Mmmm….Tortilla Soup! It is so good despite the fact that I think it looks like hot puke in a bowl. It kind of smells that way too now that I think about it, irregardlessly though (hey Bruce, I used that for you) it is so darn good! Especially with tortilla chips crushed on top and cheese melting all over…yummy! I made a double batch, it is that good!
Besides, what better way to end a cold, breezy, overcast spring day than with a nice family dinner. Who am I kidding. We eat dinner together every night and I know darn well that it is not a great way to end the day. Seriously, three boys forced to sit still and eat whatever concoction I place in front of them without complaining, fighting, moaning, arguing, screaming, yelling, crying, whining, bellyaching, protesting, lamenting, nagging, and absquatulating. Right, like that’s going to happen.
I loaded everyone up with an age appropriate serving of Tortilla Soup and placed the bowls on the table. Mmmm….I can’t wait to eat it! Tyler made a b-line for his spot after seeing what we were having. Trey on the other hand, stopped short of the table and had a look of pure disgust on his face. When he noticed me looking at him he faked a smile and slowly sat down, and I do mean slowly. Oh yes, I have my target in sight now….there is no escaping this one Trey because I am locked and loaded and you just so happen to sit right next to me. 😉
Things start out in the usual manner with the boys arguing over who gets to pray and who gets to listen and who gets to get zapped by lightning for driving their mother nuts. Bruce brought his a-game to the table because as soon as they started he cut them off (thank God! My first prayer answered….temporary silence!) and said the prayer himself. I won’t lie either, I was secretly praying that’d he ask God to deliver a smack down to them like they’d never forget….or at least to make them all just get along for one meal, just one meal!! He didn’t. Bruce and I are still working on the whole telepathic communication thing with each other. We watched Men Who Stare at Goats for ideas but it was a futile attempt, we’ll never master the craft. Bummer.
As soon as the Amen’s were said it was like something flipped a switch in Trey’s head. Kind of like the director motioning to him that it was his queue to go on stage as the leading male in his role to piss everyone off. Oh, and had this been a performance he would have received a standing ovation and been asked to come out and do an encore performance.
“I don’t like this.” He mumbled under his breath as he pushed his bowl away from him.
“Sure you do, you ate all of it the last time we had this.” was my response. Quite frankly that line is a crock of poo because I had absolutely no recollection as to whether or not he liked it the last time we ate it. None. But I am his mother and I just made this delicious meal for him and he was going to sit there and savor every last morsel in that bowl. That and I knew from when he arrived at the table that he had already decided he didn’t like it and that kind of attitude really drives me bonkers. Oh yes, I saw the way he looked at that bowl….that bowl that looked like it was filled with hot cat puke. I can’t lie, that is what it looks like.
“I do?” he asked me.
Bruce chimed in with a helpful “Yes you do. Now stop complaining and eat it already.” I see Bruce has as good of a memory as I do regarding Tortilla Soup and Trey. Sometimes parenting is so satisfying (insert a satisfying sigh here).
I’ll spare you the details of the dinner conversations but a woman can only take so much, and I was nearly at my daily quota when we started eating, so it didn’t take them much time to drive me closer and closer to insanity. I had to regain control or I was going to lose it. LOSE IT I tell you.
“Hey, I have an idea.” I said. “Why don’t you three take turns saying something nice about each other. Tyler will go first.”
Tyler was looking at me with that are you serious look on his face. For goodness sake, this child is eleven-years old, he should know by now that I am full of all kinds of crazy ideas that generally involve them. This was no time to wish your mother was sane. Besides, this was a relatively mellow and mild idea, he should be pleased and relieved. 🙂
“Ok, here are the rules.” I continued. “You have to say one nice thing about Trey, and then one nice thing about Trygg. When you are done they will get a turn. No repeating what was already said and it has to be nice. Got it? It has to be nice?”
I must admit, they did pretty good at this and Trey managed to complain the entire time about his food. After they did the nice things I had them each say one thing that their brothers did that was naughty. Honestly, I was really hoping to get some juicy details out of them about what they do behind our backs. Not so lucky. Seems all that ooey gooey niceness turned our conversation into a disappointing love fest. Hippies of the nation unite, I have three new recruits for you! Even when they were complaining about each other they were nice. I know, I know…..it was kind of satisfying to see them being nice for a change.
I only let them do the naughty round once. Sure it would have been wicked fun for Bruce and I to let them continue, but when one of them suggested the one of them had stinky farts I knew it was going to go downhill fast. After the naughty round I had them each say one thing they wished their brothers did. Boring!! They were tapped out of their creative juices and Trey was about to wish his brothers could eat his Tortilla Soup.
By this time Tyler was on his second serving. Trygg had made minimal headway into his bowl, but his progress was slow and steady. Look, when progress is being made I don’t care how slow it is…it’s still progress. That and I knew to mix his tortilla chips into his soup in advance. That way he was forced to eat the soup to get at his chips. Works like a charm on four-year olds. Not so much on seven-year olds though. Trey tried every trick in the book (imagine these being said in the voice of a whining seven-year old boy).
“My stomach hurts.”
“My tongue hurts.”
“I have a bump in my mouth and this makes it hurt.”
“It makes me want to puke.”
“I don’t like it.”
and his favorite one, “I hate it.”
Really? You hate it? Did I not just spend my evening preparing this feast for you? I cooked this soup with love and when you cook with love everything tastes better. Even Tortilla Soup. Hate is a pretty strong word mister and you better be prepared to demonstrate just how much you mean that. Yep, that’s what I was thinking. Remind me to serve a side of suck it up kid you’re going to eat it anyway with dinner next time. Truth be told, he probably said how much he hated it at least a hundred times, maybe more. He even went so far as to say “I must have liked it better the last time we had it because I hate it this time.”
It came down to eat your food or get a spanking for every bite left in the bowl. I was cheering “go Bruce, go Bruce” on the inside. Trey chose to eat….and to increase his vocal and visual dislike of his meal. Just what I was hoping he’d do (that is all sarcasm..).
Seriously child. It is only soup and you are the only one at the table complaining. I mean, if Tyler had seconds then you know it was good. Tyler never eats anything so I know it was good if he ate more than what he was served. I especially liked the dry heave, I’m going to puke routine. My kids have it down to an art, I swear they are taking lessons from the cat when I’m not looking. The problem is that I just don’t care. Look, dinner already looks like puke. Puking in it isn’t going to change anything. Except maybe the smell of it, but that’s it. Color, texture, chunks, none of that is going to change on round two.
Trey made one more attempt at his “I hate it” routine before I had reached my limit. I was fed up and this child was relentless.
I leaned in towards him as he whimpered to me, “I hate it mom. I hate the way it tastes.” Oh, he’s pulling at my heart-strings. 😦
Whatever! You told me you hated my food more than any person should ever have to hear it and you just don’t care. You are so going to eat that. Every last bite of it. Ok, regaining internal composure…. I look at him with a puppy dog expression of sympathy and understanding which caused him to crack the slightest little crooked smile. Busted. Oh he is so busted. He thought he had me, problem is that I’m pretty heartless. He thought I was going to cave and let him be done without eating, poor kid.
“I hate the way it tastes mom.” He muttered again. This time with that sheepish grin on one side of his face while his eyes were pleading with me.
“Ok, Trey.” I said. “Would it taste better if I spit in it? I can spit in it for you if you think that will make it taste better?” He was looking at me it total bewilderment while is brothers were trying to withhold their moans and groans and giggles of disgust.
“I’ll spit it in it Trey if you want me to. But you’re eating it. Do you want it like it is or do you want me to spit in it?” I cocked my head to one side, raised my eyebrows, and looked at him like I was eagerly awaiting his answer. As if I didn’t already know what he was going to choose.
Yeah, he ate it. He complained the entire time, but he ate it. Just as it was served to him – spit free.
Oh yeah, dinner at our house is always a treat. You’re welcome to stop by sometime. Spit is always free. 🙂