the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Not necessarily a better liar, but at least she’s getting creative

Jon has been experimenting with his grilling technique this week, and Sunday night he almost set the house on fire. We bought a set of cedar planks on which to grill (free range, ethically grown, lulled to sleep every night with a gentle nursery rhyme) meat, and although I think he read the directions I believe he did so with his eyes closed. Not thirty seconds after putting a set of sirloin steaks onto those sizzling planks he lunged through the back door screaming GET ME A SPRAY BOTTLE. I quickly handed him one that I found in a dollar bin at Target which in terms of spraying water performs about as well as trying to spit out a wildfire. He swung open the door again and was all PREFERABLY A SPRAY BOTTLE THAT WORKS.

Right. This is not my problem here. Don’t you think you should have checked to see if there was a working water bottle on the premises before you decided to carve your initials on the lawn with a blow torch?

You could say the meal that night was somewhat difficult to chew.

Last night he tweaked his approach a little bit to cook a plank or two of fish, and since it was going to take so long we let Leta eat dinner before us. She’d been in a horrible mood all afternoon, and sometimes it’s not worth it to wait for the happy family dinner when we know that letting her have her chicken nuggets early will add back those two years she just stripped from our lives by screaming all sorts of preschool obscenities over the fact that Coco had looked at her toys. Hurtful obscenities like “bum-bum,” and “booger,” and my favorite, “disgusting poo-poo head.” You know, to distinguish it from the compliment “poo-poo head that is delicious enough to eat.”

She finished her meal in record time, and as I was preparing a pot of green peas she asked for a treat. I told her yes, but she’d have to wait until her father and I had finished eating, and since we’d just started cooking it would be a while. She sat there thinking this through, processing the fact that she would eventually get her prize, but not fully comprehending the time frame. That’s when she leaned over in her chair, grabbed agonizingly at her stomach and said, “Mama, my tummy hurts, and I need a chocolate treat to make it feel better.”

Right. Unless you’re on day two of your period it doesn’t work that way. So I said, “Excuse me?”

She hunched over so far that her face was almost touching her knees. “It hurts,” she moaned, her voice as raspy as a 50-year smoker who has to breathe through a tube. “It hurts so bad. A chocolate treat will fix it.”

That’s when I walked away from the stove, poked my head out the back door and said, dude, I know you need to keep an eye on that fish, but we need to have a talk with our daughter about her eternal salvation and how IT HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

  • the dalai mama

    2008/07/29 at 2:38 pm

    My husband has the same luck with our cedar planks. We are on our third set and he is sure it is the planks and not the user of said planks.

    I play along, because I love him.

    Chocolate does fix everything. At least Leta has that going for her.

  • wert

    2008/07/29 at 2:40 pm

    ah, the kids i watch love to tell me the same thing. I have a tummy ache! i think i ate too much dinner! dessert will fix it!

  • andrea

    2008/07/29 at 2:41 pm

    That Leta is a smart one, already learning the ways of chocolate and all. Apparently, my bad name of choice as a 3 year old was rocket head. I have no idea what I was thinking.

  • Jillian

    2008/07/29 at 2:41 pm

    We tried grilling on a cedar plank last weekend and even after soaking the thing in my sink for THREE HOURS it still nearly burnt to a crips. And then we burped lovely smokey cedar belches for the next three days. NEVER AGAIN.

  • Anonymous

    2008/07/29 at 2:43 pm

    i just got the “mom, my tummy hurts, i really need an ice cream sandwich” line from my 4 year-old

  • Megan

    2008/07/29 at 2:44 pm

    At least she’s not lying in an attempt to get alcohol treats, which surely will come later? Maybe that’s just me I’m thinking of…

  • Jess

    2008/07/29 at 2:45 pm

    My sister is the same way. Every night after dinner she tells us that she’s “so siiiiick” and that something from the freezer, preferably Shrek popsicles, will make her feel better.

  • Kristine

    2008/07/29 at 2:46 pm

    Reminds me of some quip I read in a magazine where a little boy had smeared his yams all over the wall next to the table in an effort not to eat them (maybe it was an orange wall?). When his mother noticed what was going on, he said, “Mommy, I’m not lying. I’m CLEANING!”
    Brilliant little boy.

  • stella

    2008/07/29 at 2:46 pm

    How do kids get so darn smart?? Leta cracks me up.

  • Caren

    2008/07/29 at 2:48 pm

    Leta is genius; I don’t think I could come up with something that awesome as an adult!

  • Carrie

    2008/07/29 at 2:49 pm

    Nutmeg is also 4 and she’s gotten “creative” lately too. Her stories are more plausible, but every time she lies she gets this shit-eating grin on her face that rats her right out.

  • Amy

    2008/07/29 at 2:49 pm

    Genius. I love that girl.

  • Zak

    2008/07/29 at 2:50 pm

    My husband did the exact same thing because he didn’t SOAK THEM IN WATER. I mentioned whether or not the planks had been soaked long enough and he was like, “You have to soak them?”

    Le sigh.

  • TJ

    2008/07/29 at 2:50 pm

    Leta’s really onto something, I use chocolate to solve almost all my body aches. Today I had Kozy Shack brand choc. pudding to cure heartburn. That stuff is the best!

  • Bibi

    2008/07/29 at 2:50 pm

    Work it, Leta!

  • Tess

    2008/07/29 at 2:51 pm

    My youngest tells me that her stomach is broken and a cookie will fix it. Kids!

  • Beth

    2008/07/29 at 2:52 pm

    Now THAT is funny! Kudos to Leta for having the good sense to know that for us ladies, chocolate-y treats really do make everything better!

    Now, I must go home & make brownies. It’s not day 2 of my period, but I want em anyway!

  • R.E.

    2008/07/29 at 2:52 pm

    I’m with Leta. Chocolate fixes everything.

  • Adiel

    2008/07/29 at 2:52 pm

    It makes you wonder just how dumb they think adults are. Best part: “and my favorite, “disgusting poo-poo head.” You know, to distinguish it from the compliment “poo-poo head that is delicious enough to eat.””

  • Bex

    2008/07/29 at 2:52 pm

    Haha! She sounds like a cool chick.

  • kbreints

    2008/07/29 at 2:56 pm

    That is awesome. I wonder where she learned it?

  • Jill S.

    2008/07/29 at 2:59 pm

    Ah, I miss those sweet four year old lies. I’m on the fifteen year old ones, and trust me, they’re not as cute.

  • jesse james

    2008/07/29 at 3:01 pm

    I just tried that line on my girlfriend for some home made chocolate chip cookies last night. Doesn’t work when you’re four – doesn’t work when your thirty one. But, it’s not worth it to stop trying. It might just pay off someday.

    I think we were whining at the same time.

  • Robin

    2008/07/29 at 3:01 pm

    Are you suggesting that chocolate treats don’t solve all the world’s problems? Because I disagree … and don’t you think her fine acting skills at least earned her an honorable mention chocolate treat?

    But good for you for setting rules and following through. I may not be the purveyor of fine parenting skillz but I know some when I see them elsewhere.

  • Sprite's Keeper

    2008/07/29 at 3:01 pm

    Already using her feminine wiles to get her way. That deserves her a morsel!

  • Helen Tarnation

    2008/07/29 at 3:03 pm

    They don’t get any better when they get older. The husband has had severe heartburn for a long time, and for which he will have tubes put in both ends this Thursday, yet he seems to think that stopping for a milkshake every night (or making someone else do it) makes it feel so much better.

  • Erin Rae

    2008/07/29 at 3:04 pm

    Did you soak the cedar plank? We cook salmon on cedar planks often and the usual routine is to soak the thing over night. Smokes up real nice.

  • gingela5

    2008/07/29 at 3:06 pm

    Oh I love grilling stories–my dad has nearly set the house and himself on fire a few times. There’s just never enough lighter fluid on the charcoal…

  • Krysta

    2008/07/29 at 3:10 pm

    I am 25 and operate under the same logic as Leta when trying to get my boyfriend to go out and buy dessert. And I use the words “chocolate treat” as well.

  • Rachel

    2008/07/29 at 3:11 pm

    Definitely using that line next time I’m trying to get my husband to go buy ice cream…

  • Unbalanced Libra

    2008/07/29 at 3:14 pm

    Well, you know, Leta is absolutely right, chocolate DOES make a belly feel better!

    My kiddos are going through a *poo poo head* phase. Oh, and dumb ass…nice.

  • Jenni

    2008/07/29 at 3:17 pm

    My personal favorite…

    “I’m stuffed Mom. I couldn’t eat another bite. So… What’s for DESSERT?”

  • Joy

    2008/07/29 at 3:18 pm

    Brilliant naievity…scary sometimes isn’t it? 🙂

  • Tabetha

    2008/07/29 at 3:19 pm

    I think Leta is actually a very advanced mini-you, more so than you might realize. She weighed her options and rationalized that asking for bacon would just lure Coco, plus chocolate is more like something a 4-year-old would need to sruvive.

    She’s a smart one, she is. You two have done very well. As for me, I can’t wait until she’s 16.

  • Becky

    2008/07/29 at 3:19 pm

    On a car trip last weekend, I tried to satisfy my two year-old’s demands of “need chocolate!” by handing him a granola bar. He looked confused, then said, “need brown chocolate!”

    Like, woman, maybe you’re new, so let me be specific.

  • lush

    2008/07/29 at 3:19 pm

    The only thing better than grilling stories are turkey frying stories. My ex-husband had never fried a turkey before, but totally KNEW what he was doing. (Instructions are for p*ssies.) WEll, he WAY overfilled the fryer and then plunked the not entirely dry enough turkey in. On my mother’s brand new deck. She wanted it stained, but probably not with cooking oil.

    /Go Leta. I hope you’re still writing this blog when she graduates to booze.

  • Jill Mormon

    2008/07/29 at 3:19 pm

    “Mommy, I need to play my game some more. Right now. Or I could DIE!!!!”

    “No more games right now, son. Maybe after dinner.”

    “But… how can you say no when I love you so much???”

    “Love has nothing to do with video game privileges, son.”

    “It does when I can’t love you even bunches more unless you let me play. Plus I will DIE!!!”

    And on and on it goes. Parenting ROCKS. I don’t remember spouting such awesomeness to my Mom.

  • Lana

    2008/07/29 at 3:22 pm

    Leta’s prospects for growing up into a career in politics are astonishingly high. This story is awesome.

  • Sara

    2008/07/29 at 3:22 pm

    Oh man, that was funny. I laughed so hard at “the compliment poo-poo head that is delicious enough to eat.”

  • Natasha

    2008/07/29 at 3:24 pm

    Well, cedar planks DO smoke. I think that’s the idea. But we have soaked them and they’ve been fine, on low temp. Takes longer but works.

    We’ve got this strategy I’m sure you’re heard of before: Kids say they’re full. We ask if they want [delicious treat we don’t even have]. They excitedly exclaim yes. We say, Aw, too bad we don’t have any but look at all that yummy food on your plate! THAT will fill you nicely. And even though we do this all the time, we managed to jazz it up just enough and act convincingly enough that they always forget and say, DOH! Foiled again! And they’re supposedly Gifted.

    So, Leta may know how to work it, the clever little thing, but so do I!

  • Ramsey

    2008/07/29 at 3:25 pm

    My 3.5 year old is also doing this sort of thing. At times it’s hard not to laugh.

  • Sol

    2008/07/29 at 3:25 pm

    Yeah, in my family we had cups. In our bellies. And our dessert cup was always barren, wasting, and in dire need of replenishment, and our peas/spinach/disgusting vegetable cup was always overflowing. Always.

  • Marsha

    2008/07/29 at 3:25 pm

    Well, did she get the treat??? Last night Jenny (4 also) would not eat when the rest of us did. We were having desert and she “demanded” some also. After being told she could have some once she ate her dinner she screamed “OK. But I only want JUNK for my dinner” Sounded perfectly ok to her.

  • Delia

    2008/07/29 at 3:25 pm

    Oh chocolate. Is there any problem that you can’t solve?

  • Robin G.

    2008/07/29 at 3:28 pm

    It’s a bit frightening to consider the kind of teenager she’ll be, isn’t it?

  • Suzette

    2008/07/29 at 3:30 pm

    Why, oh why weren’t there blogs 20-something years ago when *I* had a little girl? What a great way to preserve all those great moments that would otherwise fade into the mists of time. And Leta apparently has a lot of them to preserve! Keep ’em coming!

  • ma2one

    2008/07/29 at 3:32 pm

    SOAK the planks in water before using.

  • anna

    2008/07/29 at 3:36 pm

    What is it with men and grilling? Is it the sheer length of the utensils, or something?

  • amyz5

    2008/07/29 at 3:37 pm

    wait, does jon still have eyebrows? if yes, then he was probably over-reacting to the flames.

    chocolate is the great pacifier, at any age.

  • Margaret

    2008/07/29 at 3:38 pm

    At such a young age,she already understands the power and corruption of chocolate. It took me until at least 5; my grandfather was a dentist and we had to hide all sugar when he came to visit.

1 2 3 4

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more