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.

  • Leta is so awesome. Ican’t wait till she has a blog too!

  • Jaysus, my steps do that ALL OF THE TIME. The girl is the worst, because she will work her way to tears.

    I also love it when they are too full to finish their dinner, but then take off for the candy jar as soon as they are excused.

    I don’t think so, chilluns. You shit out of luck.

    I am the wicked step mothers.

  • I’m so going to try this technique! I’m sure it’ll work like a charm coming from an adult.

  • As a grown adult, I can attest to a piece of chocolate cake fixing every known ailment. I defend Leta.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the info!

  • nicky

    Good Thinkin!

  • Yeah but like, there are loopholes.

  • Kids say the darnest things. Sometimes they see how mom’s crave choclate and they think it will be a cure all, but it doesn’t always work that way… LOL, if only they knew. Or is that they would rather have junk then real food, whatever that’s suppose to be- Ha Ha.

  • The cedar planks are great – soak in water for an hour and make sure your coals are hot and grey but without flame (for the most part). We use a Big Green Egg which is the best BBQ in the entire cooking world – fast to light (without chemicals) and very hot – plus the flame is not so close to the grill itself.
    The fish should not take a long time – and is so fabulous.

    I think it’s great when kids say they don’t like something (after they’ve eaten a ton of it) because they think they need to eat everything on their plates.

  • Hubby forgot to soak the planks, huh? Yeah, mine’s been there- done that- got the eyebrows singed off to prove it.

  • We reserve the cedar planks for salmon, but the chocolate tummy ploy, you’ll probably be dealing with that little trick for a while. Awesome.

  • Kids what are you gonna do?

  • Hmm… I don’t know. I think God understands the fabulous nature of chocolate and would forgive lying for it. Although it’s possible that I’m only saying that in hopes that it’s true for the sake of my own soul.

  • Well, now, it’s not her fault she’s got intelligent parents. I’m pretty confident that would’ve fooled my own.

  • Coelacanth

    Thing about the cedar planks… forget the expensive designer ones, they’re too thick. You have to cook the fish for an hour, and it’s dry.

    However! $8 will buy you a package of 50 or so untreated cedar shingles – Home Depot sells them as shims – and they work much better. Soak ’em for about 10 minutes, oil them, put seasoned fish on, and throw them on the grill at medium heat. Easiest thing you can cook. Williams-Sonoma “Potlatch seasoning” makes a great topping.

    My 3.9 year old loves cedar plank salmon, although not with the seasoning. And somewhere, he has gained the long lost knowledge that gummi bears are a foolproof cure for tummy aches. He does the whole act, just as you described.

  • Just wanted to tell you thanks for being honest and open in your writing. I appreciate that about your work and it has been influencing my own writing a lot lately.

    Mostly, I just appreciate laughing out loud when I’m reading.


  • Chocolate does make everything better – even if it’s just in your head. I love Target AND your blog!

  • 1. Didn’t you know…Cedar planks are for lighting on fire, throwing on the lawn and cooking your food over the burning flames…Love the story.

    2. Chocolate can save a starving 5 year old… I’m sure I read that somewhere.

    From my son I hear, well…I had something good to eat…now can I have…(fill in the blank with whatever discussing gummy bear, worm confection out there) PLEASE, PLEASE PLEEEEAAAASSSSEEE>

    3. Kids….who’s idea was this anyway.

  • Marie

    Hee! Is it wrong that I openly giggle at my niece when she says the same kind of thing? Now I have to go eat a truffle to soothe my digestion.

  • Cheryl

    She is awesome! Were you laughing your “bum bum” off?

  • kapchis

    If my girls accepted a pot of peas as a treat, I’d give them a Costco size bag of M&M’s. And those kind of antics for chocolate in my house only stands as proof that they are, in fact, mine.

  • I think my daughter and your daughter should get together and go bowling so they can discuss the agony that is life together.

  • Another hysterical post. Getting her into acting while she’s young.

  • call me in 16 years or so and i’ll have a lucrative job for her in tech sales.

  • Danielle B.

    In England we have these little alumineiueminieum (!) bbq’s that you can take to the beach or on a picnic, etc. They have a little wire stand underneath that holds them off the ground, but I guess they don’t work so well…I guess that because we managed to burn a hole in our (rented house’s) deck. We’re still trying to work out how to get away with it when we move out.

  • Good for Leta, she knows what she wants, and now she is figuring out how to get it…..and that’s only the beginning.

  • Angel in Kentucky

    My fave? “I’m not hungry for dinner! Can I have an oreo instead?”
    And this is nightly. I will give ’em thumbs up for consistency, though. And never giving up. And driving me insane.

  • Another good one is, “my dinner compartment is full but my treat department is empty…”

  • Well, that’ll do the trick. My daughter is getting close to “saying is believing” and yes, kids will say what they want to get what they want. It’s funny though – keep a log of all the things they say and they can read it when they get older.

  • Christ awmighty, girl. Never give man fire until you’ve outfitted yourself in a bell diver suit.

  • Alicia

    Thats awesome, our two year old will ask for a treat and then he will being out a stuffed animal who is in need of one as well. Oh and cedar planks are evil, we finally caught on that its all about indirect heat and wood chips.

  • Rachel

    Totally unrelated to cedar planks, but thought you might be interested in this article:

  • Maybelle

    Totally unrelated, but I have a burning question. I started taking pictures of my new dog with things on her head. It all started innocently enough. First it was a kitten … just to prove that she was nice to the kitten cuz people were worried. Then a bow cuz you know bows are sweet. Next a straw hat but that was just to send to my friend who left her straw hat at my house. Then with a tutu around her neck and I really had no reasonable explanation for the tutu. My question is, is this just like the gateway drug of dog photos? Will I soon be balancing a bunch of grapes on her head, then a vase, then maybe, I don’t know, my Jetta?

  • gretchen

    My husband is a master of the cedar planks. The plank MUST soak all morning/afternoon in the sink, with something heavy to keep it at the bottom. In spite of this, the plank will dry out during cooking. Take a glass of water and basting brush and keep remoistening the plank as needed until your meal is done.

    It takes a lot of babysitting, but the results are delightful.

  • Ah yes, the wonder of childhood logic. When I was I kid I used to complain that I was “soooooooo full” in order to get out of eating my vegetables. Mere seconds after mom threw those veggies in the trash I would ask for dessert. The logic: my stomach had separate compartments and while the dinner section was filled to the brim, the dessert section was TOTALLY EMPTY! Duh!

  • Leta cracks me up!
    I was back reading a few of your posts and my absolute favorite one was when you told Leta to say hi to the internet and she waved and shouted, “HI TO THE INTERNET!” What a cute kid….most of the time. Because four year olds can stop being cute and any give moment- I watch one for a living.

  • Agatha

    Heather, I have yet another totally unrelated comment but I have to ask since I haven’t seen this mentioned yet and just KNOW you’d want this brought to your attention if it hasn’t been already; have you seen Seriously, So Blessed! [] that everyone is talking about? Since you are in Utah and a former Mormon you of all people would get a kick out of this and I think I speak for more than just myself when I say we’d love to hear your thoughts [read: sarcasm] on this!

  • You can’t blame a kid for trying… I found that I used to get points for creativity accompanied by a look that clearly said, “The fact that you win this time does by no means mean that you will succeed with a similar excuse the next time.”

  • For what it’s worth, I think those are the best patterns anyone could ever wear as boxers (per the quilt pic 7/30)

  • My little girl’s excuse for eating most treats (now that she has discovered gum) is that she “needs something to chew.” I’ve worked hard to convince my husband that passing her some of grandma’s chewing tabbaci is not the best solution. Yes, grandma chews. . and spits. . . and gambles . . . she’s 88 – best grandma ever!

    Side note: Sorry to post this here, but have you seen the video of van damme dancing, getting a boner and getting all embarassed on Brazilian TV? Click my name to check it. You’ve got to wait for it it. It’s toward the end.

  • Eternal damnation aside, at least you know Leta will be able to survive on instincts. Kudos to her for recognizing this situation needed esculation to be recognized.
    But, that’s probably not how I’d think of it if this were my boys, who do pull plenty of shit like this.

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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