Mug of War

Mug of War

It was early in the morning and since Mommy had just left for work, it was time for Daddy to take the stage for my daily variety show. Although I’ve been known to perform intimate acoustic Disney-song concerts, reproduce Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” on the Magna Doodle, and even regularly scare the robotic tigers my son has imagined into existence back into “other houses, but not this house,” I was feeling especially wiped out on this particular morning. The Twins had just gotten over a nasty cold, and had so generously shared it with me, so as I sleepily hacked up a lung, I decided I needed a power-up and fired up our Keurig (arguably the best purchase we have made as new parents). And yes, I realize that coffee is not a fantastic idea when one has a cold, as it discourages hydration, but when one is accustomed to caffeine every morning, one is inclined to not pile the withdrawal headache on top of fiery sinuses and a gravelly throat. So there.

“Daddy?” my daughter half-whined. “You come play in my room?”

This is a new fun game I play with my daughter. She recently has become enamored with the novelty of playing with all of her toys with Daddy in her room. So much so, in fact, that every moment of every day I am home with them, my presence is requested in her room.

This, of course, would be fine if I didn’t have another child who expects an equal amount of Daddy’s attention. But I do, and there are times when I’m in the middle of building a perfectly-scaled replica of Mount Rushmore with Duplos with my son, or helping him line up his beloved “sea treatures” on the floor by species, and can’t just drop everything to “go play in her room.”

Help!And so I tell her “No,” invariably triggering a hissy fit which lasts way longer than it needs to. In fact, just the other day, I was rocking The Beatles’ Help! on vinyl at my son’s request (yeah, he’s pretty awesome), and in the middle of the opening title track, my little girl invited me to play in her room. After I explained that Daddy and Brother were busy doing Awesome Things, she staged a very vocal protest spanning almost all of Side A. On a side-note, my resilient son didn’t let the screaming infringe upon his Beatlemania, and he just kept literally dancing circles around his sister as she kicked and punched the floor.

Fortunately for all parties, on this particular morning my son was preoccupied with a book, so Operation Oh Please, God, Don’t Let My Daughter Flip Out While I Feel This Terrible was all systems go.

“Sure, baby. I’ll come play in your room, but first, Daddy needs to get his coffee.”

“Okaaaaay,” she sang. “You bring your coffee in my room, too.” Even at two and a half, the Twins have learned how important it is to wait for Mommy and Daddy to get coffee at all times, a parenting tactic I highly recommend.

I pulled the warm mug from its place on the Keurig, added some sugar, and, grabbing a spoon, began to stir.

My daughter was still at my feet, watching intently (just in case Daddy tried to bail on the playing in the room). “Daddy, what are you doing with your coffee?”

“Oh, Daddy’s just putting some sugar in it and stirring it in because I like how it tastes.”

“That’s not nice,” she grimaced.

I was simultaneously baffled and entertained. It’s not nice to stir my coffee? This was going to be good. I just knew it. “Why not, baby?” I probed.

She pointed an accusatory finger at me and sternly replied:

“Don’t play with your food.”

As a parent, there are times when you see glimpses of yourself and your partner in your children, particularly when they turn your own rules back around on you, and as my daughter reprimanded me with the exact intonation and body language my wife uses on her, I just lost my mind laughing.

By the time I stopped, the window for explaining myself had essentially closed, so I figured I’d let this one go and take a stab at it the next time I “played with” my coffee.

Mug in hand, I followed my daughter as she skipped elatedly into her room, where we played for about 30 seconds before my son appeared in the doorway.

“Daddy, you come play out here with me.”


This post was Freshly Pressed by WordPress on August 26, 2013. Hip Hop Hooray!


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If not, don’t play with your food.


  1. reinventionofmama

    My girls are four, and oh is this familiar! It sure goes by fast. My girls sing, “I love coffeeeee, I love coffeeeeee” just like their mom. It’s a VITAL part of the morning. I don’t think I ever drank a cup pre-twins.


  2. Raiha

    My sisters may be 28, but believe me, I can relate! We’re like an awesome trio, but there comes a time when we have to split. And the split usually means I’m half on one side, and half on the other. That usually happens on their birthday.

    It goes like this:

    “Raiha help me buy a present for Saba”

    Me: “Um okay, what do you have in mind?”

    “A perfume.”


    “Raiha, I think we should buy a perfume for Saira”

    Me: “Crap”

    At the mall:

    “Raiha keep Saba distracted so I can buy her present”

    After two seconds:

    “Raiha keep Saira distracted so I can buy HER present”

    After a few minutes, Saira comes back and whispers: “I can’t find the perfume Saba wanted! Come with me to that other shop across the street”

    From my other side:

    “Raiha the perfume Saira wanted is out-of-stock here, we have to go to the other branch, come with?”


    Them: “You ruined the surprise”

    And then they huff and glare at me together.

    Me: “What just happened?”


  3. mithriluna

    Hahaha! Wait until she’s 18 and she asks you “What time is dinner?” but what she really means is “Stop hanging out on Facebook and start dinner already. It’s 7 pm”. :)


  4. bmo2002

    i know what that feels like im a kid and with all those comments your probably not gonna pay much attention to me but im a big brother to three sisters the “sour patch kids” (what i refer to the twins as when i blog) i never use real names the smallest one i call tiny not many kids have a blog but if you read mine youll see im not like other kids for most kids summer vacation means no responsibillities but not me if im not at school its either chores i have six helping mom cleaning hanging out or enjoying what quit i have but mostly little kids although im not alone i have mom i still pitch in A LOT especially when i want mom to sleep in and i make breakfast for the sour patch kids i now have found someone who does the same thing my twins sound just like yours so finding someone who does the same thing is great please if you bother to read this come to my blog and leave a comment im a new blogger so i dont have many comments but be sure to take a look


  5. dillinger1

    This sounds like my “twin narrative”, although both me and the wife work. Toddlers are clever. And when you are dealing with twins, well…you know.


  6. bridawn

    I feel like I could perfectly envision your daughter’s face when she told you not to play with your food. My (almost two-year-old) nephew can give the dirtiest looks if he so chooses, especially if I won’t pick him up and show him his beloved cuckoo clocks. (Which he asks to see by “cuckooing” at us until we cave in).


  7. originaltitle

    A great read and hilarious. I hope when I have kids that they’re as entertaining as yours! Thanks for sharing such a great, honest story of parenting.


  8. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Pretty funny read! I get the same non-verbal, attention-pulling tactics from my dogs…
    Congrats on getting pressed!!


    • John Pseudonymous

      Well, I don’t know about that. I’d venture to say double just means twice the intensity. It means both double trouble and double awesomeness. It just depends on what’s happening at the moment.


  9. LindaGHill

    It’s the moments like that which can almost make you forget how miserable you feel, isn’t it?
    And I agree, the kids must know that nothing happens before coffee! Haha!


  10. coffeegrounded

    And the working spouse always asks, ” So what did you do today? ” … As they scan the landscape and sniff for a hint of, “What’s for dinner?”
    Oh, and then there’s that,
    “Not tonight, dear. I have a headache.”
    But then those children grow up, move away and the last hanging thread of the apron string beckons for, “Just one more day, please?”
    I miss them so very much. Enjoy the mayhem, it’s a beautiful blessing disguised as an exhausting effort until you wake to find that life has sped faster than you thought possible.
    Bless you and thanks for sharing. :)


    • John Pseudonymous

      Agreed. It’s already happening so fast. I feel very fortunate to have spent so much time home with my kids because a lot of dads don’t get that opportunity. Trying to soak it all in and appreciate every moment as much as I can, because like you said, they’re not this age forever.


  11. Mr. CATSOE

    I once read somewhere that W.C. Fields, while making a movie with a toddler, actually put Vodka in the child’s bottle to “quiet” her down. Hmm.. what did you say you were stirring in your coffee..?? LoL Children learn by imitating and repeating.. That, sometimes, can be hilarious..!! :) Very Much enjoyed your post. Great story-telling.


  12. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 46: They Just Have To Go, ‘Cause They Don’t Know Wack | A VERY STRANGE PLACE
  13. beautifuldaymama

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while and I was really glad to see you featured on Freshly Pressed today. Way to go!

    Kids really do have impeccable timing. Its pure instinct. They can sense relaxation from a mile away, that’s when they make their power moves.


  14. Pingback: Mug of War | ihow.
  15. Ethan Yarbrough

    Funny story, well told. A friend of mine with grown kids told me his kids can only remember back to when they were 3 or 4 years old. Their first 3 years are lost to the mists of time. My friends theory is such forgetfulness in children is by design — it gives us parents a couple to make mistakes without consequences. I don’t know. But it sounds like you’re off to a good start with your two. Good luck and keep on writing.


    • John Pseudonymous

      Thanks! That’s an interesting perspective, and it makes a lot of sense. It’s probably a good thing that our kids can’t all remember so far back, because–as evidenced by several of the posts on this blog–I’m definitely making it up as I go to some extend and am not without mistakes. I don’t know about there not being any consequences, but I guess it does lower the stakes a little in the event of a screw-up.


  16. thejoyfulprayergroup

    This made my whole day! Enjoy them while you are able. Soak up every moment- you have a wonderful gift in that you find the humor in the not-so-funny-moments. This will see you through my friend. From Laura, the JPG


  17. lovethebadguy

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed again! (And feel better soon! I, too, have spent the last weak sniffing and spluttering and hacking up a lung, so I feel your pain, on a “Well-at-least-I-don’t-have-twins” sorta level.)


  18. therisingphoenix317

    Aww, I loved this. What a nice way to end my night…knowing I will go through the same thing with my three year old daughter in the morning! THIS morning I made coffee and she made me play Candy Land with her before I left for school, but I am glad it was not in her room!


    • John Pseudonymous

      Thanks so much! I actually love that desire they have to play with me. Although I’m not always up for it, I remind myself that it’s not always going to be there and when they’re teenagers they’re going to want me to get lost. Still, though, I could do without the tug of war.


    • John Pseudonymous

      Wow, triplets? Kudos. My wife and I always talk about how with the Twins, at least we can each hold/chase/take care of one. But with triplets, you’re kind of outnumbered. Of course, you also have triple the awesome, so I guess it works out.


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