I have an image in my head of how family mealtimes should be. Kids sitting quietly and happily round the dinner table answering enthusiastically as Daddy asks them about their day, whilst Mama dishes up a hot and healthy home-cooked meal for everyone which they all sit and tuck into with gusto.
I’m pretty sure this is how mealtimes ran when I was little.
Or maybe that was how they did it on the Waltons….
Needless to say, the reality of dinnertime with two young kids is far, FAR from the picture perfect postcard I envisioned.
In reality mealtimes chez Sedat are a full on fight for survival… ok maybe not survival, but definitely the pursuit of a half eaten plate of food!
Kids – half is about all I have the patience to all but force feed them. Adults – half is about the amount you actually get to eat before it gets cold or gets chucked on the floor in a full blown toddler tantrum.
The daily dance around the mealtime merry-go-round begins at about 4pm.
ME: (to toddler) “What would you like for dinner my love?”
HIM: (pauses) “Hmmm ice cream?”
ME: (sighs) “Maybe ice cream for pudding if you are a good boy, but what about dinner?”
HIM: “Mashed potato and potato waffles and CHIPS!”
ME: (bigger sigh) “I dont think we should have all that potato! What shall we have WITH our mashed potato?”
ME: “Great, sounds like a good idea!”
Mama sets about making dinner for 4. Baby loves mashed potato and peas, Daddy loves anything with gravy. Mama just loves eating. WIN.
The table is all set for when Daddy comes home, having already checked with Toddler what colour plate and cup he wants today (blue).
Five minute warning given (this is mostly for Daddy, the kids don’t yet have any concept of time but of course in the two minutes he’s been home he’s already got both of them worked up into a screaming frenzy wrestling on the living room floor.)
Mama pours herself a glass of wine, takes a deep breath, calls the troops in, braces herself.
Toddler is first to come bounding in.
HIM: “Is my dinner ready?”
ME: “Yes darling.”
HIM: “Is it pizza?”
ME: “Erm, no. Sausages and mashed potato, just like you asked for.”
HIM: “But I want PIZZA!!!!!!!”
ME: “No, you asked for sausages, maybe we can have pizza tomorrow. Come and sit down for dinner.”
HIM “Is it pizza?”
ME (drains glass of wine) “No. Yummy sausages, come and look.
HIM: (stares at plate) “I don’t want it.”
ME: (pours second glass of wine) “Why is that sweetheart?”
HIM: (cries) “COS YOU PUT IT ON THE BLUE PLATE. I DONT WANT THE BLUE PLATE!!!”
ME: “OK, which colour plate would you like?”
HIM: “Green, like the Hulk. I TOLD you!”
ME: (transfers everything to green plate) “OK here we go, yummy sausages.”
HIM: (sniffs it) “I don’t like it.”
ME: “Yes you do, it’s sausages.”
HIM: “No. It’s yucky. ”
ME: “Just try it.”
HIM: (pokes at sausage) “It’s too cold.”
ME: “Fine, we can warm it up.”
[Puts food in microwave, microwave dings]
HIM: “Is that my pizza?”
ME: “No, it’s some nice warm sausages look…”
HIM: (pokes at sausage) “It’s too hot.”
ME: (swallows more wine) ” OK, I’ll blow on it for you.”
HIM: “Yes, and I will wait here for my pizza”
ME: (cries) “PIZZA! OK! I will make you pizza!
HIM: (does a crazy little dance) “Pizza! Pizza! I love PIZZA!”
[Mama put emergency frozen kids pizza in oven]
HIM: ” Is it sausage pizza?”
ME: (sobbing, reaches for wine, takes a big gulp. Only, it’s not my wine, it’s the gravy, but hey at least I put a slosh of wine in it…)
HIM: “Can I watch my videos when I eat my pizza?”
ME: (gravy dripping down my chin) “Whatever.”
At least hubby has bound to have had more success feeding Baby. Every baby likes mashed potato.
Glance over at Hubby.
Can’t see Hubby.
Can only see a green slime covered mass wearing glasses. And a beard.
Baby has decided today he doesn’t like mashed potato and peas. In fact not only does he not like it he clearly doesn’t want the s*dding stuff within a 2 meter radius of himself.
Apparently it looks much better on Daddy, on the floor, on the cupboard behind him, the walls and ceiling, smeared through his own hair, ears and nostrils.
Everyone’s food is lovely and cold ( I don’t actually remember the last time me and Hubby ate a hot meal at the same time, or with both our hands.)
The wine is all gone.
The gravy is all gone.
I decide the only way forward is to continue with my liquid dinner and crack open the gin.
I strongly feel if I put a few slices of cucumber in it this actually might constitute a meal?
I open the fridge to find somehow Baby has managed to fling his dinner all over the food in there too.
Wonderful. No cucumber then. Just gin.
Who am I kidding – I couldn’t imagine a better dinner!