Thursday, September 26, 2013

kitchen bitchin'

I try not to make this blog a space where I whine...too much... but I'm going to today.  I love my kids, they are truly the light of my life... but they are also a holy terror (squared) when it comes to dinner time.  Am I the only mama out there who dreads the arrival of the five-o-clock hour?  This is pretty much how things go at my house during every dinner time:

4:55 After coming in from a fun nature walk, both kids are in a great mood.  They are peaceably playing with legos in the sun room.  They don't see me sneak into the kitchen and start peeling veggies....or do they?

4:58 I haven't even finished one carrot before the screaming starts.  Sharing has ceased.  Sadie is hogging the toys.  Eli wanders into the kitchen to seek comfort and to unpack the contents of the lower cabinets for the fifth-million time this week.  Oh, good.  He's tall enough to reach drawers now, so he starts by pulling all the appliance manuals out of one drawer.  While I am picking those up he pulls the silverware drawer out completely, emptying the contents all over himself and the floor.  Thankfully, he isn't injured.  After I comfort him and get him set up drumming on pot lids with a safe {I think} wooden spoon, in comes Sadie.  I guess it isn't that much fun when you have all the legos to yourself.  Now she needs a wooden spoon too...the one Eli has.

5:15 Both kids are playing, underfoot, but not close to the stove, so should be golden, right?  
I put a pot of rice on the stove to cook.  Oh, now Sadie is wildly swinging the broom around the kitchen.  Eli is screeching because he wants the broom.  I shoo the children out of the kitchen after admonishing them about stove top safety.  I've only peeled two carrots.

5:30  Kids have decided to run laps through the living-room kitchen loop while chasing the dog with brooms...well, they both have a broom now, so that's equitable.

5:45  Have tried to redirect the activities to something less dangerous.  Kids have crayons.  Eli is eating his, Sadie is drawing.  Why are they screaming at each other again?  Eli is using his crayons to make dots.  Sadie wants him to make lines.  I want a shot of tequila, but dinner is mostly in the oven.

6:00 I am trying sweep the floor. I turn to grab the dustpan, Eli is foraging for snacks in the swept up debris.  Ugh.  I hear Loren's truck in the driveway.  "KIDS, YOUR DAD'S HERE!" Ok... good, I should be able to get stuff done for a few minutes while they mob their dad.

6:15 Kids are playing in the bedroom with Loren, the house is quasi-presentable and I am just getting the table set.  Loren calls for me... Me, "what?" Him, "Come in here and look at how cute these guys are."  Me, "no."  Him, "no, seriously." me, "no, SERIOUSLY, no." He gives up, probably thinking I am a terrible human being.

6:20  We are sitting down to eat.  We light the dinner candles, say thanks, and Sadie immediately begins to state which things on her plate she "doesn't care for"  Me, "You liked carrots on Monday." Her, "I don't like them cooked."  Meanwhile, Eli is smashing food in his hair and throwing rice on the floor.  Actually, it is landing mostly on Toby's back, because he has taken up a permanent residence below Eli's highchair.  Toby cant reach his back, so Cash is eating the rice off  his back.  Nice teamwork dogs.  I make a mental note to wipe down the wall after dinner.  Eli starts to scream and furiously sign "more."  It takes us a few tries to figure out what he wants.  Sadie has generously given him ALL of her carrots.  He wanted a fork, it turns out.

6:30 After 15 trips to the kitchen to get a fork/salt & pepper/water or milk or both/ napkins/ a towel to clean up a spill I get to take my first bite of food.  I think of the movie Christmas Story and the line, "my mother hadn't enjoyed a hot dinner in fifteen years." I totally get that now.

6:40 The children are done with dinner, and it's pretty much certain that one or both of them need to go straight into the bathtub.  So Loren and I rock paper scissors to decide who gets to finish dinner ala bath monitor.  Sigh...

Is there some magic chill-pill that I'm unaware of, or is this just the reality of dinnertime with a three and one year old?  Someone please tell me that this is just a passing phase, and that once again some day I will be able to enjoy the gift of relaxed and relaxing food preparation...sipping wine, chopping the vegetables while I have a thought to myself... and maybe even an uninterrupted conversation at the table?  I know this is totally a first world problem, and I really am thankful to have good food to offer my kids and even 10 minutes to sit down together as a family.... I just can't help but feel like I'm doing something wrong here...or at least that I could streamline this process somehow to be more peaceful for everyone involved.  Thoughts?  Tips?  Any suggestions welcome (except sitting the kids in front of a t.v.--I really don't want to resort to that on a daily basis).

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