An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • My son convinced a student teacher that my husband was an astronaut – he’s a builder.

    But at least he got to keep his clothes on…

    my daughter had several mothers at school believing that I was pole dancer after seeing photos of me at a 1997 college party blind drunk and wearing a glitter wig.

    Classy, I know.

  • Tay

    Man, kids are so god damned funny at this age.

  • You’re such a fantastic writer. My daughter is watching me read this article, asking, “Babba, what’s so funny?”

  • Shit I just woke up the baby when I laughed out loud…thanks Heather!

  • Did someone name their daughter Nutmeg? (comments above)

    Beside the point…Leta is going to be trouble in the best way. I like her train of thought.

    More importantly, I like how a spray bottle was the weapon of choice against an out of control blaze.

  • One cold WINDY day in December in Green Bay, I decided to grill bratwurst for my daughter and son in law who had just returned from an Army tour in Korea. Figured they hadnt had any bratwurst for awhile.

    One minute the brats were doing just fine. The next minute my husband had to use the fire extinguisher to keep our house from nearly burning down.

    While I was disappointed not to serve them bratwurst for supper, I think I was more disappointed that the neighbors hadnt called the fire dept.

  • Is it horrible that my two year old already says this 🙁 That chocolate will fix her boo boos and her tummy aches, that probably is not good

  • I caught my boneless pork ribs on fire the other night and not a plank in sight. I gotz skillz. I didn’t have a water bottle handy so I was all, “Kids, stay away from the bbq our dinner is on fire”.

  • Mama Jamie

    Seriously, my 5-year-old son does the same thing. He’s the same kid who tells me he wants to go home…when we are at home.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait to read stories about when she is calling you names that begin with “F”. hahaha. that’s funny. my kid yells out PICKLES when he is mad.

  • When I was a little girl, my mother bought these giant Nestle chocolate bars. The word “Nestle” was imprinted in the chocolate about 6 times, so she cut up the bar and had a pile of letters that she would dole out to us, one letter a day. Can you say, “Thrifty?” I would beg her for another “letter” and no one had any idea what I was talking about. They just thought I was a weird child. And I was. Am I dating myself here?

  • A F

    That’s awesome. My two year old daughter’s stuffed koala is named Bum-Bum.

  • Anonymous

    This has reached legendary status in our family. During the Christmas break of his 3-year-old preschool year, we learned the preschooler’s ultimate insult. My husband (newly married into the family) had moved some toy to sit down and obviously irked the child. First, just a mumble and then very distinctly: “and you don’t know your colors!” What a wonderful way to meet the family…being dissed by a 3-year-old!

  • Leta’s a riot!!

  • My kids no better than to try that with me. They get absolutely no sympathy…

  • FYI – reading this on the drunk side of things makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever. I’m surprised I’m getting all the punctuation right here in the first place. Just had our very first Wince and Wine night – modeled after Sarah Brown’s Cringe night. It. Was. Awesome. Small dutch community in Holland, Mi has NO IDEA what’s coming.

    I am. And it’s loud.

  • Tay

    When I was four I used say, “I’m so full! No more dinner! … What’s for dessert?”

    My dad: I thought you said your stomach was full.

    Me: It is.

    Him: Then, where will you put your dessert?

    Me: That goes in my OTHER STOMACH. My DESSERT STOMACH.

  • I love children,

    “It hurts so bad. A chocolate treat will fix it.”

    I think that’s a line I hear regularly… but not as much from my children.

  • Leta cracks me up. She has the right idea.

  • Hilarious! My three-year-old does the same thing. Her version goes something like “Mommy my tummy hurts, that means I need chocolate.” She also does the dramatic clutch of the abdomen.

  • Poor Jon. Your anecdotes about him are hilarious. 🙂

  • Elaine in the UK

    Last night after dinner I ‘needed’ something chocolate-y for dessert. Husband went suddenly deaf. Adult (ish) son refused to cook up something (he’s usually the dessert chef).

    I had to go out to the local store – myself! No-one would go for me! – and buy chocolate ice-cream.

    So I sat and ate it – by myself!

    Do you think deliberate and malicious chocolate deprivation might be grounds for divorce? I think so! I think I’m gonna divorce them both!

  • Siobhan

    Ha! I used to pull that, although I was much more convincing. (Never got the chocolate though)

    Be glad she’s such an over actor, it’ll save you unnecessary sick days and doctor visits.

  • You mean eating chocolate won’t cure a stomach ache? Shit. No wonder I’m so fat.

  • I’m sending you snaps for feeding her and preventing family pandamonium. I may or may not have told my melting down children that, “We are going sit down as a family and we are going to be a happy family eating dinner so you do not do drugs when you are older.”
    I totally have to deal with the tween ‘tude and eye rolling fallout from that statement.

  • Susan

    But the talapia was good..

  • Funny, my child (who is 5) has used the SAME LIE! Chocolate treaties to fix a “stomach ache”. Riiiiiiight. At least I am glad the lies are still easily detectable. There will come a day they won’t be!

  • seriously, we just got done with a raging battle of stomach flu and although my youngest (3)couldn’t keep spit down, he always seemed to NEED a brownie, a cookie, a candy– of course, he lies like a well loved rug.
    my eldest (6)on the other hand– not so much on the lying. he just says- ‘hey, i want a treat’ and when i grill him about the obvious choice of leaving his green beans on his plate, he quickly rolls his eyes and informs me that ‘well, mom, brownies taste much better than green beans and you don’t want me to fill up on beans do you when there’s still brownies to eat? they go bad too’

  • The last time I went to Italy to visit my parents with my kids they whined for everything except the chocolate that we could buy at the “bar”. I would say, let’s go to the park or whereve else and all they would respond is ‘cioccolata mommy’
    At least they got that word in Italian ..

  • LOL. I find it hilarious when they lie like that…when it’s so obvious and ridiculous. It does, however, frighten me when I realize they will get better about it. And it will NOT be funny.

  • i love that leta…and maybe you should give her the book of morman..

    i have never read it myself…but they have those info-mercials and they give them away FOR FREE. amazing.

  • Oh the joys of the lying stage. It’s entertaining, if nothing else. And chocolate does fix everything… until you eat the whole bag.

  • My three old has been trying to convince me that a popsicle can cure his strep throat.

  • I love that kid!!

  • Joanie

    Eerily similar to the time my niece was over and cried (at bedtime none the less) “MY STOMACH HURTS FOR SOME CHOCOLATE MILLLLLKKKKK!” In all caps with extra L’s and K’s…

  • Leta is such an adorably precocious little girl. I think I would’ve been biting back a little snicker.

    I’ve been thinking about trying those planks… now I may rethink!

  • It’s those damn planks. I’ve ruined more good steak with my undying hope in those things that I care to mention. You’d have to soak them for a year to ever actually grill with them. With all the carcinogens in grilled foods it doesn’t matter in the end. Just once I’d like to have deliciously smoked cancer though.

  • Stephanie

    God I can’t wait to have kids. lol

  • Leeshka

    Here I am, thinking mine is the only kid that pulls that nonsense. Another personal fave “I can’t eat another bite. I’m SOOO full. I saved room for an ice cream cone, though!” Let me know when she hurls insults at you and then quickly tries to cover it by claiming that she was “Talking to the couch”. That couch, it’s a total asshole.

  • i love capitalized italics. but anyway, if you think about it, most kids subconsciously would lie like that — not so much because it’s their fault, but because the subconscious is very good at experimenting / testing the limits of correlation.

    kids are often given ice cream (i browsed some of the comments briefly), chocolate, etc., whatever (for me it was mcdonalds — though i mean i ate those at other times, i was just so happy to eat a big mac when i was a kid…still would be probably) when they are sick. so intuitively they would think that if they can show that they’re sick, then they will be given ice cream, etc. this intuition is so strong it knocks out malcolm gladwell (and the rationalization that it’s a little fishy to suddenly appear sick in time for dessert).

  • I feel as if I have awakened from an eight year coma…how could I NOT have known about you before??? Your writing is hysterical and relate-able!

    I have used those planks for grilling with nearly the same results…and dessert fixes a tummy ache every time no matter what your age!!

    And your story “…next dog will be a sea monkey” made me laugh so hard I cried since I just took my dog Rosie to the vet yesterday and had the same Coco response. She had been there twice before this year…once covered in cactus spines and once to have an abscessed anal gland fixed…her memory was sharp and immediate the moment we pulled into the driveway and she whined from then until we got back into the car. She is a Pit Bull…and she didn’t feel one ounce of embarrassment for her breed…

  • Adaire

    That was hilarious. My own 4 year old just asked me why I was laughing.

  • Oh, mine’s doing that right now…and she’s 8. She’s claiming that her throat hurts and the only things that make it feel better are chocolate and water.

    I tell her to go grab a bottle of water.

    She should never give me choices!

  • Ann

    SO weird! WHERE does she get that from?

  • Shannon

    When my son was almost 3 he referred to his new baby sister as “that freakin’ poopin’ freakin’ baby”-quite an astute observation, I thought.

  • Greg says thanks for the 20% increase in our grocery bill now that I’m totally turned onto hormone free and antibiotic free meat and chicken. LOVING IT! Thanks for making me think outside of my Midwestern box.

    Sara named her latest stuffed animal (a hideously bright dog) D.D. Today I finally asked her what D.D. stood for. Dumb Dog. No more “Annie” for her.

    When Sara asks for medicine, she usually means a lollipop. It’s cheaper than Tylenol, so Amen.

    Thanks for the laughs, Lori

  • Shelly

    personally….I would have clapped..and handed her chocolate …like she was getting an academy award!!!

    this could be why my daughter is such a drama queen!

  • gretchen

    My husband had the brilliant idea to grill a Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake pizza. I asked if it should be taken off the paper tray first, and he said no, becaise he lined the grill with aluminum foil. It would be fine and delicious!

    Uncooked pizza CAN catch on fire.

    It was pretty spectacular.

  • t
  • Funny, when I was a kid – not going to school was the only thing that would help my tummy.

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.

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