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9to5to9: The future might be do-able — if I survive

Submitted by on Friday, 24 October 2008 2 Comments

Finally! We had a perfectly angelic dinner tonight. On one side of the table, at least. Not the one where the guys were sitting, though.

Funny thing is, three years ago I could not have imagined myself using the word “angelic” to describe any of the cast of characters. The fact that I am gives me hope that the guys won’t always be the snarling beasty boys who showed up tonight.

The angelic guests were two of the guys’ cousins, both of whom have a bit of history.

The older one was 3 when we met, and she used to greet me by biting my butt. Hard. Just days before my engagement party, which is a huge deal in the guys’ Dad’s culture, she scratched my face and drew blood as she was being a monster. I said being — not playing.

The younger one at 3 was the pickiest eater on Earth this side of Big Guy. That “are you trying to poison me” look of his I know so well — it runs in the family. As most 3-year-olds are, she was blunt about her dislikes, too. “Ewwwww. Disgusting!” she’d snarl.

Fast-forward to today, when they crept into the kitchen in an effort to get away from the guys and get out of playing more soccer. It worked to my advantage as two extra sets of hands went to work making lemonade, setting the table and shaping dinner rolls.

They learned that my odd habit of eating raw roll dough isn’t all that weird — “Huh. It’s actually good,” said the kid formerly known as Miss Picky, now 8. They found out that not all potatoes are brown. “Um, why are you putting pepper on those apples?” asked Recovering Butt Biter, now 11.

They were skeptical about the red clots atop the roasted chicken — it’s cranberry, I reassured them — but agreed to try it.

As we sat at the table, their manners were impeccable, the conversation dotted with “could you pass …” and “can I please have …”

Meanwhile, Little Guy never got over his disappointment that the apples weren’t really apples and wouldn’t eat. Instead he amused himself by incessantly chanting “poop bag,” his favorite word for at least the past two weeks. Seems like two years.

Big Guy broke his favorite fork, the last blue-handled one left from a set I’d bought in college, and cried end-of-the-world tears. He refused the clotted chicken but, then, it is a month with an R in it.

Former Miss Picky and Recovering Butt Biter tried everything and asked for more on most. They helped clean up afterward as Big Guy’s hissy continued.

I realize part of their heavenly natures was the “I’m not their mom” bump I was getting. It’s the same phenomenon that made me wonder if I had the wrong kid’s report card this week when I read the teacher’s note describing Big Guy as “easy-going.” Huh?

But if Recovering Butt Biter can grow into a helpful young lady and Former Miss Picky can gobble green beans, maybe there’s hope for the beasty boys in a few years.

I hope I can hang on that long.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • wandermom said:

    I have two boys. They’re now 8 and 12.
    I empathize with what you’re feeling, but definitely, unquestioningly, the day will come when you can sit down at the table and have a calm meal – with conversation thrown in.
    How do I know this? Well, firstly you mention you’re reading your child’s report card. Your involvement and attention to detail is, imho, the most important step in raising good kids is being involved.
    Secondly, I’ve been there and we’re just coming out the other side of mad-wild-little-boyhood. And it’s a fabulous thing.

  • debra said:

    Oh, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!! It’s so great to hear from a boy land veteran that this is all survive-able!

    Chanting to myself, “it’s just a phase. it’s just a phase.”