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News & Features » May 2018 » “Pancake Month” and “A Parenting Street Scene” by Minna Dubin

“Pancake Month” and “A Parenting Street Scene” by Minna Dubin

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, two stories about dealing with the whims of a toddler. 

Photo credit: Andria Lo

Pancake Month / A Parenting Street Scene
by Minna Dubin

Pancake Month

1. At three and a half, my son’s diet consists of only brown, white, and yellow foods. He gets on a serious pancake and syrup kick (yellow, white, and brown!). We say “no” a lot, which usually ends with tears, whining, and no food eaten. He and I are constantly warring about food.

2. My partner (a therapist) thinks the food battles will do more damage than a month of pancakes. I hate it when he’s so sensible and right. So we tell our son that for one month he can have whatever he wants for meals. He stares at us, then says full of hope, “I can have pancakes with syrup?”

3. The best part of Pancake Month is we make the pancakes together. The other best part is that I have (temporarily) released my expectations and frustration about his eating.

4. After thirty pancake breakfasts and thirty pancake dinners, our son is not sick of pancakes. He does not start asking for bites of our chicken, rice, and broccoli as I’d hoped. In the end, we got a month-long reprieve from food battles, we all gained five yummy pancake pounds, and I’ve never been so pleased to serve him his second favorite choice—Cheerios—for breakfast and dinner from now to eternity. Clever boy.

A Parenting Street Scene

1. When I cross the street with my toddler, who decides halfway to quit walking.

2. When my voice rises into threats, “You’re gonna get a timeout!”

3. When I hear, “Make his ass get up!”

4. When I glance up and see a thirty-something black man leaning out of his car window, looking at me dead serious.

5. When I can’t tell if he’s trying to be helpful or scolding me.

6. When I turn from him (because fuck him, but his words burn anyway), and carry my son back to the same sidewalk where we began.

7. When I yell, “You’re going to sit here!” and push down on his shoulders.

8. When, in one swift motion, he sits and loses his balance


He falls on purpose in revolt


I push him down so hard he falls back until I hear the dull whack of his head on the sidewalk.

9. When my horrified eyes tell his searching eyes, “Yes, you can cry.”

10. When I wrap myself around his howls, say, “I didn’t mean for you to fall.”

11. When a thirty-something white lady walks past us.

12. When her look tells me she saw everything.

13. When I feel the need to explain myself (but fuck her too).

14. When I am afraid of my angry self and how big she has become.


MINNA DUBIN is a writer, performer, and educator. She is the founder of #MomLists, a literary public art project, which she is turning into a book and working on getting published. Her writing has been featured in Parents Magazine, Huffington Post, MUTHA Magazine, The Forward, and various literary magazines and anthologies. When not chasing her children in circles around the dining room table, she is eating chocolate in the bathroom while texting. You can follow her lists about motherhood on Instagram: @momlists.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: May 15, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , ,