square meals… heart(y) meals…

Most evenings, The Kidling requests a snack juuuust before I leave her bedroom after tucking her in. I know her uncanny timing is not unique. As a parent, I have adapted to my competing instincts—She needs to go to bed. She needs a snack. She is exhausted. She is starving—with a fail-proof strategy. When The Kidling tells me she is hungry at bedtime, I promise to check on her in 10 minutes. If she is still hungry (a.k.a. awake) in 10 minutes, then she gets a snack… assuming I remember to actually check on her. If she has entered Dreamland, then I tiptoe back downstairs and go about my evening.

It should come as no surprise, then, that tonight as The Kidling and I snuggled, she complained of her belly’s deficit. I promised the usual, finishing with, “. . . and if you are asleep, then I will be sure to get you a big breakfast in the morning.”

“You could say a hearty breakfast,” The Kidling commented.

“That’s right,” I replied. “Like a ‘hearty meal.’ Thanks for the suggestion.”

“You could also say it for Thanksgiving.”

She is so freaking smart, I thought. Thanksgiving is a hearty meal!

“Or Valentine’s Day”

Hmm, I thought. Maybe she isn’t quite catching o– wait! (Heart)y meals. Hearty meals!

Genius. The Kidling’s a damn genius.

reality check

The Kidling is such a damn good kidling that sometimes The Dada and I get a bit, shall we say, confident.*

“Surely,” I think to myself, “we must be doing something right if The Kidling is so stinking amazing.” It just takes a little not-so-free association to get from “we must be doing something right” to “we must be getting this right” to “we must be getting everything right.” That last one, of course, means we are flawless parents.

Or maybe not:

Alice: Can I watch TV?

The Mama: No.

Alice: (in a sing song voice) If you do, I’ll let you have one of my quarters!

The Mama: (suppressing laughter) That’s very tempting. We’ll see.

Alice: (still singing) Or twooo-ooooo!

So perhaps bribery is a too frequently used tool in our parenting arsenal. I dare you to honestly profess your own innocence on that count.


* By “The Dada and I,” I really mean “I.” Whatever.

on saving… or not

Last week during the blog-cation that wasn’t, The Family made a trip to the mall to shop for new toys. Not for The Kidling; rather, for The Parents. You see, we still have flip phones, and it seemed about time to enter the 2000s… unfashionably late.

Alice put up with a lot on that outing. We went after pre-school and before dinner. That’s right, sometimes The Parents like to play with fire. On this particular evening, we managed not to get burned. Trust that we know we lead very charmed lives.

As a sign of appreciation for her ridiculously patient behavior, we gave Alice four quarters to ride one of the little rides near our mall’s food court. Oh yes, The Parents are magnanimous. Alice circled the area several times before choosing a race car. Face filled with expectation, she sat down− and then stopped.

“I want to put these in my piggy bank,” Alice declared.

Hiding my shock, I told her, “You may, Alice. You get to choose.”

“Can I have four more?” she inquired.

“No, just these four,” I told her. “You may choose whether to ride or save them for your piggy bank.”

As you might have guessed, several moments passed as The Kidling paused to consider her options. Alice is never quick to make her decisions. Ever. Even when the decision is as inconsequential as yogurt vs. cereal for breakfast, Dr. Seuss vs. Highlights magazine at story time, PBS Kids vs. Milo and Otis, or… any decision she has made in her 4.8 years. There are worse things than having a thoughtful child.

Still pausing, dear reader? That should be enough. We’ll carry on now.

“Okay, I’ll ride,” Alice decided. “And if I get four more, just because I’m special, can I put those in my piggy bank?”

Indeed. After thorough consideration, of course.

on sharing

This Kidling is a generous soul. A thoughtful, empathic child who always considers—

Okay, fine. This is a lie. Every last word. At least as it relates to sharing.

You see, Alice is not especially good at sharing. Well, she is great at being shared with. It’s just that she doesn’t realize the importance of reciprocity. Case in point: pillows. The Kidling is an engineer of sorts, and her favorite interior building materials are pillows, couch cushions, and blankets. This weekend:

she was using pillows,

to build a platform,

 in front of the television armoire,

upon which to perch,

in order to add stickers,

to the pirate flag she had attached,

to the armoire door handles,

and created a pulley system,

by which to raise and lower said pirate flag.

Diagram THAT, English teachers.

Tears streaming down her face, Alice came to me in desperation, crying, “Mom! Dad won’t share his pillows. (more tears) I only have two pillows and he has, like, 15 pillows. (many more tears)

Is anyone interested in an actual pillow count?

Alice: 2

The Dada: 3

The injustice of it all.


sweet dreams, or the forgotten excuse

About once each week, The Kidling gets out of bed after she has been tucked in. Once in a blue moon, this solitary exodus is justified. The Mama has been known to forget to put a Pull-Up on. Typically, though, the excuses are anything but persuasive and far below The Kidling’s intellectual capacity.

In short, they are lame.

All things considered, Alice still hit a new low earlier this week. Shortly after bedtime, The Dada and I heard  footsteps scurrying down the stairs. Just as we exchanged glances, she popped her little head around the corner, declaring, “I have to go potty! (pause) I mean (pause) I’m hot!”

The Mama giggled.

Then The Dada giggled.

And The Kidling giggled.

And The Family giggled, and giggled, and giggled… for a long, long time.

Finally, The Kidling marched her naughty little bottom back up the stairs, tucked herself in, and fell fast asleep.


a simple request

“Will you do something to help me go to bed? Will you just pat my back for a few hours?”

-Alice Munchkin Kidling

August 31, 2012

fabricated consequences

In her comment to the no-grow blues, Kathy—one of my favorite readers (and bloggers)—mentioned what she was told when she wouldn’t eat dinner. As a child. Not last week. Kathy was warned, “If you don’t eat it, you’ll shrivel up and blow away.”

Oh yes? That sounds like a threat for The Mama. And I wasted no time. I tried it at dinner that very night when Alice was appalled by the spinach and chickpea patties and steamed edamame I dared to set on her plate.

The Mama: You’d better have a few more bites, Alice. If you don’t, you might blow away.

Alice: (shoots crazy look at The Mama) What?!

The Mama: You need to eat, or you will blow away. You know how paper blows around in the wind? You will too if you don’t eat.

Alice: But I’m staying down.

The Mama: It isn’t windy. If it were, you would blow away.

Alice: No I won’t. Remember gravity?

Damn. I need to start lying to this kid.

the no-grow blues

Oh, dinner time.

Do you recall Wednesday’s post on risotto? Well, there is more. Alice was shocked that I would expect her to actually consume more than that one, horrid mouthful. After a bit of whining, she did have two bites. I figured that was enough to ensure she actually did hate it, rather than simply hate the idea of it. So The Dada got her a bowl of cottage cheese.

See, our policy is if The Kidling tries her dinner and genuinely does not like it, then she can have something plain to fill her belly. One thing, decided by The Parents, that requires no preparation and isn’t terribly exciting.

Which is why the poor child got no turmeric on top.

Alice always gets a healthy sprinkling of turmeric on top of her cottage cheese because of this NYT article that brainwashed me back in 2008. And Alice loves it. Turmeric, that is. Not the New York Times. Duh.

The Kidling was not happy about her plain white cottage cheese. She took a few bites and then put her tiny little foot down. There was no way she would consume any more. So we told Alice to go to her room, because dinner was over for her.

And the shit hit the fan.

Crying, yelling, tantruming.* Tears streamed down Alice’s face as she wailed with despair, “But now I can’t grow big and strong today!” She sobbed, shaking every bone in her little kidling body. This was serious. We talked with her about her decision and the rules of the table. She repeated her heart-broken lament that this would be a day in which no growth occurred.

Then she hopped off my lap, wiped away her tears, and cheerfully asked, “Hey Mom! Can you play pet store after you’re done with dinner?”

So much for lessons learned.


* I am well aware of the fact that this is not a word. If, however, you parent a toddler, then you know full well that it should be.