Thursday, December 13, 2007

Surviving Dinner

There was a time...not too long ago...when dinner preparation involved complex recipes, the news on in the background, and my ability to chop up an onion without having to search for the missing Pirate from our Little People collection. Those days are gone, my friend....and in its place is sometimes 45 minutes of pure chaos.

I am a lucky wife...for many of those being that my husband usually arrives home from work before 5pm (We won't discuss the unheard of hour he leaves for work each morning to make this possible). He is barely inside our house before he begins pitching in with the children and helping me in the kitchen (despite a deep hatred of cooking, he is always willing to serve as sous chef). This helps ease the 5 o'clock crazies that tends to be programed into children's little brains

"Oh, its 5pm....I must now demand everything, then cry dramatically when I receive it. I must somehow manage to fall, bump my head, or bang my elbow every 2.7 seconds. I must cry that I am hungry and then refuse to eat when dinner is served."

Two year olds can go from sweet, angelic little things into a whirlwind of crazy in 0.3 seconds once that clock chimes 5pm.

Some days dinner preparation is a breeze. And then there are days like Tuesday. Tuesday Tobe phoned me to say he was just leaving the office at 5pm. He has about a 30 minute commute on good traffic days. Tuesday was rainy, foggy, and cold which makes even the best city driver reverts to his early defensive driving class days. I did not expect to see Tobe before 6:30pm, which meant I was tackling supper....and the 5 o'clock crazies....alone.

Because I get quite anxious when things are not planned (this does not surprise some of you in the least), I plan out each week's meals in advance. Tuesday night's dinner was chicken pot pie (using leftover chicken from Monday night's Inside-out Chicken, huh?), which is simple enough. I set up some toys for Isaac before he had a chance to request Mommy as a playmate and plopped Evelyn in the exacauser. Then I went about mixing and rolling out the pie crust. Isaac's sixth sense kicked in when he realized there was raw dough available in the kitchen. After ingesting an unhealthy amount, he returned to the "giving room" (you likely call it a living room) to play, after attempting to "help" by unloading the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I made the pot pie and stuck it in the oven, only to realize five minutes later that I forgot to add the broth and cream. Out comes the pot pie. I try to channel my best surgical skills as I remove the top pastry, pour in some liquid, and return it to the oven. I then return to the "giving room" to play with the children while our supper cooks.

It was then that I noticed the tell-tale smell of a dirty diaper. I pinpointed the culprit as Evelyn and took her off to the changing table, promising Isaac a quick return. As I was removing E.'s pants, I noticed that this was not a normal dirty was an explosion. So much of an explosion that I was forced to call my 2.5 year old in as an assistant. By the time the offending diaper and soiled clothes were removed, Evelyn was pretty much covered in the mess. Somehow Isaac managed to knock over the wipes warmer, which sent our new free wipes spiraling to the floor in a jumbled mess. In his quest to help, his hand became soiled. Off he went to wash them while I started a load of laundry (it was that bad, dear reader). I checked on dinner, redressed Evelyn, and went in search of Isaac. Apparently "washing hands" had morphed into "cleaning the entire bathroom with copious amounts of water." I dried him off, went to wash my hands in my bathroom, and returned to Evelyn's room. She must have looked quite bored because Isaac had removed half of the bathtub toys from their designated colander and placed them around Evelyn....complete with leftover bath water and soap scum.

This is a sampling of our struggle some nights to make it to the dinner table sane, in one piece, and with enough of an appetite left to choke down a meal. I believe in the importance of the family sitting down at the table each evening to share a meal together.....I also believe some evenings after I have said, "Eat your supper", "Don't stick applesauce in your ear", "Only one sock per foot" a minimum of 63 times each, I want fake a sudden onset of the stomach bug simply to hide out in the bathroom for the rest of the evening.

Of course all of the bathtub toys have been relocated to Evelyn's room, so what's the point?

How do you survive cooking and eating supper on those crazy days?


Sydni said...

I think you are one of the best bloggers out there!

It's always something different with you - could be a book to read, a recipe to try, a video to watch, a story about an amazing grandmother that makes me cry, the latest medical alert, or a real-life event that makes me laugh out loud...

I'm glad you blog.

I have no advice on how to survive the dinner-prep episodes (we have only one and still know exactly what you've described) except to do what it appears you already do and try to maintain some perspective and sense of humor through it all.

Is there a limit to how long a comment can be? I guess I'll find out.

Amy said...

As I read I completely related. My little girl also utters complaints of hunger, then refuses to eat the meal presented to her.

You have got stamina to make a meal like that without help! I definitely would have ended up going with plan B (pb&j and yogurt) instead of daring a chicken pot pie while defenseless. My hubby also is a heavensend when I need to make dinner!

Jennifer said...

Oh girl, I feel your pain. I was just telling Jason the other night that hands-down the dinner prep time is the worst part of the day. I unfortunately don't have him home before 5 so most of my days sound like the one you just mentioned. I'm just impressed that I don't just give up and order pizza every night!