Scenes Not from an Italian Restaurant

Dateline, December 11, 2007 — Susan’s Kitchen

Susan: Ok, we’re having breakfast for dinner tonight! Isn’t that great! [Shit, I should have gone grocery shopping over the weekend.] We’ll have eggs for dinner — and toast! Or, hey, let’s have grilled cheese and tomato soup instead. [They’re kids. It doesn’t matter – they’ll eat anything. Besides, this is healthy-ish.]

Drama Girl: I don’t waaannnnt grilled cheeeeeessssseee.

T-Rex: Mom, I love eggs! I love grilled cheese! I want both, I want both, I want both! I hate tomato soup, but I love eggs! I love grilled cheese! I want both, I want both, I want both!

Susan: Great, T-Rex! [Thank god one of you cooperates and will eat anything I feed you.] Drama Girl, why don’t you have eggs and toast and some soup. The soup will be good for your cold. [Hell if I know, but this is what parents say.]

Drama Girl: But I don’t waaannnnt grilled cheeeeeessssseee.

Susan: I didn’t ask if you wanted grilled cheese, okay? Do you want toast? Do you want butter and jelly on your toast, or just jelly? DO. YOU. WANT. TOAST? Do you want soup, I only have one can of soup left, are you going to eat the soup? [goddammit, I know you’re sick but you don’t make this easy, why didn’t I go grocery shopping, why didn’t I just stop at McDonald’s, McDonald’s isn’t so bad, is it?, I really have to get over to Super Suppers, where is the bread, don’t tell me we don’t have enough bread, phew – just enough bread, etc.]

Drama Girl, slumping over on the chair in dramatic fashion: Fine. I just want jelly on the toast. And I want eggs. And I want the soup.

Susan: Should I make the soup with water or milk? [Gasp! Did I say that out loud??!]



Susan, sighing heavily: Yeah, whatever. [she mixes water in with the condensed soup]

A short time later, the three are sitting at the table: T-Rex with milk, eggs, and grilled cheese (no soup); Drama Girl with milk, eggs (barely touched), toast with jelly (barely touched because there are seeds in it), and soup, which she is eating very, very slowly; and Susan with milk, eggs, grilled cheese and a little soup, trying not to be an emotional eater and wishing she had just drank the bottle of wine in the fridge and gone to bed for the night already.

Drama Girl: How do you get pregnant?

Susan spits out her soup.

Dateline, December 12, 2007 — Susan’s Kitchen

Susan and Drama Girl are getting ready to go to DG’s Brownies Troop holiday party. (No yarn dolls this time.)

Drama Girl: Is Santa Claus real?

Susan freezes but remains calm: What do you think? [Aw, crap…you’re only 8. So soon it comes to this?]

Drama Girl: Mmmm, no, I don’t think he’s real.

Susan: Why do you say that? [ohwhyohwhyohwhy?]

Drama Girl: So-and-so saw her dad last year wrapping presents in the middle of the night when she snuck downstairs.

Susan: How do you know they were Santa’s presents? Maybe they were gifts for her from her dad. [Yeah, yeah, that sounded good…I’m gonna kick that guy’s –]

Drama Girl: [no response, blank stare]

Susan begins to speak about how many people believe Santa represents all the good inside each of us, the joy of giving, especially to those who don’t have as much, of having hope. Drama Girl gets all this, despite her mother’s vague statements.

Susan, trying to be casual and noncommittal: So… do you think there’s a Santa Claus?

Drama Girl: No, I don’t think so.

…But then she goes on to talk about how it must be hard for Santa to do all that work on one night, even with all his elves, and says other fanciful things.

Susan: How ’bout you wait until next year before deciding? [Please believe, baby…]

Drama Girl, looking unconcerned nods, matter-of-fact: OK.

We go to our party. And Susan is glad we have at least one more year.


11 thoughts on “Scenes Not from an Italian Restaurant

  1. lanipai says:

    Oh Lord, I am so glad I am not the only parent that has those dinners! In fact, we just had one of those last week and Susan…..

    How do you get pregnant?

  2. Sophie says:

    One trick a friend of mine does: when his little girl starts doubting the existence of Santa, he reminds her that Santa stops bringing presents to children that don’t believe in him any more. It’s really cute to watch her back pedal and then hedge her bets: “Well, I didn’t say that he definitely does not exist, I’m just saying that he MIGHT not…”

  3. I keep eggs in the refrigerator AT ALL TIMES, just for nights such as those. And lately they seem to be happening more and more often. Fortunately, my kids don’t care. They love eggs. Hubs? Not so much. Oh, well. If he doesn’t like it, he can cook! 😉

  4. Lanipai: I hear it has something to do with birds and bees, flowers and trees…and perhaps a bottle of wine?

    Sophie: Thanks, I’ve heard about that approach before, too. It’s funny because some of my coworkers kids are like 10 or one is almost 11 and is afraid NOT to believe because he thinks he won’t get any gifts. (Not the true meaning of Christmas, granted, but that’s how it goes!)

    Terry: The wine is very, very tempting on nights like that, believe me.

    Madame: I’m glad I’m not the only one relying on breakfast food for dinner. And you’re right. Maybe your husband can become the “creative chef” in your house? Heck, I’d love to hire one of those out!

  5. curt says:

    “How do you get pregnant?”

    now, that’s good stuff. 😉

    whenever my mom made something to eat that I didn’t like, she’d say something like, “shut up and eat it.”

    suffice it to say, it didn’t do much good — I still don’t like cucumbers, acorn squash, potato salad….

  6. Curt, being a parent can be terrifying. First you learn to deal with getting thrown up on and cleaning up stuff that comes OUT of your child you never thought you’d clean (we won’t go any further into that), then you hear their tortured cries for years when all you’re trying to do is cut their toenails, then there is the whining, and then there are the questions — the many, many questions to which you have no answers. They always come when you least expect it.

    Parenting’s fun, really.

    Drama Girl will eat apples and many vegetables (usually uncooked, she likes them crunchy); it’s just finding an entree she likes without this or that on it that I find challenging. And annoying. T-Rex – that kid will eat anything and a lot of it.

  7. Girl, you crack me up.

    I am SO right there with you. I really enjoy your blog… if only to have someone to commiserate with.

    Isn’t it good to know that you’re not the only one going crazy?

    And yes, I know that challenge of deciding, “should I be a good mom or just go for the wine?”


  8. morgan says:

    wish I was still there to experience some of these things with you. every time I read your blog, I miss you guys more and more

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