Indeed we have been having issues surrounding food for the past few days, inspired by the fact that my latest recipes have been complete flops.
And so, last night, after a lengthy lecture to the teenagers about social media and about how anything you spout off casually to your Facebook friends is really like standing up in a room full of your most conservative relatives and swearing at the top of your lungs, I declared that cereal is the single item on the menu for the next few days.
Until, at least, I recover from having my ego kicked around by a few surly teenagers who speak before they think, at least at home.
I made a chicken fried rice recipe last night, the perfect mix of carbs and protein for three growing boys. I hid some mild-mannered peas and corn in it, and I stirred it so well that you couldn’t even tell that I squirted a big dollop of Bragg’s Amino Acids to top it off.
And then I took the least surly teenager to basketball practice only to come home to see that Youngest and Oldest had been climbing in the kitchen, discovering chocolate chips, boxes of cereal and granola bars to sate themselves.
I can imagine Youngest calling Oldest to throw him a line because he was sure treasure was on the uppermost shelf.
Their bowls of chicken fried rice still sat steaming on the dining room table, still beckoning an overly active boy to dive in to obtain the perfect mixture of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
“Oh for Pete’s sake,” I said. (Who says that?) “I went through all that trouble to make you a nice dinner, and this is what I get?”
“Well, it didn’t taste good. We couldn’t eat it.”
“You aren’t hungry enough.”
And so, worn down, my white flag flying high, I trotted off to read my book.
Yes, this episode will backfire, because that is how parenting works. We give in one time and pay the price. It’s a slap in the face to all of us who thought it would be “cute” to have babies with our husbands.
It is cute. Until it’s not.
Until you are at a relatives house and they serve your kid chicken fried rice and your kid says, “I don’t like this. Can I have something else?”
And you will think back to that night that you didn’t feel like fighting about it. The night you didn’t say, “Tough do do– that’s what’s for dinner. Eat it or go to bed hungry!”
Yes, you will pay.
Everyone will look at you and think, “What spoiled kids to be so rude…”
And you will want to offer your explanation:
“Well, you see, MFP was working nights. I was training for a marathon. I was tired. The kids were cranky. My feelings were hurt. I’d made a nice dinner for them! They said they didn’t like it. And I was sort of feeling edgy in a hormonal way, and so I knew it wasn’t the night to be tough mommy, because tough mommy can easily turn into crazy as sh$t mommy during those times of the month. And so I…”
But instead you will say, “Kids these days…”
And the relatives will turn to each other and roll their eyes and think to themselves, “Kids? What about their MOM’s?”
And you will blow it off because these sorts of things happen all the time.
Some call it embarrassment, but if you ask me, these are the moments that keep the world population under control.