My Toddler, Chuck Norris

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I cook almost every night.

Sometimes it’s an escape.  I day-dream that I”m a world-class chef about to serve my love on a plate to some A-list celebs.  They rant and rave about the party in their mouth.

Sometimes it’s a freaking chore and a half because in actuality I’m cooking for a bunch of little boys who would prefer frozen chicken nuggets and Velveeta shells and cheese to any of my homemade delicacies.

Back in our heyday… BC (Before Children), the Hubby and I would dine out quite a bit.  At least 5 nights a week.  It was a complete and total waste of money but in BC world, money didn’t matter.  We worked, we ate, we drank.  I vividly remember leaving my job (where I got to wear pencil skits, fitted button down shirts and heels) and going to a bar… ALONE… and indulging in many dirty martinis.  BC was the shit.

Fast forward to now… AD (After Delivery), and dining out is a novelty.  And with 3 kids you have to be prepared that their behavior will quickly go to shit and you won’t even get to eat.  That’s happened on numerous occasions.  One kid will act up right after we order and we will run from the restaurant, to-go boxes in hand.

Saturday night we went out for dinner with the children.  We had a fantastic time, the food was excellent and they were really well-behaved.  It was bliss and completely out of the norm.

We had leftovers from that dinner which our waiter kindly sent us home with.  I’ve been dreaming about this doggie bag for two damn days!  I couldn’t wait to be able to quietly and without interruption enjoy them for lunch today.

But the best laid plans can always go to shit.

The big kids were at camp, the baby was taking a nap and it was just mommy time.  That in itself should have had me on high alert but I was just so excited for my food.  The microwave beep made my mouth water!  I was super hungry.  I hunkered down with a huge plate of food on the coffee table while I sat down to eat on the couch (a big no-no in front of the kids).  I was watching some amazingly mindless daytime television and had just popped the second bite of food in my mouth when the phone rang.  I absent-mindedly answered it expecting to hear a solicitor on the other end.

It was not a solicitor.

It was camp.

My 3-year-old had been running, slipped, and fell (headfirst) into a metal bleacher.  He was fine, but bleeding and they thought he needed to see a doctor.

I put down my fork, packed up the baby, and rushed off to Middle Monkey with speed and focus that I had forgotten I possessed back in BC.

The fifteen minute drive to camp felt like hours.  It was raining and there was a cop behind me.  Sometimes having a wonderful imagination is a bad, bad thing.  This was one of those times. Visions of my beautiful but precocious child bleeding and crying blurred my vision.  When I finally arrived at camp I didn’t even turn off the car or move the baby, I just threw my car in park, left it running and went to assess the damage.

As I met the camp director at the curb she filled me in…

“He’s doing great.  He’s such a trooper.  The cut looks deep.  We have it under control.  He might need stitches.  He didn’t even CRY.”

Wait? What?

“Yeah, he didn’t even cry.  Not at all. He’s unbelievable.”

{Unbelievable is an understatement}

As I walked into the nurse’s office I found my little man, sipping on a juice box with a big gauze pad taped to his forehead.

“Hi Mom.  I fell.”

I heard buddy.  You okay.

“Yeah, I okay.”

Does your head hurt?

“A little.”

Holy shit.

My kid is Chuck Norris.

This little boy, who cries when he can’t have two packs of fruit snacks… This little shit, who annoys his brother to the ends of the earth, where he is finally forced to use physical violence to subdue him (barely) and then he cries like a hungry infant… This MONSTER, who weeps when I ask him to pick up a book/a toy/a sock, or worse, put down the toilet seat… This terror who sobs when he has to finish his dinner to get desert… doesn’t cry when it’s the real-time for tears?

The time when he could really be hurt and everything should be super scary is the time he has decided to be cool, calm, and collected.

Fuckin’ Chuck Norris.

And he really didn’t cry.

Through 3 hours at the emergency room, through 5 stitches in his forehead (right above his eyebrow) he was the biggest 3-year-old badass I’ve ever seen in my life.

When we arrived back home he ate an ice cream sandwich and fell asleep watching The Lego Movie.

I’m just sitting here watching him sleep and counting my blessings that this was our first trip to the ER with 3 boys and it was only for stitches.

My leftovers can wait until tomorrow.

 

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The Evil Queen, Chicken and Dumplings, and Snow “One More” Bite

The boys started asking for chicken and dumplings two days ago…

Asking?  Not really.  More like begging.

But it’s summer and we’re in Florida.  It’s freaking hotter than Hades up in here.  I was hoping they’d just forget about it.  Nope.  Not that lucky.

I get it… shredded chicken, creamy sauce, yummy dumplings. Amazing. I make a mean Chicken and Dumplings.

So tonight (when they were at soccer practice) I began the process.

It’s not that chicken and dumplings is difficult to execute.  It’s not even that chicken and dumplings is super labor intensive… under normal circumstances.  But I have 3 kids.  And there is nothing normal about having 3 kids and trying to make meals from scratch.

The 9-year-old loves and eats everything.  Always with a please and a thank you.  I would travel the world with Boy Wonder.  And my first stop would be Japan or India.  Boy Wonder would make us proud in any culinary situation.  His love of food is the reason I learned to cook.  And he’s pretty appreciative of my skills.

The Middle Monkey isn’t a fantastic eater.  Compared to other kids his age he eats wonderfully… but by our family standards?  He’s a shitty eater.  Unless he wants to eat…  and since he’s been asking for chicken and dumplings for days I thought this was a no brainer.  But now… now??  Not so much.  I get it.  He’s 3.   It’s all about power and control when you’re 3.  3 year old’s are like mini Napoleon.

We are all almost done with dinner and of course, Middle Monkey is starting his normal shit “I don’t like chicken.  I don’t want this bite.  I don’t like vegetables.”  It’s enough to make a sane man crazy.

My poor Hubby.  He is the sane man.  He’s rational, he’s all heart and he loves his family.  And while he’s sitting next to Middle Monkey saying “Have two more bites and then one more bite.”  This is our normal coercion eating tactic with this child.  I’m in the kitchen doing the dishes (already fed up) saying

“Just have him eat.  Stop spooning it for him… Jeez.  If he doesn’t want it that’s fine.  No desert then.” 

I’m not the sane one.  I’ve lost my patience long ago.  I’m the Pink Floyd parent… “If you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding.”

I guess everyone has a breaking point. Cause that’s when Hubby broke.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen him angry..

“I’m tired of you not eating!  I’m tired of Mommy being mad!  You can just go to bed RIGHT NOW!”

And with lighting speed Daddy hauled Middle Monkey off to his room and put him in a time out.  You could hear the 3-year-old scream as he closed the door.

He saw the look of unhappiness on my face right away…

“What? This is ridiculous! You’re right. I get it.”

It’s not about being right. It’s about us not babying him.

“That’s why I finally said screw this.”

I know that babe, but you blamed it on me.

“I what? That’s insane!”

You said, “I’m tired of mommy being mad!”

“Well, I am. And you most definitely are.”

Yes, you are right on that, I am over this dinnertime bullshit dance he does. A dance that we let him do. But one minute you’re helping spoon-feed him and playing Lets Make a Deal, and the next… the next you banish him.

“Jeez, I did do that, didn’t I?”

Yup. So now I’m the Evil Queen and he’s Snow “one more” Bite.

“Good lord… I get it. I’ll go get the prince.”

Fingers crossed that dinnertime goes a bit better tomorrow evening.

The story of Snow White has been retold a million times over.

I’m not really a fan of fairy tales.