Yet another sinister plot

By Mir
December 1, 2008

A friend emailed me this morning and basically said that if I was still sick, I should just forget about blogging today and rest, instead. I would love to do that, but I’m at sort of a critical juncture, here. While I’m not entirely well, I’m not sick enough to justify taking the day off of work. (Not that writing HERE is work, but I do have those dozen other work-type places that sort of expect me to make with the words by deadline, and all of that.)

I’m whiny and achy and snotty, but bailing on work would push me over into hypochondriac territory, I think. Alas. I prefer not to do that unless I’ve self-diagnosed myself with Ebola or something.

Besides, I made the kids go to school. Gotta practice what I preach, or something. Damn motherhood. Always screwing up my day with responsibilities and expectations. Sheesh. And I have a reputation to uphold, you know. It’s hard work being the Meanest Mom Ever.

So, I spent the weekend cooking, doing dishes, and not showering. (Those first two items are related; the last one is not.) Again, being sick-but-not-so-sick meant that I didn’t have much energy, but I couldn’t really opt out from life entirely. So despite my weakened state (see? I’m so close to the “Dying Swan” line, already), I had to deal with all of the leftover Thanksgiving food. Which of course meant making MORE food, because I wanted to make stock so that I could make soup.

[Also, every post-Thanksgiving meal of leftovers means removing eighteen different containers from the fridge to fix everyone’s plates, which—in my humble opinion—really violates the unspoken agreement I have with leftovers that they be EASY. It’s not a simple meal when I have to turn to three people in turn to say, “Turkey? Sweet potatoes? Mashed potatoes? Green beans? Stuffing? Mac and cheese? Cranberry sauce? Want a roll? Why aren’t you fixing your own plate??”]

On top of all of this, I had some snack mixes I needed to test out for Cool Mom Picks, so despite the excess of food and the soup-making and everything, I also needed to BAKE. Of course.

This meant that last night’s dinner was soup (this one for us carnivores—which you should go make RIGHT NOW because it rocks mightily—and some veggie broth with multigrain noodles for my darling herbivore), and there were also fresh brownies available for dessert.

Now, the thing is, I am not a big believer in regular desserts. This is because I have no self-control and having dessert all the time would mean I’d be a lot fatter. Er, I mean, this is because I believe in dessert being an occasional treat because healthy food is its own reward! Yeah, that’s it. Anyway. Having dessert is unusual for us.

I ladled out huge bowls of soup for Otto, Chickadee, and myself. I then served Monkey his soup in a mug—just half a ladle, not even half a mug’s full. I did this because I KNOW HIM and I really dislike throwing away perfectly good food.

“Just taste it,” I urged him, as I sat down. “I didn’t give you very much, but I REALLY think you’ll like it, honey,” (this was a lie; I strongly suspected he would NOT like it, on account of the different foods were actually TOUCHING) “because it has only things you like in it! Turkey, sweet potatoes, black beans—you like all those things!”

And then Chickadee said something like, “I bet you won’t eat it,” and so of course they had to “bet” and then he took a giant spoonful and declared it delicious, much to everyone’s shock and amazement.

It was then that Chickadee asked if they could have brownies for dessert, and I said the dreaded words: “Sure, as long as you eat your dinner.”

Now, see, I don’t want to be dangling chocolate in front of the children to get them to eat their dinner, either, but if you want chocolate, you do have to eat something else first. That’s just how it is.

But that’s where the trouble started. Because, you see, Monkey is a big fat liar. He hadn’t found the soup delicious at all (not with all of those foods TOUCHING, sheesh), but was just hoping to win his bet with his sister. So dinner progressed and he picked at the rest of his three ounces of soup and finally declared that he was full. Meanwhile, his sister slurped down her broth and noodles and asked for brownies, and I said okay. And I excused Monkey from the table.

And then he gave me the SAD, SAD URCHIN look. And I squashed his will by informing him that he would not be having a brownie because he didn’t eat his dinner.

Because I am A MONSTER.

This evoked from my darling boy a long diatribe about how I ONLY make dessert on a night when he doesn’t like what we’re having for dinner, and I must PLAN it that way. Furthermore, he was NOT full, he was just trying to be POLITE because really he didn’t LIKE the soup, and I KNEW he wouldn’t like it and I made it ANYWAY and then I made BROWNIES just so that he would be REALLY SAD because not only wouldn’t he like the soup, he’d also be stripped of his right to dessert. ON PURPOSE.

The three of us beheld this little outburst and glanced around the kitchen, trying very hard not to make eye contact with one another, because it was quite pitiful but also really funny. And part of me wanted to cave—particularly as the mix I was testing is high in protein and really, really healthy for a brownie—but it’s in my contract that I have to stick to my guns on these things. So I hugged him and told him I was sorry he was disappointed, but that you don’t have brownies when you don’t eat your dinner. And I promised to put a brownie in his lunchbox today, but he pushed away from me and stomped upstairs.

Later, he got on the phone with his father and told HIM all about how I specifically plan disgusting food on the nights when there’s dessert, just so that he can’t have any. Hopefully his dad promised to bring him an entire suitcase full of brownies, on his next trip. You know, to make up for how evil I am.

Apparently my plot isn’t working ALL that well, though, because Monkey was perfectly cheerful this morning and gave me a big hug when he saw the brownie in his lunchbox. Clearly I need to work harder at breaking his spirit. (Where’s my “The beatings will continue until morale improves” sign…?)


  1. Aimee

    Heh… the story of Monkey and the uneaten soup reminds me of “All of a Kind Family,” which I loved when I was a kid. Poor Sarah had to eat that rice soup for breakfast the next day! Maybe that’s the way to break his spirit?

  2. Megan

    I watched a cousin once dramatically announce to his mum that, knowing full well he had a cold sore, she had made enchiladas that night JUST TO MAKE HIM MAD. That phrase has naturally become a family favorite.

    You just reminded me that I can’t nominate my mother for Teh Meanestest Ever award because although we were subjected to some truly bizarre food experiments through the week (and no dessert for bribing purposes), on Sundays she declared herself all cooked out and we had our traditional Sunday dinner: 1 ginormous family bowl of popcorn (cooked on the stove in a massive kettle), apple slices, cheese and… amazingly… dessert. Granted, it was always made with whole wheat which makes for some rather leaden pastry, and there was a year or so when Sugar Was Evil so everything was made with honey (very, very strongly flavored honey – and did you know that crystallized honey makes whipped cream deflate? I do, oh boy do I) but it was dessert with no hidden lima beans, liver or mop-like spinach! It was the best thing about Sunday by far.

  3. Megan

    Oh! And Aimee – you know All of a Kind Family! I did hunt-the-button dusting as a child. Did you read the rest of the series? Man… loved those books and no one else knows them.

  4. Dave

    When I was Monkey’s age, my folks used to tell me I would find my [mushy peas|squash|broccoli] under my pillow if I didn’t eat them. It never happened.

    You see, they also told me I couldn’t leave the table until I had cleaned my plate. But eventually they would get bored waiting, and move me and my plate to the desk in the playroom, so they could clear the rest of the dishes and start washing up.

    I would drop my peas down the inkwell and declare myself done. It took a while for them to figure out where the smell was coming from.

  5. Nicki

    Aimee – I also know that book and loved it. My mom passed it on to me as it was her favorite book when she was little. I have never heard anyone else reference it…

  6. pam

    That kid has ‘actooooor’ written all over his future.

  7. Jessica

    I love All of a Kind Family – read the whole series many times as a kid. Remember when they shopped from the peddlers and got a pickle and a sweet potato?

    Anyway, I thought I was the meanest mom in the world – didn’t know I was being challenged.

  8. Kemi

    Okay, first of all, “All of a Kind Family” ROCKS! I didn’t know anyone even remembered those books! I read them over and over again when I was a kid.

    Second, Mir, I hear you about the leftovers. Mine are still sitting in the fridge because I am too lazy to pull them all out unless it’s one big meal and we’re all eating the same thing. (Hello, tonight’s dinner.)

    Thanks for the soup recipe! :)

  9. hollygee

    Yes! All-of-a-kind Family was/is wonderful. I was a teenager and I discovered them when I was sneaking back into the children’s section for comfort reading when I couldn’t find anything in YA.

    There is only the two of us, so leftovers are getting wrapped and frozen for future dinner cycles.

  10. Kalyn

    I’m glad the more mature family members liked the soup. I’m not too surprised to hear it’s not that kid friendly. Good job on sticking to your guns though. This parenting stuff is hard work!

  11. Karen

    You meanie! I can’t believe you made “foods touching each other” soup and brownies on the SAME DAY! How cruel you are to that boy.

  12. exile on mom street

    Yep. Meanest.Mother.Ever.

    BTW I tried to insist on those divided plates as a child so that my foods wouldn’t touch. My mother said “no way”, so actually SHE is probably the Meanest, in retrospect…

  13. MomCat

    You evil woman, you…deliberately planning those healthy meals.

    P.S. If you figure out a way to make soup and keep all the ingredients from touching, please let us know.

  14. Sheila

    I actually threatened to serve next year’s Thanksgiving dinner on those styrofoam plates with sections, as my little darlings were complaining of the food co-mingling on their plates. The very plates that they themselves heaped to the brim. Sigh.

  15. Barbara

    I learned a new word recently:
    bleg = begging via a blog post.

    You can stop blegging, Mir. Go on over to my site and pick-up a “Baddest Mommy Blogging Award” if it will make you feel better. You deserve it. Bad is the new good, and mean is the new bad. And, and, hope you feel better soon. Thanks for coming to work for us today. Really. Your stories always make us feel better. About ourselves. ‘Cause we are (mostly) just like you. You’re welcome!

  16. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh, the dessert turnstile. We’re stuck on it for dinner AND lunch. And I don’t know how to get off!

  17. Headless Mom

    Heehee. Are you sure Monkey isn’t my 9yo? Are they long lost twins? Only difference is that mine has gotten to the point that he will finish just about anything to get dessert.

  18. kd@abitsquirrelly

    Hubby and I cannot look at each other when we discipline the kids and they pout because we totally bust up. Could be why our children are hellions.

  19. ~annie

    I guess I should count myself lucky that my daughter merely proclaimed “You have the weirdest parenting skills ever!” instead of calling me mean?

  20. Em

    My kids have figured out the catch 22. My rules are, eat until you aren’t hungry anymore (to hopefully teach them to learn their body cues about when to stop eating. Of course, first I need to get them to start). And you can’t sweets until you have eaten something healthy (i.e. dinner). They fully expect me to make them eat more dinner if they aren’t full, not dessert. So when I ask them if they are still hungry, they usually answer that they are full for dinner but not full for dessert.

    Love the idea that you plan meals around what dessert Monkey would love to couple it with what dinner he will hate. You are an evil genius with much time on your hands. What misery shall you offer tomorrow?

  21. Ann

    I want to know how you got turkey soup past the little vegetarian! I was all ready for you to describe two dinner time battles and more brownies for you and Otto to eat.

    By the way, whenever I was accused by one of my children of being the meanest mother ever, I always replied “On the day we went home from the hospital after you were born, the nurse placed you in my arms, looked me in the eye, and told me that I had to try to be the meanest mother ever”. They never questioned it…

  22. jen

    I LOVE the All of a Kind Family series! I read them as a kid, fell in love, forgot the titles, and found them again last summer. And fell in love again. I’ve often thought about that rice soup scene when feeding my hellions…erm…cherubs. LOL I finally laid down the law that there will be no more desserts or treats after meals because it had become such a bargaining chip and I.was.done. Eat if you’re hungry. Or not. Please pass the Meanest Mommy Award. ;)

  23. Katie in MA

    How funny would it have been if you had packed the brownie with a thermos of soup? Anyone? Anyone? Okay, maybe it’s just my wacky sense of humor.

  24. Aimee

    Wow — I threw that All of a Kind Family reference out there thinking NOBODY would get it! How cool… yes, Meghan, I read the whole series over and over again. I absolutely loved those books, and would love to reread them as an adult. I can’t remember who mentioned it above, but I always loved that pickle and sweet potato thing; and the other story that I loved for some reason was the one where Henny “borrowed” Ella’s dress and stained it, and had to dye it with tea.

  25. Mrs Marcos

    Re: Ebola

    Funny story! A couple of years ago I was really sick with head cold symptoms that would not quit. I made the announcement to my husband that I was sure I was suffering from Ebola! (I am not a hypochondriac or overly dramatic!)

    Fast forward to the next week when I’m feeling healthy and Mr Marcos is feeling the symptoms so he goes to the doctor while I’m at work. He calls from the clinic and says “Honey, didn’t you say you had Ebola last week?!?!”

    In the background I can hear our doctor cracking up laughing at him. I knew what had happened as soon as I heard her laughing and after dying inside asked him “You didn’t tell her we had Ebola did you?!?!?!”

    Of course he had told her that we had Ebola. So. Awesome. She told him “IF I really thought you had Ebola I would have fled the exam room as soon as the word left your mouth!”

    Apparently he’d never heard of the horrible disease that is Ebola. He knows now.

  26. JennyM

    You know how I know our family has no more kids left? Leftovers were “Thanksgiving-in-a-bowl” this year.

  27. Meg

    LOL!! You are SO MEAN!!! I just wrote a post about my own Meanest Mommy in the World experience today, too. Must be something in the turkey flavored air!

  28. Katherine

    I’m definitely a meanest mommy. I most certainly plan extra good desserts on days we are having stuff my picky eater doesn’t like. He hates it! Some days it gets him to eat his tiny portion, some days he goes hungry.

    Oh, and the All of a Kind Family books – my kids loved them. We listened to the first one on a long car trip and then my older son found and read the rest of the series.

  29. Hecticmom

    Wait – were you describing my kid? My daughter – will eat ANYTHING (and ALWAYS gets the snack). My son – will eat nothing (except McDonald’s chicken nuggets) and thinks it’s a terrible plot against him as well.

  30. Shannon

    Hmm, I think I was a bit like Monkey as a child. I mean, I don’t think I would eat that soup as an adult (yeah, yeah, picky). And it’s not really fair that Chickadee got to have something special for her that she knew she’d like, kwim? Picky eaters unite! Haha. At least he got the brownie for lunch.

  31. mama speak

    On the rare, rare occasion my children seem to really dislike their dinner, but seem genuinely hungry, I may offer up some cheese as a desert (European style). But that’s a rare day; my kids cheer at the sight of beets, broccoli & brussel sprouts, I kid you not.

  32. sheila

    I went to the same school of mommy meanness! lol. Hang tight there sistah! (and btw, my son loves bologna and bread, but won’t eat them as a sandwich. ? touching, touching!) lol

  33. Neda Ann

    Oh no, I have you beat. At my DD’s birthday party on the 23rd I wouldn’t let her have a piece of her own birthday cake, because she refused to eat anything but chips off the plate of food she specifically asked me to prepare for her birthday because “They are my favorites.” I’m sorry but chips & cake do not a meal make in my house. Her great-grandmother even brought it up at Thanksgiving. Apparently I am the ultimate evil mother.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest