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…?)