Kids, Dinner, and 3 Pet Peeves

STella at dinnertime

I love my kids. I’m sure you love your kids too. But I’m betting that some of you can relate to at least 1 of the 3 pet peeves I had as a young mom raising 2 little ones.

Pet Peeve #1:
  • Child: What are we having for dinner?
  • Me: Chicken and rice (or whatever wonderful thing I was whipping up for their next meal).
  • Child: I don’t like that. (To hear it perfectly in your mind, say the word “like” and stretch out the “i” sound. )

After a while, I stopped being truthful with my answer and always replied with “rocks and grass.” That answer pretty much stopped the conversation.

Pet Peeve #2:

Child: How much dinner do I have to eat before I can get dessert?

Me: All of it.

I truly don’t remember the answers that were tossed back at me. I just remember the tired feeling of the negotiations. The best thing that happened to me as a Mom was taking a parenting class. You know that kids don’t come with manuals, right? Such a travesty. Cars come with 100+ page manuals for heaven’s sake. I learned to put the power back in a child’s hand by telling them they can choose to eat their dinner and get dessert, or they can choose not to eat their dinner and not get dessert. Of course, they didn’t get any other food until breakfast the next day either, and they knew that was part of the deal. That problem-solving technique changed my LIFE!

Pet Peeve #3:

Me: Dinner’s ready.

……silence….. no one comes to the table.

Me: Dinner’s ready!

…… I might hear some shuffling and some books closing, but not nearly soon enough for me. When I say dinner’s ready, that means it’s on the table and should be about 30 seconds from getting on a spoon and being guided into someone’s mouth.

I learned to start calling everyone to the table 5 minutes earlier than when dinner would actually be ready.

So why am I thinking about, or telling you about, this now? All of these years later?

Well, it will probably sound silly. But I’ll share it anyway.

The other day I asked our dogs, Riley and Stella, “Are you ready to eat?” It was dinnertime, after all.

Stella RAN into the kitchen and stood right in front of her bowl. She turned circles, in her excitement, until I put food in her dish, at which time she immediately started eating.

Dang, that felt good.

I told you it was silly. But it really made me smile.

STella at dinnertime
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Comments (6)

  1. Carol Detwiler

    Karen, my son used to ask me all the same questions about dinner (PP#1). I finally took on the voice of the wicked witch of the West and while wringing my hands I would say; “Poison, my pretty. Poison!” Today he is 40 and it is the memory that garners the most laughter as he deals with his own littles!!

    October 29, 2021 at 6:19 am
    • Karen Schulz

      Oh, Carol, I love your answer! Way more fun to say that “rocks and grass!” And I lOVE that he remembers it as he deals with his own children. 🙂 Such a great memory for you both. Thanks for sharing.

      October 29, 2021 at 6:25 am
  2. Margaret Scarlett

    Karen, I wish I had your patience with #3 when my kids were younger. I would call for dinner, call a second time muttering under my breath when nobody answered or came, then totally lose it inside as I called the third time. My daughter, then in her early teens, was the only one to show up on time… usually because she was helping me! My boys, one a year younger and one a year older, and hubby would drag their heels, usually rough-housing or playing video games together. One day, I had enough. I had made homemade chicken soup with rice. A big stock pot full so there would be lots of leftovers for lunches. I called, and called, and called. Somewhere inside I clocked out, and so picked up the pot and headed to the sink. My daughter screamed, “No, Mom, please don’t” as I tipped the pot over the sink. The guys came quick, reacting to her scream not my calls, just in time to see the last of the soup slip out of the pot. When they all stared at me I said, “Guess what happens next time you do not answer or come when I call you for dinner? PB&J sandwiches for supper tonight.” That was almost fifteen years ago. Guess how many times that had to be repeated… yep, none! When I call them for dinner, I sometimes hear, “I will be there as soon as I save my game.” Almost every time, all are in the kitchen in less than a minute and all are saying, “I’m on my way now!” My daughter did tell me that I really should have dipped our soup out first before I dumped it, then dumped the rest to the outside dogs, and let the guys have the PB &J…. By the way, I do not recommend dumping soup in the sink. The rice really clogged the drain up!

    October 29, 2021 at 12:25 pm
    • Karen Schulz

      Oh, Margaret. This is hysterical! You must have definitely reached your tolerance limit to pour dinner down the drain. Your daughter has a point. If the males were eating PBJ and smelling your soup…. LOL. But your actions were totally effective, so it worked. I am still chuckling over their actions now.. “I’m on my way.” Sometimes it takes “tough love,” right? Thanks for the tip on the rice! 😉

      October 30, 2021 at 6:35 am
  3. DeLoris Musick

    I love these stories! I have a knack that on the 2nd call, I say COME TO DINNER in a way they knew I meant business. See, you can say Come To Dinner, but when you say COME TO DINNER it means something different! Ha Ha!

    November 4, 2021 at 11:59 am
    • Karen Schulz

      Ahhh… so NOW you tell me! 😉

      November 4, 2021 at 12:19 pm
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