A Loving Note to My Kids Before Dinner

My darling little chickadees,


It is that time again. The time when I begin to prepare the third big meal of the day, confusing you two as if this has not happened every day of your existence thus far. Since your memories are dulled by either low blood sugar or debilitating growth spurts, please give me your attention for a moment so I can let you know how I need this to go.

Because I am a kind and generous maternal figure, I will possibly offer you an option or two as to what you’d like to eat tonight. DECIDE QUICKLY AND CAREFULLY. You have one opportunity to pick which option before I begin to prepare it. ONE. No takesies-backsies. Now, no matter how good my intentions have been thus far today, asking what you’re in the mood to eat is the only niceness you will experience from me for the next hour. LOWER ALL EXPECTATIONS OF NICENESS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD. Dash them away, pronto. For example, if you try to snack while I am preparing dinner, I will see you because I am not blind and you are neither stealthy nor invisible. Once I see you attempting to eat food that will destroy your hunger for the meal I’m cooking, I will be forced to thrash you with the wrath of my angry face and growl-count to three. You do NOT want me to get to three. Absolutely nothing good comes after three. iPad-tossing and Minecraft castle-destroying are the kinds of things that come after three.

While we’re on the topic of personal peril, please note that while I’m stirring boiling pots of water or trying to precisely measure things, I would prefer not to have to break up your fights, catch random objects thrown at my head, carry you on my back, sniff anything you think smells like poop, untie triple-knotted mud-clotted shoes, book a party for your twelfth birthday that is still four years away, or otherwise be used as entertainment/a jungle gym/target practice. I am going to be right over there in the kitchen, walking back and forth between the fridge, the cabinets, and the oven creating a triangle of danger. Do NOT run into my triangle: I cannot be held responsible for any bodily harm that happens to you should you enter it, for there is a solid chance of both high heat and sharp objects flying around there, not to mention foul language and promises of removal from my will. 


A few minutes before I serve you, I will ask you to go wash your hands. Not walk into the bathroom then walk out, pretending to do so. Not re-create The Perfect Storm with the sink. Soap, water, scrub, rinse, shut off water, dry hands, turn off the light, leave. How is that so difficult? HOW??? Oh, I know: IT ISN’T. So just do it right the first time so I don’t cry frustrated tears into your mac and cheese, then when it is time to sit at the table, SIT AT THE TABLE. Not on it. Not under it. Don’t pile all onto one seat in an attempt to win a screamy game of musical chairs. Sit in a chair at the table and stay there, facing forward, feet on the floor. Like a civil human being.

Once you are served the meal, you will act as if it is a mouth-watering delicacy that tastes of kitten giggles and actual beams of sunshine. Yes, even if you get a T-rex nugget when you were expecting a Brontosaurus. Even if the cheese on the grilled cheese is more melted than you hoped for. Put the food in your mouth and approximate “mmm” sounds at some point. It really isn’t too much for me to ask for. Just so I cover all the bases, you should also know that wandering away from your food at any point, forgetting it was there, and leaving it uneaten after I went through all the trouble of making it creates black holes in my brain where happiness can never live again. So don’t do that. Definitely don’t do that.

One final note: Cleaning up after yourself and thanking me for dinner are both expected and greatly appreciated, especially if you want me to continue feeding you throughout your entire 18 years of living under my roof. Please don’t be an ingrate I decide never to feed again. That would be a major bummer for all of us.

Thank you so much for listening, even though I know we’ll have to go over all of this again tomorrow. I love you!



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