Most evenings we have a full schedule of activities and sports, so sometimes I opt for quick individual meals for dinner. However, oftentimes this opting for easy quick individual meals backfires on me and I wish I had just made a pot of something they all like, such as spaghetti. Join me on my journey of a humorous recount of a crazy evening I should have just made spaghetti.
A Parent’s Life…
There is a short lull in between when the kids come home from school and the evening schedule crunch begins. As a normal part of a parent’s life, meal time rush is on in a sudden way.
I think of dinner when my pangs of hunger start so I ask the kids if they want something to eat. Sometimes it’s a yes and sometimes it’s no, not yet. If I get a no, not yet, I will often begin with my own plate of food because I know we will be short on time. Somewhere before I finish filling my plate or even up to where I have even taken a bite or two, the usual, I’m hungry now comes out of one kids’ mouth.
I will sigh and ask him what he would like to eat. We go through the whole pantry and fridge of choices. He decides and I begin to compile his meal.
Like he has food radar, another child comes up asking for a different type of food. I tell him I will work on his plate once I finish the first request, meanwhile my plate sits waiting, lonely for me.
I finish the first kids’ plate and start on the second, maybe I get a bite of food in, maybe not. Sometimes I just take my plate to the counter and keep taking bites while making up the next plate. Somewhere while making the second plate, the third child tunes in that it looks good and asks for his own plate.
And the Chaos Continues!
The phone rings, an important email comes in that I must look at for a minute because it is urgent, and the dog wants to be let out for potty.
All. At. Once.
I tell the third kid I will work on his plate next. The first asks for more milk. The second says his food is too hot and he will go do something while it cools off. He leaves the chair pulled away from the table, and the second dog, the one who didn’t go outside, puts his paws on the chair and almost snags a chicken nugget off the plate. I yell over to the kid who left his plate to cool to get over here before the dog steals it all.
My dance trying to keep up with the chaos would be funny to watch if it weren’t happening to me. It all blurs together as I start on the third kids’ plate.
Next the dog wants to come in. She comes in and proceeds to eat the whole bowl of dog food, so she pushes her plate all over the kitchen trying to get my attention to fill it back up. She hates it when it is empty, even if she is full. She won’t stop until I fill it and the scraping sound it makes on the floor is adding to the chaos so I just fill it. I return to the third kids’ plate. I can get back to my plate at some point, I hope.
Ya, keepin’ up with this?
The doorbell rings and the dogs bark, it’s the neighbor kid selling cookies for his school trip. I write him a check for expensive frozen chocolate chip cookies that won’t arrive for a month, and return to the third kids’ plate. I finish it up and hand it off to him in rush. I almost spill it. @#!%
I’m starting to panic thinking I won’t have time to eat before we have to go and I will be starving all evening at the football practices. The first kid asks for dessert, I say I will gladly help him with that after I eat my whole plate, or he can do it himself now. He decides to wait for me to fix it. Oh goody.
I Can’t Keep up with my Own Life
I look at the clock and realize I have twenty minutes before we have to leave for football practice. My heart races because I still need to organize and help all three find practice clothes plus fill three water bottles.
Oh, and finish eating my plate too.
I take another bite of my food and start to fill up water bottles. The third kid wants ten more strawberries.
Really, he needs ten?
I get them ready and plop them onto his plate. I tell the other two who have finished eating to work on any homework for the next fifteen minutes before they will have to get gear on. I take another bite of food. Ha! Victory, I got a bite.
Next my husband comes in looking for food, he needs to eat before an evening work meeting. I warm up the pork chops leftover from last night, nuke a potato in the microwave and whip up a salad. At this point in my life, I love leftovers.
I take another bite of my food. Then I start stacking dirty dishes in the dishwasher, the other dog scratches at the door so I let him out for potty.
Two more bites of my food. I finish up the water bottles for football practice, finish the dishwasher loading, get the dessert for the first kid, which prompts the other two to ask for dessert. While scooping ice cream, I quiz the middle kid on spelling words, still trying to finish my food.
Why didn’t I just make spaghetti? They all eat that.
Once we are done with the spelling words, I grab another bite of food, I’m almost done, and gather up all the football practice clothes while I chew. I really hate chewing on a short timeline. I chew madly like Cookie monster. I’m not kidding.
Two of them are arguing, I try to chew fast so I can yell at them to quit it. I put the equipment in piles per kid, retrieve needed football socks from dryer, schlep the now empty ice cream bowls into the dishwasher, have another bite of food from my plate. It’s like one fluid neverending movement. The kids get football gear on and one needs help tying cleats. One more bite of food for me and then I tie shoes.
I wonder where number three kid is…..
I hear him yell, “Mom, I went number 2!!”
He needs help. I panic as I glance at the clock and we are now three minutes late.
Aren’t 6-year-olds supposed to wipe themselves.
I ask him, “Can’t you wipe yourself Honey? You are six.”
“Oh, yes,” he says with a smile. “But I take too long so I want you to do it.”
I look at the clock. I yell, “Let’s go, we are late!”
I shovel a few more bites into my mouth, dump the rest in the garbage and slip the dishes in the dishwasher all in one movement.
Grab my purse, keys, water bottles and out the door we go. Driving off in the car, I feel sick because I gobbled up my food so fast I ate too much. I am now uncomfortable.
But, then wait, slow down.
This chaos is temporary. One day they will be all grown up and gone, and as busy and hard as it is now, I will miss it. In the future when they have all moved out, I will have plenty of time to eat slow. I will be able to breathe and chew like a normal person rather than Cookie Monster. I try to remind myself daily to cherish this time because as the kids grow up and I see them maturing, I know adulthood looms way too fast for them.
Their time in my house is short. Way too short. In fact, I miss them already.