Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Persuaded to Make Pancakes in a Rush

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Parenting | 0 comments

Cooking organs to set proper expectations of parental love returns

In WWII, the more sought-after cuts of beef were sent to the troops on the front lines. It is unclear whether these made it all the way down to the cannon fodder or if they were reserved for the officers.

In any case, the only thing left for the domestic market was the less desired cuts of meat, which were typically organs — think nose, liver, heart, tongue.

The U.S. Food Administration aggressively marketed to persuade housewives to use organs in all sorts of traditional recipes.

These had two inadvertent positive effects.

The first one had a positive impact on health because organs have vitamin A, B12, and all other sources of micronutrients less readily available in the leaner cuts.

The second one is the setting of proper expectations for kids reacting to what their parents cook for them.

It doesn’t matter what you serve your kids; they always act like they have just been served a plate of juicy brains with pickled feet juice. When moms in WWII served a version of that, the kids’ reaction was appropriate because that’s what they were actually serving them.

I’m not trying to diss organs.

I have eaten my fair share of tongue, heart, brains, and obviously a multitude of livers. My favorite is chicken livers wrapped in bacon, with some Tapatio and lime juice. But that’s not really fair to or speaks to my love of liver because I would, with enough bacon, Tapatio, and lime juice, eat a worn-out sandal.

The other morning, I made pancakes for my oldest daughter, Jovie.

I typically only make pancakes on Sundays, which I have come to rebrand around the house as “Pancake Day.”

But that morning, my daughter asked me for them, and I relinquished. I don’t like making them on regular weekdays because it takes a bit more time away from running around with my hair in metaphorical fire getting them ready to get them out of the house.

My daughter played all her persuasion cards right. She comes from a long line of salespeople and intuitively used many techniques that I typically use in my profession.

She woke up a little earlier than usual, called me into her bed, and while we snuggled, she played out a scene from one of the books I read for her. I identified the scene, went to get the book, and we read it together. When she asked me if I would do pancakes, I was already disarmed and agreed to it, thinking it was a spontaneous decision on my part.

But let’s deconstruct what she did.

She started with a foot in the door, she built rapport, and she had me spend time on her (an investment of my precious resources), which in turn made me buy into the next request. There was the puppy dog close and the use of humor, make-believe, and storytelling to lower my defenses.

More rhetorical devices were used, but I won’t bore you with the theory. Just know that when she made her request, I had no other option but to get to yes.

So, I set out to make her pancakes.

It’s not that complicated since I have a mix. So I started with the mix; I added Acerola cherry powder for her vitamin mix and Pitaya powder, not for her digestion, which it helps with, but for the color pink, and I cooked them.

While making sure I didn’t ruin the first batch (because I don’t believe in the popular advice that ruining the first batch is somehow acceptable), my youngest daughter, Amélie, called for me.

I asked Jovie to go into her sister’s room, turn on the light, and tell her to wait for me. I would be right there.

And that’s when Jovie simply responded, “Nope!”

And that was it.

There was no further explanation, no justification, and no other activity retaining her focus. She just didn’t care that I had done this really nice thing, that I had gone out of my way to make her pink pancakes, that I had added 8 minutes and a half to the morning routine, and that I would pay for it later in the day.

She just sat there on the table and said, “Nope.”

So much for Robert Cialdini’s “evolutionaryly ingrained” principle of reciprocity, I don’t buy it. Kids don’t come with it. We socialize it into them.

I wanted to go ‘Homer Simpson’ on her, but as a rule, I don’t spank, which helps me not to spank in moments of heightened frustration. Instead, I took a deep breath, ran into Amélie’s room, passed a couple of books into her crib, and told her that I would be right back.

When I finished the pancakes, I served Jovie and rocketed into my daughter’s room to change her diaper and dress her.

Jovie sauntered into the room and told me she didn’t like the pancakes that much.

I walked out into the kitchen, and she had eaten five of them.

I guess it is good that she knows not to like food when she is full. But it left me unfulfilled because I was expecting an itty-bitty histrionic parade from her for my effort and sacrifice.

Amélie sat down to eat the pancakes I had made for her sister. Do you know what?

She sang me praises for them.

I’m kidding. She didn’t either.

They both looked at them as if I had just served them brains. I guess that, in a way, I did ruin the first batch.

Later, as I was buckling Amélie, I gave her a kiss, which caught her off guard. She laughed and said, “Thank you, Daddy!”

And that’s why I do it, for the little crumbles of love that will be sprinkled into my day when I least expect it.

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