INT—DINING ROOM TABLE—DINNER TIME
Daddy has just given HP her tray, Bub his plate, and put Mommy and Daddy’s plates on the table.
BUB: Daddy, can I have more juice, please?
ME: Sure, Bub. Where’s your juice cup?
BUB: I think it’s downstairs.
ME: Great. You know what? You sit still. Eat your dinner. I’ll just go and grab that.
Daddy returns with juice, starts to pull his chair out.
HP: JUICE! JUICE!
ME: HP, where is YOUR juice? Oh, here it is. It’s empty. Hold on.
Daddy fills juice, returns to table, puts hand on chair.
MOMMY: Can you grab me some more soda water, please?
ME: Yes, dear. I’d love to. Oh, there isn’t any more. That’s okay, I love using the Sodastream.
MOMMY: And could I have a splash of juice, please?
DADDY: Of course, my darling.
Daddy returns with soda water, sits down.
DADDY: Oh, HP, where is your bib? You’ve got cottage cheese in your hoodie, baby! Let me get you one.
Daddy returns with bib, puts it on, sits down, picks up fork.
DADDY: Bub, use a fork for your chicken, please.
BUB: I don’t have a fork. Daddy, can I have a fork, please?
“My mother had not had a hot meal for herself in fifteen years.”
If you’ve seen A Christmas Story, you know the line. If you are the primary caregiver of your household, you know the feeling.
I’ve been doing this for three years now and it’s still like pocket aces when I can get three hot lunches on the table. Let me clarify that, three hot lunches on the table AT THE SAME TIME. Oh, I can get three hot lunches on the table any day, but it’s that “same time” clause that throws things askew.
For the longest time, the kids simply didn’t eat the same things. Couldn’t eat the same things, since HP lacked teeth. So there was now a chewy meal for Bub, a squishy meal for HP, and something thrown haphazardly together for Daddy. Often served cold, with a side of whatever they left behind and didn’t dump yogurt on.
And then there’s dinner, and you already saw how that goes. Part of it is self-inflicted, as I enjoy cooking and eating ethnic foods, i.e. anything other than mac and cheese. Though I keep offering small samples, they rarely eat it. Am I doing something horribly wrong, or is this just the cook’s curse?
How do you juggle your way through dinner time?