Three-year-old playbook: Unhappy meal

Bob Barker did his part for many years on the popular game show The Price is Right with the public service announcement to spay and neuter your pets to curb overpopulation.

In that spirit, if you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, heed this warning.

THREE-YEAR-OLD PLAYBOOK – Chapter 6: Dinner or Any Meal, Really

Like a cat that hasn’t been fed in days, moan and complain that I’m super hungry. Demand a snack every four seconds even though dinner will be ready in two minutes. Demand dinner even while holding snack in mouth. This must be what it’s like to live in poverty-stricken Ethiopia. This place is the worst! I’m so hungry I’ll probably die any minute.

No matter what’s for supper, proclaim that I hate it and don’t want it and you don’t love me and you’re trying to starve me. I need a phone so I can call Child Protective Services and complain about you and have them bring me a snack!

Sob and have bits of snack fall out of mouth and onto floor. Refuse to pick up sadness crumbs.

Refuse to wash hands. Why would I do that? Why would anyone? It just causes delays getting the food I don’t want into my mouth hole. I’m so hungry!

Climb into chair. SOMEBODY SCOOT ME IN!!

Get presented chicken nuggets. Get super excited.

But wait.

Get super upset. Realize I’m three and am only allowed to be happy for six seconds out of every day.

Turn around in chair and stick foot out far enough to touch sister’s chair. She hates that so I will do it always and forever.

Fall out of chair.

Hurt absolutely nothing. Cry anyway.

Climb back into chair. SOMEBODY SCOOT ME IN!!!

Eat a single crumb from the top corner of the nugget. Proclaim “I’m done!”

Flick a chicken nugget off plate. It’s just so flickable.

Get down from chair for no reason and run around. Exclaim “I’m not hungry!”

Ask for a snack, just to see the fun vein pop out of dad’s head again. It looks like a snake! I love snakes. Make a three-minute-long hissing sound.

Get super angry because I’M SO HUNGRY. Why won’t anyone feed me?!

Get back in chair. SOMEBODY SCOOT ME IN!

Scoot chair out.

Get super upset about not being able to reach supper I simultaneously don’t want at all yet want so much. Why don’t you understand me? This must be what mom feels like all the time.

Um … why is one of my chicken nuggets way over there? I can’t reach it! Who would flick it way over there?

Proclaim I can’t SEE chicken nuggets. Or supper. Or anybody. You can’t prove I didn’t just go blind.

Drop spoon on the floor deliberately while looking at dad but insist I didn’t do it. Believe it with the conviction of an innocent man on trial for murder.

Dad asks who did drop it. Insist it was Captain America.


Call sister a chicken nugget. She gets emotionally hurt despite that nobody – including me – understands how that could possibly be an insult.

Put foot back on her chair.

Demand honey.

Get super angry and yell when honey is put on plate. I never wanted this WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

Get stuck trying to escape out the back of the chair. Cry hysterically that the chair is trying to eat me. Why would you sit me in a trap chair?!


I don’t really need help, but if I can prevent dad from making or eating his food, I consider it a win.

Start peeing before fully have pants down, staring at dad the whole time.

Refuse to wash hands.

Dad says I won’t get a cookie unless I wash hands.

Pout on the bathroom floor for 15 minutes.

Eventually wash hands (MY IDEA!) so quickly that water doesn’t even touch them.

Climb back into seat. SOMEBODY SCOOT ME IN!

Demand juice even though juice is right in front of my face.

Insist this is NOT JUICE.

Put foot back on sister’s chair.


q q q

*The next day mom is in charge of supper*

*Is an angel*

Wife: You’re such a good little eater.

*Dad leaves for Mexico*


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or via the local sanitarium. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny to watch him slowly creep into madness.