Feeding the Beast

I have been remiss in updating you, dear friends. So many apologies…. I have been ill. My parents, who are integral in helping me care for my son, giving me much-needed ‘grown-up’ time, and many other child-rearing facets, have embarked on a well-deserved Mediterranean cruise for the next month…. leaving me sitter-less. Of course, my body decided to get all sick at the same time. I am now well on the road to healing, and am starting to get my energy back.

In my efforts to find the ‘funny moment’ every day, I end up blank at the end of the day. I think I am trying too hard. ONTO THE BLOG POST FOR THE DAY!

My son, all almost-seven-years of him, is a PICKY EATER. There, I finally admitted it. My sweet little adventurous boy, who decidedly loved blue cheese at 6 months, and sushi by age 2, is now insisting…. nay, DEMANDING on only eating things like plain noodles, cheese pizza, plain bread….

Don’t get me wrong, he LOVES fresh fruit, and most vegetables too. But out of the blue, he HATES broccoli and Brussels sprouts (they’ve een his faves since he started solids!). He has never liked mashed potatoes (its a texture thing) and will ONLY touch potatoes if they are French fries or chopped up in canned clam chowder. The only meat he will touch is hot dogs, sliced deli meats, or prepackaged salamis. If I try to give him chicken breast, or pork roast, or beef steak, it must be cut into cubes and provided with BBQ sauce, ketchup, and mustard (BUT NOT TOUCHING).

Cheese pizza is fine, “That’s how it’s supposed to be,” he says. But if I order a pizza with toppings and tell him to pick off what he doesn’t want, I get a writhing, gagging mess of a boy who won’t even stick his finger in the cheese because “it’s grooooossssss.”

Stew is OK as is, “That’s how it’s supposed to be,” but soup has to be separated – broth in one bowl, noodles/meat/vegies/whatever in another. And forget about casseroles… “IT’S ALL TOUCHING!”

I have ripped my hair out trying to change this; I have made him sit at the dining room table “until your plate is clean.” He fell asleep at his place two hours past bedtime. I have told him if he doesn’t eat, he can go to bed hungry…. and he did (talk about a self-inflicted guilt trip). I have tried to make meals of three things he likes and one thing he doesn’t know about yet; he is good enough to have a ‘no-thank-you’ bite, but 99.999% of the time, the nibble leads to a “No, I don’t like it.”

So, for the last year, I have been creating meals around things he does like. Great for him, but BORING for me!

He loves wonderfully odd things, which I also enjoy, like dehydrated seaweed (sushi wrappers called nori), water chestnuts, pine nuts, beets, pickled anything….. oh, and pho… we LOVE pho.

I love things like curries, Asian cooking, French cooking, Cajun cooking… he wont even go NEAR these things.

There are only so many nights I can get by on plain pasta noodles (the spiral shaped three-color kind) next to a side dish of canned corn or green beans (NOT TOUCHING) and some kind of protein… usually with one of the three above-noted sauces. Note: in our house, dousing things in cheesy-sauce or Ranch dressing does nothing except cause a pouty fit at the dining room table.

I long for a night of a massive everything-touching crab boil; or a medium-rare steak with a hint of crushed sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper and NO SAUCE, or even a blindfold-me-and-feed-me-something-new dinner. When can I get THAT, please? PLEASE???

What have you all done for YOUR picky eaters???

None of Your Business!

In case you weren’t aware, I’m a single mom (by choice) with a day job (by necessity). I can’t be everywhere, handling everything, at every possible moment of the day and night. Over the last seven years, since I unceremoniously ditched my cheating husband, I have received a TON of both solicited and unsolicited parenting advice. It comes from everywhere – my parents, other family, friends, and parents of my son’s friends.

Solicited advice, since I ask for it, is usually easier for me to absorb. The unsolicited kind, not so much. Especially when it comes from old spinsters in the family who have never raised kids, or been divorced (or married, for that matter). Um, DON’T tell me how YOU would be raising my kid.

The argument today was over fruit juice. In the kitchen-land of my picky boy, fruit juice is one of the top three beverages in our list. Water, milk, juice. There it is. And although we occasionally have non-juices like Kool-Aid, I generally keep apple juices, grape juices, and other childhood standards available as our go-to fruit choices. Let me get this out of the way: Yes, I am aware of recent scares about arsenic and chemicals and imported concentrates. And yes, I look at sugar content and the ingredient list. That being said, I see no reason to completely abstain from offering this drink to Munchkin.

So, the spinster who literally hates food, says she wishes there was a “pill of nutrients that would make me feel full,” spouts off AGAIN about my poor choice as a mother by allowing my son to have a glass of fruit juice at dinner. I sigh and brush it under the doormat that is my ego.

Then comes the other issues: She is concerned my son will be teased or even bullied because he’s shy. Or because he talks too loud. Or because he doesn’t know how to swim. Or because he can’t ride a bike yet. Or because he’s never had a friend stay the night at our house… or… or… or…. sorry, I tuned out after that.

So, in my defense, I want to explain my reasons why he has not had these milestones yet. Because every bad mother has her excuses….. right?

He is shy. Yes, he is. He is SEVEN. We are in the throes of learning ‘stranger danger.’ So when I take him to the park or the soccer field or the zoo or the fair, NO, he is not going to run right up to the first kid his size and start up a conversation. He’s not going to make best friends with the kids at the park until he knows from me that they are okay. Once he knows someone isn’t a threat, he will gladly tool around with them until it’s time to go home. I was a shy kid too – I think part of it comes from being an only child – but I outgrew it, and I can honestly say I don’t have any memories of being bullied or teased for that reason.

He talks too loud. Yes, he does. Again, he is SEVEN. Once he knows he has an audience, even those new okay friends, he gets excited. He wants to share all this genius thoughts about Indiana Jones having light sabers instead of a whip and why Storm Troopers could save the environment if only Harry Potter would bring them back in time. He’s like a vocal slingshot – the more you tell him to be quiet, the louder he’ll be once he gets a chance to talk.

He doesn’t know how to swim. He has had swim lessons for two summers. My parents live right on a lake. I don’t mean “kinda near” a lake, or “a short walk from” a lake; my parents’ BACKYARD is a lake. And he’s at their house every day, before and after school. I want my son to know how to swim. I didn’t learn until I was 9 years old, and once I got the hang of it, I lived in a pool – I even did synchronized swimming for 6 years. Go figure. His first round of swim lessons was 4 little boys and one teacher, in a giant pool, with other classes going on around them. The boys were sitting on the edge of the pool, and the teacher would go down the line, having them hop off the edge into her arms. She would swish them around, and sit them back on the edge. She got to my son – I was there, watching – and he jumped…. and she looked away. And he went down, down, down. Granted, they were only in about 4.5 feet of water, but it was well over his head. She yanked him up, coughing, blinking, throwing up pool water. Sobbing between sputters, he ran to me and vowed to never return to the pool. That was two summers ago. I made him go to every remaining lesson, made him suit up, but he would sit on the deck,not even letting his toes touch the water. “Mom, I don’t trust her.” he told me. Okay. Okay. Last summer I figured he would at least try again – no dice. I had to suit up and get in the pool too – gladly – and we made some great progress – but he vowed to never be in the water with anyone other than me.

He doesn’t know how to ride his bike. Not entirely my fault. My parents bought him a training wheel bike 3 years ago, for him to ride in their big wide driveway. I got him the helmet, the elbow and kneepads, everything. But then my mom stepped in. She babies him. She made him so afraid of falling off the bike, he wouldn’t ride it. He’d put on the helmet, and all the gear, and go out there, and sit on it, and polish the frame with his sleeve. Or flip it over and spin the tires. But not ride it. He did better with a razor scooter, but not the bike. So Santa brought him a new big-boy bike this year. To OUR house, not my parents’. New helmet and everything. And reflectors. It has not been nice enough weather to get out in the cul-de-sac yet, but we have moved my car out of the double-car carport so he could learn the basics of balance and general steering. He’s getting there. It’s happening. But he’s not good at it yet.

He has not had anyone stay the night yet. True. I am honestly not as involved with the parents of his friends as I would like to be. I just bought my house 18 months ago (it was a foreclosure), and much of my after-work time and weekends are spent doing projects. I mean, I am the only responsible adult homeowner here, someone’s gotta do it. My son will let me know when he wants to have someone over, and depending on the kid, I will probably let him. So neener neener neener.

So I am at the point where I am ready to tell people to MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS.

What do you all do for unsolicited advice??

Calming the Beast

Munchkin is recovering from a chest cold. He’s almost 100%, but isn’t quite there yet. My cousin, Miss J, came over to watch him while I went to work.

Today, Munchkin was upset that we were out of bread, as all he wanted was a sandwich. Luckily for me, we have a drugstore less than a block away. So off I go to be a good mom and bring home a loaf of bread. I drive so I can be a quick as possible. We are talking about a 10 minute total trip.

I get to the drugstore and walk in, grab a few things on my 5-item list, then head towards the bread. My cell phone starts ringing; caller ID says “My House.” Crap. Apparently there is already dissension in the ranks for Munchkin to be calling me 2 minutes in.

“Hello?” I answer, figuring I’d hear “I want peppermint gum.” or “The dog won’t play with me.” or “My Legos clogged the bathtub.” He IS almost seven, so anything could happen. Instead, I hear inconsolable sobbing.

“Mmmooommmm, snumble snumble, and then, snork, sob sob sob mumble mumble waaaaaah!”

I’m in aisle 3 with a handful of other customers, and I’m trying not to freak out. “Ok, honey, I can’t understand you when you’re crying so hard. Can you try again?”

“Huh huh huh, OK, Mom, it came on, the then it was snurfle, blah blah don’t WANT it! Sob sob sob…”

My mind is starting to seize up as I try to decipher upset-kid-ese. “OK OK, I almost got that. Take a deep breath, talk slow, and say it ONE MORE TIME.”

Deep sigh. “Mom, the TV said that there was supposed to be an special Angry Birds show in Spongebob, and Angry Birds came on, but it was only like 2 minutes, and it didn’t show where they went in outer space, and then FRED came on. I don’t WANT Fred right now, I want to finish watching Angry Birds…”

You know when you are expecting something bad, and then the “bad” doesn’t happen, your emotions slingshot back right across “happy” and just head straight over to “pissed off?” That’s what I felt welling up in me there on aisle 3. The only saving grace was the concerned surreptitious glances from the other customers. Stifling the pissiness, I shudder to myself. Must. Control. Good-Mom. Appearance.

“Are we talking about a TV show?” I ask, trying to stay as calm as possible.

“Yeah. Snurfle.”

“And this all happened on the same channel?”

“Snerk. YES.”

“Munchkin, you DO realize that I don’t control the cable programming, right?”

“You control everything, Mom.” Sheesh, I don’t want to shed the truth on THAT thought quite yet.

“OK, I am in line to pay. I am almost home. I have your bread. I’m sorry the Angry Birds was just two minutes, but I can’t change that. I’ll be home in a minute and we can watch the rest of Fred together. How’s that sound.”

“Ok, Mom. But Mom?”


“I want some peppermint gum; and the dog won’t play with me.”

“Are there Legos in the bathtub?”

“No, not yet.”

“OK, I’ll be home in a minute. Stay out of the bathroom.”

Flashback Friday!!

Since I’m still up, I thought I’d post a particularly funny story from a little while back. Munchkin was about 2 years old. It was a Sunday morning, and my then-boyfriend thought it would be nice to go out to a pancake breakfast. I should mention here that my son would not touch ANYTHING if he knew it was made of eggs, so anything “egg” we called “omelette,” and he would gobble it up.

We got to the pancake place shortly after church let out, and it was jam-packed with about 30 tables of senior citizens; the stereotypical blue-haired grannies and their soda-pop-bottle-spectacled husbands. The small diner was mostly quiet, except for my little one oohing and aahing over the pies in the display case and the paintings on the walls.

We were seated at a central table, in the middle of the diner, within earshot of darn near everyone else. The waitress, a young girl who could not have been more than 19, brought our coffee and apple juice, and took our orders. While we waited, Munchkin was getting a bit…. vocal. So to avoid being “that family,” we tried to distract him with kiddy trivia. I picked up the kids’ menu and started pointing at the cartoon pictures.

“Oh, look, a cow with a glass of milk. Milk comes from a cow. What noise does the cow make?”

“MOOOOOOO.” A few grannies glanced over and snickered.

Feeling grateful for the positive reaction, I kept on. “Here’s a chicken with an omelette. Your omelette comes from a chicken. What noise does a chicken make?”

“BAWK BAWK BAWK.” Some more of his little captive audience snickered and nodded. A nearby gentleman leaned over and tapped our table. “Bright boy you have there,” he praised.

Now confident that my little precious cutie had won over the Sunday morning crowd, I pressed on, praying our food would arrive. “Ok, honey, look, here’s a piggy. He has some bacon. Bacon comes from a piggy. What noise does a piggy make?” The room grew silent, waiting for his response.


The room erupted with laughter. Munchkin beamed with pride, and I had to blot tears out of my eyes. Ah, my sweet little genius.

This Stupid Morning!

My son hates getting up in the morning. Definitely his mother’s son. And I hate getting him up, especially this week since he is sick.

I had already notified the school he wouldn’t be in, and made plans for my munchkin to hang out at his Grandma’s house all day. Which meant an extra 20 minutes for me; he could sleep in a little AND wear his PJs in the car. I had grandiose plans for those 20 minutes. I could actually enjoy a cup-of-joe in a quiet kitchen. I could run the dog in the backyard. I could… scoop the litterbox… naw, I’ll do THAT later. Ahhh, coffee, and a brisk romp with the puppy. Yes, those are a promising 20 minutes.

So, I’m up, dressed, ready and raring to go. That in itself is odd, because I’m such a nightowl. But this ‘free’ 20 minutes has me excited. I start the coffee pot and let the dog out back to get pottied before we play. I breeze through munchkin’s room, turning off the nightlight and uncovering him. “Good morning, munchkin!” I sing-song, rubbing his back and trying to rouse him.

He squinches up his face and sticks out his tongue at me. A big yawn. “Are you awake?” I ask. He nods. “Good. It’s your day at Nana’s. I need you up, get your boots & coat, and let’s buzz out the door.” He nods as I head toward the bedroom door.

And he lays back down. “No, baby. Time to be UP. C’mon, just your boots and coat today.” He slept in footies, so boots are all that will fit over them. That’s OK, he’s just going to hang out at his Grandma’s anyway.

“Mom?” His eyes are still closed, even though he’s sitting up. In his loft bed, he can be seated and his face is the same height as mine, standing bedside. “Yes, honey?” I ask. He looks so sleepy. “I’m not done being asleep yet.”

“I know hon,” I say, “Me either. But I have to get to work. You have to get to Nana’s. Please, boots and coat.”

The dog is now scratching to get back in. The coffee pot is beeping that it is done. I think, OK, if I can get him OUT of bed, I still have 10, maybe 15 minutes.

I let the dog in and get a coffee mug ready. I WILL enjoy my morning. I WILL. The dog trots down the hall to see if his boy is up yet. I hear barking. Not good. That means he can’t get to his boy.

I go down the hall, and he is back under the blankets, almost asleep. ARGH.

“We need to go. You need to be UP.” I pull the blanket down again. His head shoots up, and there’s that glare again, the same one as yesterday. The ‘death-to-you’ glare. “What?” I say. “I’ve already asked once.”

“I hate this.” he says. “You hate what?” I ask. “This. This Stupid Morning.” He finally crouches at the ladder of his bed, glaring at me the whole time. I walk out of the room to give the dog a treat – he won’t get a run this morning but at least he got his business done.

“MOM?” Oh, what now. I go back toward his room. He is standing in the doorway, looking confused. “What?” I say sharply, eager for my coffee. “You didn’t put out any clothes for me.” Sigh. “BOOTS and COAT. you are going to NANA’s.” He nods, then stops. “I don’t want to wear my footies to Nana’s. I want my sweats.” There goes coffee.

I toss his grey sweatpants, shirt, and socks into a plastic bag, along with his video gamer and the charger. He wants to take a box of Kleenex because Nana apparently doesn’t have any of ‘the soft kind,’ and some cough drops. I race back to the kitchen, unplug the coffee maker, lock the back door (poor dog) and zip back to his room. Coat is on; no boots. “Boots! Boots!” I’m frantic, now at the time we should be pulling out of the driveway. The image of a travel mug flashes through my mind – too late. Should have thought of that sooner.

He’s fussing now – the toes of his footies feel “yucky” inside his boots. “WE JUST NEED TO GET TO THE CAR!” The glare again. He goes to the front door, pets the dog and cat, and steps outside.

I step out and go to lock the house. Turning back, I see his little red raincoat dart into the carport and start jumping around the car. “C’MON MOM, YOU’RE GONNA BE LATE FOR WORK!”

Sigh. This Stupid Morning.

What’s With The Name?

Between the name of my blog, and the profile info I’ve provided, I hope it’s obvious that I am the lucky mom of one rambunctious almost-7-year-old boy. He is super-smart (he gets it from me), super-sassy (yeah, that’s probably all me too), and SUPER SARCASTIC. I love his take on life, and the things we come across, but not when it’s directed at me. Those moments turn me into the wild-eyed Joan-Crawford-esque hyper-matriarch spouting decidedly ineffective threats, such as “Because I SAID SO!” and “Don’t make me come over there!” I am by no means a negligent mother. But sometimes there are those instances that you CAN’T be at their every stinkin’ beck-and-call… the seventh “Mommy, can you come here?” since you said “Just a second,” twenty seconds ago to get that ‘last’ drink of water… or the tantrum in the back seat over something you just can’t handle while driving…. Yup, that’s where these names come from.

Onto the name. Munchkin was home sick from school Monday & Tuesday. Today I got a call at work over my lunchbreak that he needed to be picked up. Thank goodness my mother could go get him, and she did. As soon as I got off work, I flew down the hill to her house. His blonde 50-pound frame was sweating in full dress inside a flannel sleeping bag, completely asleep on the couch. Seeing a ‘good mommy’ moment, I sat on the edge of the couch and gently stroked his hair away from his face. These days will go too fast. I am a good mommy. My poor boy. My mom and I whisper back and forth; is he staying till he wakes up? Do I wake him now? The only item of urgency: I have to get home to potty the dog, who has been in the house since we locked up early this morning.

His eyes flicker open, squinting at the afternoon living-room brightness. I smile and gather my best June Cleaver voice: “Hi, lovie. How are you?” I’m still brushing his hair away from his sweaty little forehead. He dramatically sweeps his own bitty hand across his brow, rolls his eyes at me, and flops back over into the cushions. My mom decides she doesn’t want to use the gas to drive him to my house later, so I had better take him now. Big sigh. Okay, let’s start this party.

“C’mon, kiddo, time to get up. We can nap more at home.” Zero response. “C’mon, just pop on those sneakers and you can snooze in the car.” He covers his head with the pillow. “Sweetie, seriously, come ON, I have get the dog out.” Feet flip inside the sleeping bag. And then he speaks: “I AM NOT LEAVING THIS COUCH.”

The huffy mom in me makes her appearance. Uh oh, it’s starting. “Yes, you are. You are getting up, and getting your shoes on, and getting in the car. Right. Now.” Without even thinking about my actions, I reach down and deftly sweep the sleeping bag off this little sweaty boy.

He pushes up onto his elbows, gives me a ‘death-to-you’ glare over his shoulder, and growls, “No, I’M NOT.”

Oh, little man, it is ON. I pick up his sneakers. What started out as my Leave-It-To-Beaver moment has now devolved into an exasperated mother wrestling a sick, sweaty 50-pound mess of flailing limbs into a pair of shoes that will be impossible to get on. I stand up, calmly set his shoes neatly in front of him, and walk away.

My brain is reeling. This is NOT my precious little angel boy. This boy, this little person I recognize as mine, is NOT the little person I have raised. This attitude-filled, glaring-eyed little demon-child can not possibly belong to me. I have the thought that maybe he’s not sick at all – maybe he’s downright possessed. My momma-sense totally expects to see a tiny sneaker fly past my head at any moment.

In a moment of exhausted mommy-genius, I turn around and face him square on. He sits there, holding his shoes, glaring at me. I don’t break my gaze at him as I step out of my own shoes. I bend down and pick them up. I silently stand there, mimicking his body language.

“Can I send some chicken with you?” my mom is asking from the kitchen. I want to say “Yes, please,” but any deviation from my stand-off means he wins. He can’t win. I’M THE MOM. I ALWAYS WIN.

I quietly drop my shoes in front of me. My mom comes in. “What are you two doing?” she asks, concerned that we are so quiet. I smile competitively at my little boy – I know what will get him – I’ve got his number. I answer my mom, “Aw, nothing. I’m just getting ready to beat him in this race to put on our shoes.” His eyes light up, and he instantly sits on the floor, yelling at me, “Ready SET GO!” I shove the toe of my left foot into my slip-on shoes just as he looks up at me while velcro-ing his first shoe. I fake having a hard time getting the heel on.

“HAHA Mom, I’m beating you!” he cackles, shoving his second foot into the remaining shoe. “Nuh-uh, you still have to get your COAT ON!” I reply, prepping my right foot for its fake shoe trouble. A blur of blonde hair goes flying past me as he darts into the other room toward the coat tree, shouting, “Mom, I’m gonna win!” I feel sadistic in the knowledge that by getting this far, I have already won. MOM ALWAYS WINS. At least when it matters.

Yeah, yeah, the name. I’m getting there. We finally say our happy goodbyes to my parents and gleefully bound out the door, headed to the car. He’s in, he’s buckled, and off we go. I ask him about his day. Everything is fine until he wants to discuss the last 10 minutes. The time in which we needed to get ready to go. The battle.

This emotionally-complex tired boy breaks down in tears. My heart breaks with – every – single – sob. He tells me I am too mean when I tell him to do stuff. I explain that I don’t like asking 3, 4,….17 times to get something done. He’s in tears, I’m near tears, and then in all the fury this wee little boy can muster, he goes and says it; “You’re just a bossy meanie to me. A big, mean Mommy Bossypants.”

Ta-Da, there it is. Nice to meet you, I’m Mommy BossyPants. But you can call me MBP for short.

Hello World!

Hi there! Welcome to my little corner of the world – frenetic, fast-paced, and ALWAYS funny! As a start, let me fill you in a little bit about me, and where I get most of my humor. First and foremost, I get 95% of my funny from the love of my life, my son. He’s young enough to not filter what he says, but old enough to have incredibly intelligent cognizant thinking. It turns into hilarity several times a day. The remaining 5% can generally be derived from my day-job, my extended family, or our family pets. As you are all well aware, the funniest moments happen at the least funny times. And my day is one long, drawn-out, unfunny time. Thank GOODNESS for those moments of hilarity!! So bear with me as I venture into blog-world – it’s new territory for me. But this much funny should be SHARED!!