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Cookery, and more

I feel I have been to the very end of the internet looking for a dessert to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner and I am growing frustrated, so I will turn it over to you. The only requirements are that it not be a pie (at least, not your standard pie) as my sister-in-law is doing pie and my mother doesn't like it, and that it go with pumpkin ice cream, which I am determined to make with my new ice cream maker mixer attachment thing. Go.

Is it common for children starting kindergarten to morph into rude, disrespectful, back-talking, soul-trying people who make you wonder how they shot from five to fourteen in three months? I don't talk about Mia here much anymore, because she's reached that point where I feel saying too much about her is violating her privacy, but sweet jeebus. Her new favorite phrases are "shut up" and "you can't make me" and she is lucky that her father and I both feel it is inappropriate to ever raise a hand to a child because nothing else is working and it is really, really tempting sometimes. We've talked to her about it, we know she is seeing this stuff at school and is curious about what will happen if she tries it, we know she is starting to test her independence, but we can't go on like this. I could use some new strategies up in here, if anybody has been there done that and lived to tell the tale.

(And don't get me wrong, she's still my perfect angel snowflake and isn't spending all of her time pouting in her room reapplying her black eyeliner, but the level of conflict is getting out of control.)

Comments (35)

How about a chocolate bread pudding? I bet that would be good with pumpkin ice cream.

I don't have any advice on Mia as my little snowflake is only 2 and hasn't hit that stage yet.

Oh that lovely stage where kids interact with other kids and bring home the shut up and you can't make me. (Be prepared, Owen will pick it up faster!)
Okay, time for a both parent chat with our little snowflake. Both of you sit her down quietly and explain to her, that in this house, or grandma and grandpa's etc we do not use language like that. Explain to her that it is rude and hurtful and that you will not tolerate it. Explain that she needs to always show you love and respect. Just like you show her love and respect.
Then, here is the tough part, you need to explain that if she doesn't comply you will have to give her time outs. Explain that this rude behavior won't be tolerated...period.
Oh my goodness it is tough, but it will serve her well later in life.
Dessert. Pumpkin roll? Apple cake?

Pumpkin bread pudding would be good too.

As for the backtalk and attitude - yes, it's normal. And yes, it's annoying as heck. We use a system in school with our chatty (sometimes mouthy) 6-year-old. He starts each day out with 4 "hush" points, which are little fake dollars we made with his picture on them. Every time he talks in school when he isn't supposed to, his teacher asks him to take one point away. At the end of the day, he brings home whatever points remain and saves them up to cash in for prizes that come in five-point increments. It starts with little things like a prize from the dollar-store-filled prize basket for 5 points and ranges on up to a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's for 50 points. Works like a charm, and you could probably do something at home for Mia. Every time she speaks rudely, she loses a point.

I have different, more boy like problems with Michael, but I hear from my friends with girls this is common.

I have found rewards with better than punishments. Can you find some kind of reward system when she is a "first time listener." We use a bead jar. He earns a bead and then can cash in the beads for a toy or an activity when he fills his jar. It's not perfect but he is responding to it. Email me for full deets.

I've got nothin' on the dessert front, but you are definitely not alone in the backtalk department.

I think all of the suggestions already made are great ideas - for us, this was one of those problems for which we had to try a number of different approaches before something worked.

One thing that finally did make a difference was that I snapped and got really mad and yelled. I felt awful immediately afterwards. When I told my mom about it, though, she said, "Well, maybe that's not such a bad thing. She is old enough to understand that you have feelings, too, and that she cannot take you for granted."

Since then, I have really made a point to tell my daughter that something makes me mad or hurts my feelings. I try not to yell - that wasn't the helpful part - but it makes me feel better not to hide my feelings, and it makes her much more aware of the consequences of her actions.

We also practice imagining ourselves in each other's shoes. This works better with sibling or friend conflicts, which are the theme of 1st grade around here. It's all about developing empathy.

So, there you go. FWIW. More importantly, just know that every 5-6 year old girl I know has gone through this.

Cranberry cobbler.

I hate the sass. Hate. Haaaaate.

I agree with chocolate bread pudding. Paula Dean has a great recipe that I bed you can find on the food network website.

And oh holy hell. I was so excited about how great four was starting to be. I don't want to think it only lasts until kindergarten.

Dessert: those awesome lace oatmeal cookies that are really more sugary/buttery than floury/oatmealy. You could have them on the side, or crumble them over the pumpkin ice cream. Oh my. I might have to make some as my Thanksgiving contribution.

Kindergarten: we had the same problem, but it's calmed down, mostly. I think our's was mostly a combination of being tired and not used to that level of structure on a daily basis, much less for a whole week. So, eh. Not much help. Lots of sympathy, though.

Oh yes, my son did the same thing, but when he started full-day pre-K. I am sure he learned it at school. But, I will bet that Mia is very well behaved at school, and just can't keep it together any more at home. It's small consolation, but home is their safe space, where they can let out the emotions etc that they keep bottled up at school all day. My guy is in first grade now, and I am still reminding myself of that. I too am tempted to try to beat it out of him (I DON'T ACTUALLY DO IT, OF COURSE), because my god is it a challenging phase.

And cranberry cobbler sounds good. I have an awesome recipe for apple bars, which always disappear very quickly.

I was going to suggest a pumpkin roll, which is my family's classic Thanksgiving dessert. It's like a jelly roll, but with pumpkin cake and cream cheese filling. Google it and you'll find a zillion recipes.

But I also like the lacy oatmeal cookie suggestion. Not Thanksgiving-themed, but it would go delightfully with the pumpkin ice cream. Or perhaps gingersnaps?

I made a pumpkin spice cake last week that our family loved:

I didn't have baking chocolate or chocolate chips and it was great without it, but I bet with those it would be even better.

I don't tolerate backtalk in my house. 'Shut up' wasn't anything I was ever allowed to say when I was growing up, and I don't allow it either. A month or so ago we were having issues with my 3-year-old son biting his sister regularly, and my 7-year-old daughter saying inappropriate words. So we sat them down and explained to both why we don't allow them to do those things, and established a consequence for future offenses: hot sauce.

We use Frank's Red Hot, nothing spicier, and only half a teaspoon or so, so it's a highly unpleasant taste on its own but nothing that's going to hurt them. I also offer them a glass of water immediately after. Both of my kids have had two repeat offenses and nothing further. We don't otherwise do corporal punishment of any kind, but I felt that this was an effective way to make the connection between unwanted mouth behaviors on their part, and a quick related response on ours.

Sorry, no blow-your-mind dessert recipes. No regular dessert recipes either. But I wanted to say that YES, what Mia is doing is similar to what we experienced too. In fact, I think each school year so far has had a season of this... ugliness. I try using direct words to define the behavior and then be very clear about my expectation (The way your voice sounds to me right now is sassy. In our house, we think that being sassy is rude, and it's not allowed. Please stop talking to me with those words and with your voice sounding that way.) This method has only produced mediocre success, but at least they are AWARE of what they are doing. (I honestly think they just hear stuff and mindlessly repeat it sometimes.)

My Kindergartner is doing the same thing, PLUS an added eye roll and the occasional "I don't care". It's all from school and I was warned to expect it. I have spoken to her teacher to see what's going on in class (because she won't tell me anything about school when I ask) and she is a perfect angel and helper during class. So, I suppose she is watching and listening to the kids at school and using it at home to see how far she can get. I told her it really hurts my feelings to hear her say those things. Then when she said it again, I "cried" and told her she really hurt my feelings (extreeme I know) that seemed to do it. For now. :)

This one looks like it would go best with Pumpkin Ice Cream.

I like the oatmeal cookie idea mentioned above...what about cheesecake? I have a recipe for a pumpkin swirl cheesecake that is so yummy & can easily be found online. But my thought was you could just do regular cheesecake since the pumpkin is taken care of by the ice cream. As for Mia? I have a very lippy 4 year old and can't figure it out--so let's just pray it's a short-lived phase b/c like you, I got nothin'!

Dessert: Apple Betty. YUM!

Kid: My godson started full-day kindergarten this fall after being in Pre-K that was about 12 hours per week with very few kids (and never having been in daycare). He has grown up being the center of many adults' universe being the first child and grandchild and the only local child relative for our extended family for about four years, so he had manners and speech that were well beyond his age. His behavior has certainly gone downhill since school started -- table manners are gone, talking back, pouting. He is jealous of attention that other kids get. So, it must be a kindergarten thing, eh? I shrugged and said to my Mom, "He's finally learning how to be a kid..." For better and for worse.

Easy recipe:

Mandarin Orange Cake
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 ca mandarin oranges drained

Combine sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add egg, vanilla and oranges. Mix thoroughly. The oranges will break up and become part of the batter. The batter is very thick. Pour into a greased 8 x 8" pan. Bake 350 for 30-35 min. Cake is done when the center isn't jiggly. Cool cake slightly and pour sauce over.

While cake is baking mix the following in a saucepan:

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp cream or milk

Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is smooth. Pour over warm cake

**You could also use peaches for this.

Sassy talk:

I agree with a comment a little up about discipline vs. rewards. Sometimes discipline makes it worse. What I found works is rewarding good choices/ignoring the bad. If my daughter is in a situation where the shut up/you cant tell me too response arises and chooses a more respectful response, we reward that behavior, sometimes it's just with praise, not anything tangible. When her mouth becomes disrespectable, I remove myself, my attention and tell her that I refuse to spend time with someone who is treating me with disrespect, and simply leave the room. That does tend to work around here.

Just remember: This to shall pass and then something else will come up :)

spice cake w/ cream cheese frosting.

My oldest seems to be on the far end of normal with being defiant (he's 4.5 yo) and I finally broke down and bought books to help me figure him out. My favorite is "Try and Make Me!" by Ray Levy, PhD and Bill O'Hanlon, MS, LMFT. Anyway, one approach is to tell her to stop using that language/being disrespectful or she has to go to another place in the house. If she continues and doesn't go away, then tell her she has to go upstairs. If she continues, then the only alternate is to go to the timeout location. Let her make the choice until she forces your hand, that way if she makes the good choice, you can praise her decision. Also, look for opportunities to praise her for doing the right thing (playing nicely with Owen, using her manners, being respectful) so that when you must reprimand her, you have a backlog of positive interactions under your belt. There are other things in the book that might be useful to your situation, so maybe check it out.

A flourless chocolate cake? With powdered sugar.

Cranberry upside down cake!

It sounds like you've received some fabulous dessert ideas. I've got nothing to add there. However, on the kindergarten sass front...

1. Totally normal. I think it's a combination of exhaustion from keeping it together all day at school, trying to figure out the independence thing and testing boundaries.

2. I may have mentioned before, oh wait, at dinner last night with my BIL whose oldest son is in kindergarten, I'm not a fan of 5. Really, it is not one of my favorite ages. 4? I love. 2 was great. 5? Sassy McSassy Pants trying to kill his parents. (all 4 of my boys went through this)

3. As for advice... that's harder. Stay firm. If she will go to her room until she can treat you with respect, I'd go with that. If she refuses - as in "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" Say fine, but I also don't have to speak to you when you behave like this. Basically, ignore her until she goes to her room or starts behaving better.

4. This may have been the age I started saying, "I will always love you but I don't LIKE you right now."

You've got some awesome dessert ideas here! I have to say that I LOVE pumpkin bread pudding even though it sounds like something I would hate (Pudding? ICK.). SO GOOD.

On the back talk front: OY VEY. My oldest is only 4.5 and we're already there (or, if I'm feeling pessimistic, at the beginning of it and IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE) and I just may have to check out the book Lori recommended.

Guinness Chocolate Cake. It's what Hubby's making as dessert this year.


1 cup Guinness (or other stout)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder*

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (make sure it's less than 6 months old for maximum leavening power)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, place a round of parchment paper on the bottom and butter it, then flour the pan.


Place the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until mixture is smooth.

Thoroughly combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream until well-blended. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed.

Finish mixing by folding batter with a spatula until completely combined. Pour batter in the springform pan and bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Place cake on a rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.


Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add cream and vanilla and mix. Spread icing on top of cake to echo the appearance of a glass of Guinness and its head of foam.

*Dutch-process cocoa is acid neutral. If you use something like Hershey's cocoa (which is acid) the cake may not rise properly.

Great suggestions. No help on dessert.

I would opt for a reward system too. Some kids, revolt more when punished. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin ice cream??? OH MY WORD. That sounds heavenly! I think a ginger snap or a vanilla scone would be fabulous with that.

On the back talk - it sucks. The really sucky part? After dealing with it then, getting it under control, I am now dealing with it again with an 8 and 12 year old. Both are limit testing ages - growth ages - big change ages.

With my 8 year old - he gets one warning "don't talk like that!" and then? Game over. Go to the "time out chair" (which just so happens to face the corner) and have a grand time. You'll be there for an hour.


Yesterday morning, I reminded him - one more time was still in play. And would be. FOREVER.

He was angelic.

I made two kinds of fudge last year to bring to my in-laws, and it was requested I do it again. Went over big. You can make it up early, too, which is nice. Last year I did pumpkin and something else. This year I'm doing an orange chocolate and an eggnog. But really, just think about your favorite flavor combinations, add the word "fudge," and put the whole thing into Google.

(Oh, it can be the easy, non-candy-thermometer fudge that uses marshmallow fluff or something else instead.)

For Deserts, a simple short bread might be good, its basically butter, sugar and flour.

This is pumpkin pie cake, (its like cake on top with a puddingy texture below)

but it might be pumpkin overload with the ice cream.,176,129181-252197,00.html

As for Mia, yep normal.

Once the reverse worked for me: They had to go 30 days without conflict to get a special prize.
I think it was Chuck E Cheese or something like that.

We had a picture of the prize and a calendar. Every day of no conflict and we got a star.

Conflict no star no backing down by mommy. It took three months to achieve 30 days of no conflict. They learned to get along and the loss of a gold conduct star was heartbreaking. And all it took was "if you say that/hit your brother/etc you don't get a star today" to stop the fighting.

Pumpkin Cobbler at

Pecan bars:

Unless the pie will be pecan, then I love the cranberry upsidedown cake suggestion.

My "baby" is 2 in a week, I don't want to think about sass. I'm still working on "NO!". :) Good luck!

Re dessert: What about a simple but lovely & delicious fresh fruit salad? I'm thinking cut up oranges, grapefruits, apples, pears, mangos, bananas, and anything else that captures your fancy. Just be sure that if you use pears and/or mangos and/or bananas, they're good & ripe. Personally, I'm ALWAYS happy to see a nice fresh fruit salad--and yes, people can even eat it with pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, or nothing else.

I have no advice but I have a similar problem. I do find it quite extraordinary that problems I thought would not appear until they are teenagers are turning up at 6 and 7. Sigh.

No help here on the dessert front (no Thanksgiving for this Brit living in France, either) as heaven knows I'm no cook...
And no help with the sassy talk either, really, but lots of sympathy: I have two girls, one nearly 9 and the other coming up to 7. And wow. Such bratty teenagers sometimes... Nothing has really worked to stop the sass, but I try (TRY) to just ignore it and act like they never spoke. Only when they speak to me normally do I respond. That said, I am feeling VERY AFRAID of the upcoming teenage years (which now, apparently, start when you leave primary school - my daughter will be 10 GAAAAHHH), given that my older daughter is already asking to watch Lady Gaga videos on YouTube (thanks, friends in her class with older sisters...).
So, totally useless comment - but as I said, lots of sympathy!

Pumpkin Dump Cake! That would be fantastic with the ice cream. Just google and it will appear-- trust me ;)

I've taught Kindergarten and grade one and have three kids of my own. My theory is that they use up their good at school. There is only so much good in those little bodies, and once they're home - it's gone! Mia has long days and home is a safe place to let it go. And really, where would you rather she behave?

My 5 year old is snotty sometimes but generally not outright rude. I have always stressed manners with her (please, thank you) and I know you've done that with Mia too. So when she says her pleases and thank yous I always acknowledge how polite she is, and it makes her proud.

Honestly, I just don't put up with it. When Daya is out of line usually all I have to do is the Mean Look and say "Excuse Me?" She gets the point and re-phrases her speech. I also ask her if I ever talk that way to her, and she says no. Then I explain we don't speak to each other like that, it is rude and hurts people's feelings. I also give her an alternate way to say what she needs to say. When she is polite and respectful, she gets the results she wants. Otherwise she gets absolutely nothing. It works.

Whew, my daughter is 4 and we struggle with the sass. I actually signed up for PCIT (Parent Child Interaction Therapy) which involved a therapist coming to the really helped. You give them a choice:
you CAN stop saying shut up
you HAVE to go into time out.

If they don't cooperate, you say "Oh well, you CHOSE time out/going to you room/cancelling Xmas".

It works probably 97% of the time. Kids this age are very smart and know exactly what pushes your buttons, so getting mad is, in a twisted way, rewarding their efforts.

I also lock myself in the bathroom with my iPad sometimes too. ;)

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