Off to a great start

By Mir
October 4, 2007

I am already struck with a strong urge to crawl back into bed, which I’m taking as a very bad sign indeed, seeing as how that usually doesn’t happen until closer to lunch time. Not even a bowl of grits with bacon salt (bacon salt, oh how I love thee) has perked me up. This is not a good omen.

The children are having trouble getting up in the morning, and honestly, short of putting them to bed right after they get home from school, I am out of ideas. Their bedtime is plenty early. They SHOULD be getting plenty of sleep. Maybe they are, and it’s just their genetic bent towards morning surliness that is causing the problem. I just know that mornings are getting uglier and uglier around here and I hate it. Also, I am tired of the “Don’t YELL AT US!” whine reflexively answered with “Did you come when I DIDN’T yell??” rejoinder. That’s a crappy stalemate to be in, on either side.

I have this rule, see, that breakfast is a do-your-own affair unless you dawdle too much in making your way into the kitchen, in which case I will lovingly prepare your meal for you to save time.

Let’s just say that the foods I choose are never pop-tarts. (Hey, you get downstairs on time and want a pop-tart? Knock yourself out. I’ll give you a vitamin to go with it and some organic milk to wash it down. Hypocrisy, thy name is Mom.) I am not exactly serving up big bowls of spiders, here, but for the 10-and-under set I suppose my choices are not amongst their favorites.

This morning I had the audacity to present the children with bowls of oatmeal.

Chickadee—being the more agreeable eater on nearly every front—dug in with resignation and soon emptied her bowl, even remarking halfway through that “Hey, this is pretty good.” I was then treated to the story of the oatmeal that Daddy buys, and I fully expected to hear that Daddy’s oatmeal is delivered on the backs of winged unicorns and dotted with crisp $100 bills, but alas, it only contains “sugar dinosaur eggs that go all melty in the hot water.” Yum, melting eggs. (I don’t know why that grosses me out so, given that when my children behave I will allow them to eat lard-n-sugar frosted rectangles, but, um, see that hypocrisy reference above.)

Monkey beheld his bowl, sniffed at its contents, and then his shoulders slumped. I asked him if he wanted a little cream on top and he said, “Sure,” much as one might agree that yes, as long as I’m on fire, I guess you can toast a couple of marshmallows in the flames rising off my butt. So I made a great show of drizzling the cream on and exclaiming how good that looked and how he could stir it up and ENJOY!

He gave me A Look. Monkey has only recently started with Looks (as opposed to his sister, who was BORN giving me A Look), and I had to work very, very hard not to laugh.

“I don’t LIKE oatmeal, Mama,” he said.

“Of course you do! You love oatmeal! You used to eat it all the time!” I insisted, while busy packing lunches. And that is 100% true. He used to eat oatmeal ALL THE TIME. When he was still in a highchair. Details. I mean, why discuss the last three times I gave him oatmeal and we went through this very same charade?

“It’s not like I gave you something you HATE, you know,” I pointed out.

“That’s true,” he admitted. “You could’ve given me a big jar of peanut butter.” We giggled, and he licked his spoon. Precisely three molecules of oatmeal made it into his mouth. He winced, and went back to stirring.

It was after this stellar start to the day that we somehow ended up with BOTH children in tears on their way out with Otto; one because I’d already given kisses and hugs but Little Control Freak was DEMANDING that there be more, even though we were pressed for time, and one because it was the other one’s fault that they didn’t get to choose breakfast because… oh, who knows; it was such a long tattlefest I eventually just wandered off into my happy place.

After they left I sat down to dig into the mountain of work which I swore I wouldn’t let get away from me this week which has—surprise!—gotten away from me this week. In the midst of something my computer informed that it intended to do a Firmware upgrade with or without my cooperation, and then I had to stop and THINK and figure out what it wanted me to do (shut down the computer, press and hold the button until something blinks? beeps? screams?), plus it asked for my password and because I haven’t had any caffeine yet I typoed it and panicked that OMG I FORGOT MY PASSWORD, MY COMPUTER IS DOOMED.

While it did the Firmware upgrade I went into the kitchen and did a little bit of prep for tonight’s dinner. I was feeling all happy about whipping up a marinade for this organic tofu I bought to use in a stir fry until I remembered that chances are, NO ONE in this house is going to like tofu. (I bought it in a fit of optimism. And possibly while having a hot flash.) So while breakfast was really splendid, I have a hunch that dinner is going to be even more fun!

So, yeah, clearly today is going to be FABULOUS.


  1. Melisa

    Yeah, baked potato night (Me: It’s fun! Choose your own toppings!) didn’t go over so well here last night either.

  2. All Adither

    Our kids today. (Okay, how old does that make me sound?) Do they not realize what a privilege it is to be served piping hot oatmeal before leaving the house in the morning? Do they have no sense of their luckiness to be living with wonderful parents who spend their hard earned money on frosted cherry poptarts in this rich, free nation?

    Mine don’t.

  3. Ani


    Fall mornings stink until daylight savings time goes away.

    Stir fry your yummy tofu for lunch and feed them all chicken nuggets for dinner. Why waste a lovely organic tofu on the unappreciative? :-)

    Hope your day gets better

  4. Mama Bear

    It must be the darkness in the morning. It prevents their eyes from opening completely, thus making them get ready at a slower pace so as not to run into anything. Then getting to breakfast late is just the fault of dark mornings, right?

  5. Jessica

    Mine will eat the oatmeal if I stir in brown sugar. And that’s fine with me…as long as they eat it!

  6. janet

    i would say “this too shall pass” but i know that it will be a loooong time before it does. ;-)

    my squabbling children are now bantering friends. of course, they’re also all adults now except the 13-year-old “baby” and it DID take until, oh, last week to have that kind of relationship. heh, i jest. it was actually last month.

    take heart. and sprinkle a little bacon salt on the tofu.

  7. MyStarbucks

    I’ve always put flies in my oatmeal. At least that’s what my grandma called raisins. so I ask my kids if they want flies in their oatmeal and they look at me like I am from outer space. LOL

  8. Heather S.

    Let me just say you almost never fail to make me laugh and feel like in the craziness that is family life I am not alone…..we are united! HE HE HE Have a great day or at least I will wish you one in the hopes that it will come true!!!

  9. Leandra

    It’s a miracle to me that Bubba is even still alive, so little food crosses his lips. And it doesn’t matter if we just had it last week and he loved it (whatever it is), this week it’s “disgustin'” — his new favorite word and one that he has already taught his sister. YAY! Fortunately, oatmeal is, for now, one of the things he WILL eat.

  10. Mark

    Ahhhhhh baked potato night. The fixing bar at our house includes: goldfish crackers, cheese popcorn, salsa, mozzarella cheese, turkey chili, crumbled bacon, gummi bears, chopped chicken, peanuts, broccoli. Some of the combinations the kids can come up with are priceless.

  11. Aimee

    I’m pondering which is worse: melty sugar dinosaur eggs in oatmeal, or gummi bears on a baked potato.

    I think the gummi bears are worse. Sugar has no place on a baked potato.

  12. Kimberly

    Oh man. I really, really wish either you lived here or I lived there so that there could be margaritas for lunch to make up for the other meals today.

    How much do I love the Breakfast Club at Diva Girl’s school? Even more after being reminded that I no longer have to suffer this particular beginning to my days (although I bet our endings are going to be similar, the lack of tofu here notwithstanding.)

  13. becky

    i, too, felt like crawling back into bed this morning. (i still do) let’s blame it on the weather. or the moon.

  14. Katie

    I think once in the last three weeks, I haven’t had any children crying during the “Get Ready for School” routine. It is so painful that I find myself counting the seconds until the bus picks them up. (And then I say a little prayer for my heathens’ teachers.)

  15. Megan

    Oatmeal: My method is to turn this wholesome, healthy breakfast into something utterly and ridiculously delicious and bad for you. But hey! It’s oatmeal! So, we have vanilla-brown sugar oatmeal, we have barrista oatmeal (mmmm…. coffee syrups…) and when we’re feeling truly decadent, we have chocolate oatmeal done with cocoa powder and sugar. Strange how my Children are fond of oatmeal… stranger that I still feel I’m feeding them healthy food!

    Mornings: Mornings are vile, and one of the few benefits of being a single mom of teenagers is that I can roust them from bed (still takes three goes) and leave them still slug-like on the furniture while I sail out to work. They have only called the office three times this year to tattle. Little insects.

  16. Stephanie Chance

    Wow! That baked potato thing sounds great! Last night we had make your own quesadillas. With the $15 quesadilla maker (Thanks again, Mir!).

    Isn’t it so hard not to laugh when they are being indignant? The other night I FORCED Vi to pick up the TON of stuffed animals that she had left in MY bedroom. While she was walking the two feet back and forth from my room to her room, crying and whining the entire time, I lay on the bed and read. She hollered, “No fair! You get to lay down while I have to pick up!” I had to cover my face with the book to hide my laughter. I asked her, “Do you think it would be fair if I had to pick up the toys that YOU brought in here?” She didn’t answer. I didn’t even mention the times she gets to sit on the couch and watch TV while I clean the rest of the house.

    Our mornings are rough, too. Mostly because mama’s lazy and likes to sleep late. Ahem. I had to make a rule that if she did not get up right away and get dressed when I asked her to, if she wasn’t dressed when I was ready to leave, I would put her in the car in her pajamas and make her go to school that way, with her regular clothes in her bag to change into when she could get to the bathroom. Thank God we haven’t had to do that yet. I think I would die of embarrassment more than she would. Other things to motivate her are no computer or TV time when we get home and no bedtime stories (which I would never enforce, but she doesn’t know that – maybe I would just cut the number down from the ten million we usually read to about five or so). And if it gets really bad, I threaten to not read to her class which I try to do every few months or so. And of course, every morning, I get, “You’re mean!” If I didn’t hear that, I guess I wouldn’t know that I was doing a good job.

  17. RuthWells

    I keep a little jar of cinnamon sugar — heavier on the cinnamon than the sugar — in the cabinet for emergencies just as these. Cinnamon sugar sprinkled on buttered toast, French toast, or oatmeal makes morning go a little easier in our house!

  18. Matty the Stranger

    Thanks again, Mir… laughter to start my day at the expense of the start of your day… not sure if that’s fair but, I’m luving you for it!

    My son, Fish, is 5 and now lives w/ his mom on the other side of town… I cherish the mornings every other weekend when I get to take him to Denny’s or Micky D’s and get him whatever he wants!!!

    Blessings to you and yours.


  19. Cele

    Heck you could have threatened them with the oatmeal my mother use to makes us EVERY FRIGGIN’ MORNING. A cup of cold oatmeal poking up through a lake of ice cold milk, and encrusted with a snow storm of hardened sugar. Ummmm, oh yum.

    I do like the crap in the little packets though. Okay back to my brown rice and raisins.

  20. Kendra

    Sounds like my house, but you’re a much funnier reporter. And you didn’t have a discussion with a teenage girl about what does and does not constitute ‘skanky’ in the underwear dept. I feel your pain. Would love to crawl back in bed, OH! except for the dentist (me) and the laundry…and the joys of coaching a 5 yo. soccer team to the agony of defeat each week.

    Wanna trade?

  21. Heidi

    Oh dear, had I read this post first, I would have held off emailing you my Oh Mama! bar review. *I* like tofu! (And again, I’m not saying that to suck up.)

  22. Heidi

    Oh, and have you considered giving them shots of espresso in the morning? I didn’t think so.

  23. julie

    Just to chime in on oatmeal variations, I personally don’t like the stuff. So after making my 2 yo a fairly healthy version (regular oats, milk, raisins, brown sugar–microwave 2 min, add apple butter, stir and serve) I take the leftovers and drop a mini hershey’s bar and a big scoop of carmel apple dip in and stir until melted through. It’s like a cookie that you don’t even have to chew.

    And I still convince myself it’s healthy. Oats, milk, raisins, homemade apple butter…all good, right?

  24. Susan

    You want a little fabulous… is that so wrong?!

    Oh, wait. Sorry. High School Musical 2 Flashback. Or would that be considered HSM2 post traumatic stress? Either way.

  25. JayMonster

    I have played the same game with my daughter, reminding her how she always *loved* that food before (when she was in a highchair)… unfortunately my results are identical to yours, except my daughter has an automatic gag reflex, so anything she doesn’t like causes VOMIT! (Double the pleasure).

    On the other side of the coin, TOFU is NASTY stuff, and would probably make me gag! (Sorry)

    (And thanks to Susan for posting the HSM2 “joke” that I would have otherwise probably posted.)

  26. mbbored

    For the tofu, you can treat it 2 different ways. You can add a little bit of turmeric, crumble it up, then sautee it separately, and it will look and taste like scrambled egg when you add it back to your already cooked veggies.

    Or, you can slice it then, and let it cook for 3 minutes & get all browned before flipping it and cooking the other side. Once again, set aside, then stir in when your veggies are cooked.

  27. Niki

    The word I hate to hear at any meal is “nasty”. As in, “I can’t eat this, it’s nasty.” Now, I don’t serve nasty food – to me nasty means germy and gross and greasy. Yet I hear it frequently.

    The other thing that kills me is our current exchange student – when I asked her what she would eat, she said “anything but waffles”. Apparently at her former host home, they fed the kids frozen waffles. Every day. For a year. I can understand. Yet, this same child eats Pop Tarts. Every day. And can’t explain the difference to me.

  28. udge

    They will love tofu if you tell them it’s chicken (or whatever they will eat). Just remember to dispose of the packaging.

  29. Ari

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that had a morning featuring the Fit Over Getting Up, the Fit Over Breakfast, the Fit Over Getting Dressed, and the Fit Over Getting in the Car. What hacks me off is when said children get back in the car at the end of the day, they’ve had a GREAT DAY while I’ve been sulking over how much they are oppressed by their mother (meaning me).

  30. Heather Cook

    Oh my son eats those Dino egg oatmeal packets too. I hide them in the back of the cupboard. Usually I make many, many pancakes and then put them in a container in the fridge so we can reheat one every morning.

  31. Daisy

    Ah, the typoed password panic. I did that last week — at work!! Helpdesk knows me by name. Most of the time, they like me. Last week, I’m sure they didn’t think I was very competent.

  32. Cera

    Robby eats dino eggs oatmeal every morning. ” Look, MOM, they’re PATCHING! ” And he eats chicken nuggets almost every day. But he’s eating… and thats good enough these days!

  33. Rhonda

    Mothers of Young Children! Listen to one who has raised two picky eater sons, now 33 and 29 years old. Feeding them melting dinosaur eggs, sugar coated oatmeal or flies, will not hinder their growth. Eating breakfast alone is now my norm. Reading all your posts is a wonderful memory jogger. Now my sons are trying to get their children to eat. It’s so funny watching them. And when the grandchildren come here for a sleep over, we make a HUGE mess the next morning making ho-made biscuits. What great fun. And then they go home.

  34. nan

    You can mash tofu and hide it in (meat or veg) lasagne, and no-one will ever know! Put it in the cheesy layer.

  35. Therese

    You could send them to boot camp. My 18-year-old son just returned, and you wouldn’t believe the things he eats now that he would have never touched before. He actually eats plain oatmeal for breakfast with a little honey in it. He wouldn’t even eat breakfast before he left!

  36. Lou

    Just lie and say its a different kind of chicken.

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