Saturday, July 19, 2008

Will I Ever Again Get To Eat My Food When It's Hot?

Mealtimes are the worst lately.

Just when I've taken one bite of the meal I worked hard to cook between incessant interruptions from Thing 1 and Thing 2, one of them is likely to announce "I have to go potty," followed by, "I want mommy's help."

Either that, or one of them spills a)milk, b)tomato sauce, or c)yogurt (it has to be something difficult to clean up) at the exact moment I've taken the bite.

Of course, there's another option too: if we're in a restaurant, that bite coincides with Thing 1 or Thing 2 -- who have already been served their kids' meals and gotten bored with them -- announcing "I want to go for a walk," having reached the official LIMIT OF SITTING TIME that all three-and-half-year-olds seem to know as if they've met in a secret cabal and settled on it.

It's as if some internal alarm clock goes off in my kids when I take that bite of delicious hot sustenance, likely the first I've had for hours after catering to their needs.

It's so predictable I've begun to wonder why we still bother going to restaurants -- invariably a chore with preschoolers, no matter how many crayons and coloring-book-like place mats or kids' menus the restaurant provides. (Crayons, by the way, which I keep discovering in pockets, jackets, backpacks and diaper bags.)

Other than on an occasional date-night, I can't remember the last meal I had out, or at home for that matter, that was eaten without interruption, at a leisurely pace, and allowed me to enjoy what I was eating for more than a moment.

Moms who've been at it longer than me tell me there IS light at the end of the tunnel: one day, the kids will be able to putter about the kitchen fixing themselves bowls of cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, pieces of fruit. They'll clean up after themselves without being told. They won't require a separate meal from the one the rest of the family is eating, or change their minds mid-way through the meal.

Maybe there will, indeed, come a time when my son will stop saying "I want something else," even if I've just cooked him the precise item he asked for incessantly half an hour ago.

But right now, I as I contemplate a fridge full of cold leftovers I never got to eat when they were actually warm from the stove, I can't see it.

Anyone for cold pizza?

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