman empire. Who knows first chicken then chaos will reign and the cosmic order of the universe starts unravelling.

    But hey, it gets easier. Besides, you have time to mold the young minds. And look at it this way, when she’s 18 and bringing home friends from college or a date for a family dinner, she’ll ask you to make that special, memory filled chicken.

    We merged the convicts (hers) and the Prisoners of War (mine) which was 5 teenagers between 4 years apart and then took them on a long two week camping trip across the Eastern US for our break in, get acquainted session.

    At least you have flush toilets! :-)

  25. Rachel May

    Hear, hear! Where’s the recipe? (channeling the “Where’s the Beef” Lady from the Wendy’s commercials).

    Oh, and I’m the same way about not seasoning until after you taste it. It honestly does not bother me *one bit* for you to season your food to your liking, but at least give me the benefit of the doubt and TRY it first!!!

    Congratulations, Mir — it’s the life you’ve been dreaming of for months! :)

  26. JustEnjoyHim/Judy

    Oh, Otto.

    Does Otto really think that anyone is afraid of him???

    Oh dear. Poor Otto. I bet those kids would carve him up and eat him for breakfast. Good thing that underneath it all, they really do like him. Heh.

  27. jenn

    Oh Otto, I am so sorry. There is a formula that applies to children’s eating habits and cooking.

    The more time you spend preparing food + the degree of specialty in the recipe = the likelihood that your child will feel the need to douse it in condiments.

    I’m afraid this an unbreakable law in the parenting universe.

  28. Aimee

    Yay happy family! Or cranky family!

    And now for the big question:

    CHICKEN CRACK? What the sweet blazes is Chicken Crack? I’m hoping it’s some deliciously crispy chicken and not poultry-style cocaine. Suddenly I have visions of the casino as a meth lab run by hens.

  29. Jo

    I wonder if Chicken Crack is like Crack & Cheese at my house. A block of craft cheese, salsa, cooked ground beef. Mix all of that together in a crock pot and you have a yummy nacho dip.

  30. ScottsdaleGirl

    Otto: wait til you buy a 50.00 Beef Tenderloin roast, spend hours chopping herbs and searing the meat ever so carefully then gently roasting it to a perfect Medium Rare and having Chickadee as for KETCHUP WITH IT.

  31. The Other Leanne

    mmmmmm….bbq sauce…!

  32. Daisy

    Okay, I’m waiting. When will we get Otto’s Chicken Crack Recipe? If he insists it needs testosterone, I’ll have the Hubs cook it. I promise I won’t ask for sauce.

  33. Jenni-nifr

    I’m a Texas girl for life – never lived outside of the south – and I have never heard of Chicken Crack!!! Very interesting. Inquiring minds want to know. Please share!

  34. Barb Cooper

    I once transcribed a dinner conversation and published it as a column. People thought I was joking.

    I should tell you that it’s been my experience that the first three weeks of ANYTHING new (even bringing home a new baby) really and truly sucks. And then things start to get better. Maybe that’s at work with your move, too?


  35. Susan

    Good lord that’s funny.

  36. Jenifer

    It wouldn’t be family if you didn’t drive each other crazy!!

  37. Momma Em

    Oh poor, poor Otto! His poor little chicken is so disrespected. I feel for you. However the name Chicken Crack sounds like you are planning on serving a rather specific part of a chicken’s butt. (can’t help laughing at that image!) Good luck with that one!

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