Dueling spoons

By Mir
June 11, 2008

So, the night before the kids left this last time, we decided to make it a really special evening for them before they went. We took them to a strip club and got them all liquored up and gave them each a cigar and a fistful of dollar bills.

Oh, wait. Wrong night. That was something else. My bad!

Okay, so, we basically said to them “Whatever you want to do tonight, let’s do that. You two get to pick!” That is—as any parent knows—a recipe for total disaster under the best of circumstances, anyway. But we are very slow learners ’round here.

If you don’t understand why our offer to them was a problem, you clearly either A) don’t have kids or B) have just one kid. You cannot possibly ask TWO children to AGREE on a special activity. It’s sort of like asking the surface of the sun to be just a little icy, please, just this once.

With a little bit of guided direction (“Here, let me help: We’re going to GO OUT TO DINNER! Yay! Now you two decide where you want to go!”) there was bickering and tears in no time at all. I just love offering to do something fun with my children. It makes motherhood SO WORTHWHILE AND REWARDING.

The crux of the problem was this: Monkey is more than happy to go get a soggy sandwich at Arby’s and call it a fine dining experience, whereas Chickadee’s taste is more refined. Also, Chickadee is in one of those phases where she feels a deep-seated need to be different. (Don’t worry, it’s just a phase! I mean, it’s been going for about 10 years, so far, but I’m sure she’ll outgrow it VERY SOON!) She asked everyone what THEY wanted and them commenced pouting because none of the options were what SHE wanted.

After some negotiation from a trained peacekeeper (Otto has many talents, y’all), a restaurant was selected.

Keep in mind that last Friday it was approximately 95 degrees at 6:00 in the evening… yet Chickadee traipsed out the door with a SWEATSHIRT on.

“What on EARTH are you wearing THAT for?” I asked her. “It’s a billion degrees outside!”

She scowled at me. “It might be cold INSIDE,” she said, in her special “You are the dumbest person alive” tone of voice. I had to concede her point, but I still kept turning around in the car to make sure she hadn’t suffered heat stroke on the ride over. About halfway there, she took the sweatshirt off.

We arrived and sat down and the kids colored and we all chatted and the food came and there was much rejoicing. Well, there was some rejoicing. Then there was whining, because GUESS WHAT! Chickadee was too cold. She was SO cold. She was FREEZING cold. She was LOOK AT THE HAIRS ON MY ARM STANDING UP cold.

No one was allowed to enjoy their food while she was cold, you understand.

“Where. Is. Your. Sweatshirt?” I asked her, through clenched teeth.

“I left it in the car,” she cried. Of course.

Finally I asked Otto for the keys and went out and got her the damn sweatshirt, and when I came back she pulled it on and hugged me and told me I was the greatest mother ever in the history of mothers, and I have to agree, seeing as how I didn’t drown her in my salad bowl after all of that.

Monkey—always the slowest eater of us all—was still working on his french fries long after we three were done. And then he proceeded to dole out fries to the rest of us while he chomped. None of us really needed any fries, but by tacit agreement we all kept accepting them because we knew this meant he might finish sooner.

Anyway, the rest of the meal was uneventful. Pleasant, even. SO pleasant, in fact, that by the time the waitress came to ask if we needed any dessert, I pointed to some molten chocolate cake and ice cream concoction on the menu and said “I think we need one of those. And four spoons.”

You would’ve thought I’d just declared it International Run Around Naked and Screaming While Drinking Root Beer Day, it was THAT EXCITING. The children positively vibrated in their seats with anticipation. And when our waitress returned and set down this enormous plate of dessert, I realized that they weren’t so much VIBRATING as they were REVVING UP.

People, I have known my kids a very long time. Ten and eight-and-a-half years, in fact. A LONG TIME. And you have to believe me when I say I have NEVER seen ANYTHING like what I witnessed on Friday night.

There are starving wolverines who have partaken of sustenance more daintily than what my children did to that dessert.

Monkey stabbed his spoon in with speed and enthusiasm, breaking off giant chunks of cake which required a three-finger assist from the other hand, once delivered to his mouth, to cram past his teeth. Chickadee ate all of the whipped cream in two heaping, frothy bites, then moved on to shoveling the ice cream into her gaping maw as quickly as the descending brain freeze would allow.

Otto and I each got about two mouthfuls, which would’ve been more troublesome if we hadn’t been so busy laughing ourselves silly over the children’s grim determination to inhale it all.

By the time it was gone, I was convinced that it was the best $4.95 I’d ever spent. You can’t get a show like that just anywhere.

That’s the sort of thing the kids will forget; it’s the sort of thing even I would forget, if I didn’t have a place to write it down. But it’s also the sort of snapshot of their youth I want to hold on to, because it’s so THEM and also because I am quite certain that their prom dates will really enjoy hearing all about it.

I guess it’s true—I really AM the greatest mother in the world.


  1. Megan

    Of course you are! And you’re right, prom dates will totally enjoy hearing about it. Fortunately you have several years to embellish it a little because it always helps to have a long, humiliating story just before an important night out (note: care must be taken. Some children – say, mine – will throw themselves into the story-telling with relish and will thus take all the blackmail possibilities out of it). Also? Chickadee is developing a fine sense of personal preservation. In a few years it will probably begin to kick in BEFORE the urge to kill rises (not that my personal button pusher has figured this out 100%…).

  2. Sully Sullivan

    Yeah I was a weird kid. Never was really a fan of cake or pastries. I was more of a chips, popcorn, nachos kid. Often my dessert would be the small order of nachos. I don’t have kids yet, but I can imagine how crazy having a boy and girl decide on anything would be.

    I’ve bookmarked your blog. If you need a laugh, swing by my pop culture comedy blog. have a good one.

  3. Marue

    Molten chocolate cake – let me guess – Chili’s.

    It’s the only place my 17 yr old, sweatshirt toting in 100 degree weather, daughter will “gladly” eat at.

    It’s getting better though. And here I thought I was the only one dealing with that.

  4. dad

    But of course you are!
    And pretty too.

  5. Aimee

    Heh. I’d pay to see video of that.

  6. Melisa

    Yeah, 13 and 7 had this same disagreement last week. Out of pure frustration, I rescinded the offer and we ate at home. Serves them right.

  7. Sue

    I let my kids choose any restaurant as long as it serves alcohol. I actually ordered a glass of Chardonnay at Friendly’s, and that was my last visit there. Ever.

  8. mommytherobot

    oh i’ve got one slow eater too! it takes her 2 hours to finish lunch!!!! and she’s 2.5 yo w all her teeth! but give her a bag of candy she will finish it off in 5 minutes. thats why when we got to restaurants we make sure she eats a bit at home so if she can only get to the fries, and we have to go, then at least i know she ate enough.

  9. Brian

    Of Course. Chili’s Molten Chocolate Cake is the best desert EVER!

  10. Mir

    Pssst… we weren’t at Chili’s. I think that’s just a very common dessert now. ;)

  11. barb

    My boys refer to that dessert as the “Chocolate Volcano” and every time we pass a Chili’s I start to hear how much they neeeeeeeed it and they are soooooooo huuuuuunnnnngggrrryyyy (even if we just left another eating establishment where they were much too full to finish their meals).

  12. All Adither

    Molten chocolate cake or Death by Chocolate. I think every single place on earth has one of those now.

  13. Undomestic Diva

    I want to swim in a sea of molten chocolate. Naked.

  14. laurie

    I gots one word: chocolate.

  15. suburbancorrespondent

    That daughter of yours is a piece of work. Not that I should talk…Good luck!

  16. Kris

    Damn! You mean I missed “International Run Around Naked and Screaming While Drinking Root Beer Day”???

  17. LiteralDan

    Mmmmm… cake and ice cream…

  18. Melissa

    Now I’m all hungry.
    You are doing a wonderful thing writing all of this down for them. Not to mention the future embarassment possiblities!

  19. Vane

    Hmmm … chocolate cake … yum!!

  20. Jamie AZ

    What a fun show! And what is it with kids who eat so slow?! My four year old is the same way. We aren’t fast eaters by any means, but he is super slow with meals.

  21. Em

    I think that is exactly the type of thing they DO remember (maybe because you don’t get a giant dessert every time you go). Remember that time Mom and Otto got us a great big dessert and spoons to share and we inhaled the whole thing? Remember their FACES??? I can picture a couple of twenty somethings sitting around after a nice Mother’s Day brunch tossing around those kind of memories. Hopefully what they will forget is the bickering ahead of time. All that will be left of the bickering is that weird twitch that their mother developed.

  22. Tara

    You are the greatest! Yay! Taking two kids out to dinner and getting them to agree on the restaurant, well, that was an amazing feat and then you even let them get dessert! Wow.

    Oh and by the way, what you just described is how my husband eats dessert when we go out every time (if we order it). We have to get two desserts because I like to actually taste my food! Also, I like to have more than one bite.

  23. Stephanie

    Two kids who can’t agree? Try one kid who’s constantly bemoaning the fact that they’re an only child and kids with a brother or sister are SOOOOOOO lucky because *they* have someone to play with ALLLLLLLLL the time. :-P

    Confucius say – there is no such thing as the perfect number of children. ;-)

    I’m enjoying the mental image of the kids digging into their dessert. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bottle up those moments to take out again, some day? (now, I’m getting all teary-eyed…they just grow up TOO fast!)

  24. Daisy

    Two who can’t agree? I understand completely! Now that they’re 16 and 21, I take them out separately whenever possible. The shocker comes when they decide to go out, just the two of them, together, without mom and dad. And they agree on it!

  25. Jen

    Awesome post. I love how you said it was the type of thing you would forget if not for having this place to write it down. That’s exactly how I feel when I blog sometimes too.


  26. Asianmommy

    Mmmm…Molten chocolate cake? I would’ve gobbled that up, too!

  27. Mother of Two


    I have a 12 year old (I would swear she’s anorexic)sweatshirt totin’ girl – who by the way doesn’t like Chocolate (whatever) and an 8 year old boy who inhales all food…

    I have experienced EXACTLY what you’re talking about… to the Letter… and then you have to add in the 285lb. hubby and myself… we don’t sit and laugh… it is all out WAR to see who inhales the most cake and ice cream. You would think we were all raised in a barn with all the clinking of spoons… and then…
    It’s over… just like that… (sigh)

    Can’t have it now… On Stupid Diet!

    Thanks for the reminder of the memory though. =)

  28. Pop C

    Reminds me of the time we went to dinner with our oldest son, his wife, and their two daughters. We had not observed their custom of ordering one dessert to share. It was much as you describe it. I blinked after the first bite and when I opened my eyes it was GONE. The daughters are 16 and 18 now, but it wasn’t that long ago.

  29. Flea

    Mmm. I want chocolate.

    So how large is that World’s Best Mother award? I’ll never see one in real life, so take a picture for us! :D

  30. Tammy

    I’m with Kris…where’s my memo about Naked Rootbeer Day??

  31. Astrogirl426

    Wait a minute – wouldn’t all the running around whilst the drinking of the root beer result in spilling of said root beer all over said naked persons?

    If the hubs could read this now, he’d likely have an annoying smirk on his face and say something like, “Now that sounds like a holiday I can get behind!”. Yeh, we’re soph-i-sti-kated ’round these parts.

    You’ve discovered my dirty little secret – sometimes, when I’m feeling all generous and such, I let the Boy partake of amazingly bad-for-him desserts, just to see the joy on his face when “Mamma said yes!”. You’d think I’d discovered the cure for cancer. Today I let him have two (two! Before dinner! Oh, the anarchy!) ice cream cups, to celebrate the DSL being fixed (that is so a holiday!).

  32. Lindsay

    I don’t care to share dessert with anyone because I can’t savour it because while I am savouring, the one I am sharing with is probably devouring it! It makes for a very aggressive dessert experience. Wonder if C and M were feeling some of that.

    Also I have never heard of Molten Chocolate, and when someone said everywhere on earth has it now it further ingrained in me that I live in the middle of nowhere.

  33. that girl

    My older two can never make a decision/agree and then when we get where we’re going, they byotch about it the whole time.

    You can be the best mom in the world, I’m out!

  34. Firefly Mom

    See, if you *really* want to get some good blackmail material you’re gonna have to start packing a camera around. It’s how I obtained photos of my son in a red velvet dress (granted he was 2 1/2, but it will still be used against him at some later date)! Of course, you don’t want to let your kids get any photos of you :D

  35. Almond

    Yes it’s 3:34am in the morning, the 3 year old is up playing (I have no idea why), and you made me laugh til my sides hurt. Now I don’t have to kill him. Thank you.

  36. Yvie

    *smiles gleefully* And in case you need some blackmailing, this is also a great story for the prom dates to hear.

    But anyway, :) This made me smile. That moment is crazy and priceless. Being with the kids is unpredictable. I still have one with me, but I don’t know how it’s gonna be like when we have two. :)

  37. bronnie

    OMG. I’m so going to try the dessert option. Hubby and I can’t eat dessert anyway – he’s diabetic, I’m dieting – and my kids are the slowest eaters ever. For once, sibling rivalry will work for good and not evil.

  38. Jenny

    sounds yummy!

  39. Jen

    And all I can think is $4.95?? Boy, that’s cheap. You probably wouldn’t even get that for £4.95 here. Now I realise why we don’t go out to eat much. Ever in fact. Unless it’s on expenses…..

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest