I used to enjoy cooking, before the children came. Heck, I used to enjoy eating. I used to love serving with my pretty kitchen dishes and trying new recipes and having people over for dinner. Now, nine times out of ten, if given the opportunity I hide.
We went to Target this morning, and to be fair, came home at the beginning of our normal lunchtime routine. I threw the TV on for Noah while Elijah sat on time out for throwing rocks at the house (because we ran out of snow) which bought me the time I needed to put groceries away, unload the dishwasher, reload the dishwasher and begin to think about lunch in a less-than-cluttered kitchen.
After sorting through the rock issue with my eldest, little boy needed to be changed of a rotten diaper. Sesame Street came on, and I started my salad. I threw pasta in a boiling pot of water, added spinach to an empty bowl, and started cutting an onion when little boy walked into the kitchen with the toilet brush banging against his bare legs.
Abandon salad. Throw boy in the tub with his clothes on to emergency shower the toilet germs away. Send him to the living room semi-dry, and back to the kitchen to turn off my nearly done pasta.
I start on the boys lunch, what we like to call “grilled cheese.” There is in fact cheese in it, and the sandwich gets warmed in the panini maker, but I also add chopped lunch meat, small enough and bland enough that they won’t notice what they’re eating.
Little boy reenters the kitchen to ask me for pork. With sauce.
Thankfully there is leftover slow cooker pork tenderloin in the freezer. It goes in the microwave. Out comes the Trader Joe’s Soyaki. Back goes little boy’s sandwich bread. I attempt to make Elijah’s “grilled cheese.”
Little man comes back to the kitchen and begins to bang incessantly on the cabinets. In my defense, they are childproofed, but they are no match for his exceptional fine motor skills. I hand Noah half a slice of cheese to get him out of the kitchen, but realize Elijah is now going potty in the bathroom. I race to the bathroom to make sure little boy doesn’t go in for the toilet brush again or get his fingers stuck in the door while big boy asks for his privacy.
Elijah’s sandwich is now finally in the panini maker. Noah’s pork and sauce is out of the microwave and little boy is back in the kitchen attempting to take the red strainer out of my cabinet that honestly has only been used as a toy since we got it. I pick him up and again place him on the couch where I threaten him with the high chair if he doesn’t stay put.
I have finally finished lunch and throw it on the table before changing Noah’s diaper again. Noah gets strapped into his seat, Elijah side-straddles his chair and I begin shoveling my salad in as fast as I can. Seconds later I am being hit on the arm with a saucy fork because Noah needs help with his “pork,” and Elijah needs me to bite off the parts of his sandwich that “don’t look right.” You know the parts where the hidden lunch meat is peeking through the bread.
Noah notices that I’ve left a fruit squeezie on the table from breakfast and now refuses to eat his pork.
“No you cannot look at my magazine.”
“No you may not sit sideways on the chair.”
“No you may not drop your pork on the floor.”
And then, I wonder why sometimes I think about giving everyone a rice krispie treat and calling it a day.
Mealtime makes me crazy.