Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Dinner Successes

For some reason, I have been raking in the compliments on dinner menus this week. Truly, I have never experienced this phenomenon in all my years of parenting, and I have grown a hardened shell when it comes to comments on dinner.

Normally, the first thing I hear is, “I won’t eat that. I can’t stand [fill in the blank].” Or “I hate [fill in the blank].” Sometimes there’s just a teary face on one side of the table as the dinner attendee thinks about how hungry he’s going to be because he doesn’t like the menu. Another attendee tends to be loud about what she won’t eat, and while her feedback bothers the other adult in the family, it only registers with the cook when that other adult complains.

However, compliments on the food do register. They’re just so surprising.

Don’t know if there’s much of a secret except unwittingly appealing to a kid’s palate. The other night it was vegetable fried rice with lots of teriyaki sauce and oil and scrambled egg mixed in like the Asian restaurants make it. The kids told me it was as good as Supon’s veggie friend rice, which we had just eaten a couple nights before. I’m pretty sure that was the compliment of the decade. And all I was trying to do was use up the extra rice in the fridge.

The next night it was breakfast for dinner, which we never do, and I have no idea why because it was such a hit. Note to self: breakfast for dinner often. Throw a simple frittata in the oven, fry up some breakfast sausages, convert a melon into fruit salad, and you’ve got yourself a happy family. Actually, I think you could just serve breakfast links and they’d think you were Julia Child.

Last night? Leftover spaghetti sauce converted into a casserole with a lot of mozzarella cheese. Who knew it could be so easy? But here’s what I heard: “We have been having a lot of good dinners this week. They are yummy.”

I couldn’t help basking in the glow of satisfied, complimentary kids. I guess positive feedback does make a difference. And here I had thought I was immune. 

Now the trick is keeping the streak going.

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Halloween Germs

Yesterday, Ty came home from a Halloween trip to Value Village with his usual get-up. Every year since he was about three, he has opted for a scary mask—the scarier, the better—and some sort of robe. Very simple, really. This year he came home with a mask of a gorilla with pointed teeth and a women’s leather coat that covers him to his knees.

I love the mask. I told him I’d like to wear it next year.

“Do you want to try it on?” he asked.


And then I got this queasy feeling, much as I now get a queasy feeling at the thought of trying on hats in a store. Once you go through a lice outbreak in your house, you never look at hats the same way again (the lice thing was several years ago—we’re not live, don’t worry).

This time? Swine flu germs. Think about it. How many people do you think tried on that mask before my boy bought it, breathing their soggy germs all over the nose cavity? How many of the multitude of masks have been tried on by hundreds of people only to be put back on the rack?

I’m not normally a germ phobe—I’m the last person to ask my kids to wash up before dinner—but this year I often find myself making them wash their hands when they get home from school. So far we haven’t been hit with flu germs, but really it’s only a matter of time, I think, before we go down like dominoes.

Somehow Ty and I got distracted, and I didn’t have to try on the mask. I’m going to give it 72 hours. Do you think that’s long enough?

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Cell Phone Liberty

We have gone down the cell-phone-for-kids path, at long last, after months and months of putting it off. Our middle schooler is now connected (likely to her teachers’ dismay) and loving it. We finally said yes because she was willing to buy her own phone, that’s how much she wanted it.

After all that, though, I’m not sure how much she’s actually using the phone because we’ve decided on a pay-as-you-go plan with a $20 plan for 90 days, and a $5 text plan for 30 days (paid for by parents). Exceed either plan in those timeframes, and she gets to purchase additional minutes with her babysitting money.

Draconian? Maybe. We like to think the limited minutes will help her value them and use them less, keep her calling her friends, and them calling her, on the land line—that most ancient of technologies—to avoid using up minute time. I think that’s the thing that bothers me most about cell phones—the anonymity of them that keeps parents out of the loop. Not that we aren’t already. Our kids are independent beings with hours of school time to have conversations out of their parents’ hearing. As they should. Still, there’s such a thing as too much independence and anonymity.

There’s also the addiction to the cell ring that gets me, the constant interruption of it, the secret texting under the desk at school, texting from inside a pocket (never mind driving a car at the same time). Always being connected but not in the here and now. I don’t think Leah’s progressed to these uses yet, but it’s a mighty slippery slope.

But I must admit, on Leah’s second day of ownership, I got a genuinely needy call from her friend (because Leah couldn’t talk herself), who asked if I could pick them up on the walk home from school because Leah’s nose was bleeding like crazy and she was a mess. She was also, I knew, supposed to be to picking up a pair of twins from the elementary school for after-school care. In about fifteen minutes. 

Of course I would come pick her up.

I found the girls, got Leah home, got the bleeding stopped, and helped her clean up, all in time for the after-school kid care. I’m sure she feels pretty smug about owning a mobile phone right about now.

I guess in the old days (last week), she would have walked home with a bleeding nose. And she would have been late picking up the girls, and she would have had to call the school to let them know. On the land line.

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Public Appearances with Mom

Yesterday, Leah came home from school and told me she was going to the high school football game tonight with her friend, H. “Were you planning to ask or just inform?” I said.

“Oh. Can I go?”

“Is her mom dropping you off or is she going too?”

“She’s going too. So’s H.’s dad. They want to see R. (H.’s older brother) in the half-time band performance. ”

If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s high school marching bands. I have no idea why because I never did band myself, but now as a parent I find those horrible uniforms quite endearing.

“Really?” I said. “Hmm, I might like to go too.”

Leah’s face fell. “You want to come? Why would you want to come?”

“Why not, it would be fun to see R. in the band.”

“I don’t want you to come.”

It’s here. That day everyone told us would come, but I never quite believed would arrive. That day your kid no longer thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread, and not only that, she would rather lick the toilet seat than be seen with you. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as bad as the toilet seat, but we’re a hair away, I can feel it. Somehow I always thought I’d be exempt, that I would never be quite that uncool. Okay, I admit I’m not cool, but I didn’t think my daughter would notice. Or care. 

Today, Leah and I negotiated. She decided it was okay if I went as long as she and her buddy could sit elsewhere and I promised to sit with the adults. And not bug her.




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