To all the moms who have amnesia about what it was like to have little kids, I cordially invite you to my house for dinner. When you look at pictures of small children on Facebook and remember fondly when yours were small, I challenge you to recall dinnertime. Think hard now. Do you still feel nostalgic? Really? Liar! Now, are you one of those parents who is always telling younger moms, "It goes by fast, cherish every second?" I'll pause while you slap yourself.
Sure, the way my 22-month-old says the word "orange" by scrunching up her nose and mouth is adorable and the way my 4-year-old wakes up every morning with a zest for life asking if it's a "stay home day" because she can't wait to spend time with her family warms my heart, but mealtime. Oh mealtime.
It starts off innocently enough, with mom and dad each feverishly cutting up chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, mini bite-sized pieces for the little one. Slice slice slice. Chop chop chop. Smaller. No, smaller than that.
Then drinks. Who wants what? Milk? OK. What, now water? No problem. Back to milk? Fine, milk it is. The giraffe cup? Got it. You meant zebra cup? Crap. Pour it yourself? No, how bout you just hold the cup? Now it's all over the floor. Grab the mop. Shit, now the chicken's cold. Who wants vegetables? No one? Too bad. Eat your broccoli.
All right, we're all seated. The four-year-old needs a napkin. Done. Now the 1-year-old wants one. Done and done. Everyone have everything they need? Heads nod. Good. Take bite one. Cue the dog whining at the door. He's gotta pee. Eat your broccoli while I'm gone.
Out and back. Bite two down the hatch. Did anyone eat their broccoli?
What? More Ranch? Sure. Squirt squirt. There ya go. Oh, you want it mixed with Barbecue sauce? Squirt squirt squirt. Enough? Good. You best eat your broccoli.
Shovel shovel shovel. What are we eating again? Oh yeah, chicken. And what is that sound coming from the preschooler? The Super Why theme song? Oh, wow, I can almost hear it when she's not YELLING ALL THE WORDS WITH HER OUTSIDE VOICE. Now the baby is screaming. What's wrong? Nothing? You're just screaming to hear yourself scream? Great. Cool. Wonderful. Just eat your broccoli, OK.
More shoveling. Sip of wine. No, you can't have mommy's wine. It's not juice. Hide the wine. You still see it? OK, pour it down the sink. See? All gone. Why is there still broccoli on your plate?
Someone dropped their fork. Who was it? Who cares? Now the dog is running off with it. Get back here, you mutt! Wipe it off with a napkin and give it back. For the love of God, why is no one eating their broccoli? Time for the airplane game. Ohhh, it worked. Let's do it again. And again. And again. And OH MY GOD THIS IS TORTURE BUT SHE'S WILLINGLY EATING A VEGETABLE.
My friends, none of this is out of the ordinary. This is a TYPICAL night at home trying to feed two children fairly healthy food while trying to consume some calories ourselves at the same time. Crazy idea, I know.
Listen, I'm not complaining. I get it. They're small. They'll grow up and yell "I hate you, mom" or "I wish I had a different dad," and we'll think back and wish they were small again. But we sure as hell won't wish for a mealtime with them. Because mealtime with kids involves so much cardio and yelling of instructions it should be held at a gym.
So, about that dinner invitation? You free next Tuesday? How do you feel about broccoli?
This is just one of the many "books" Faith has written this past year. Basically, she draws a series of pictures and then tells her teachers what to write on the page. Apparently, this idea has been so popular that other kids are now doing it too. My writer's heart swells with pride every time she brings home one of these short stories that's sure to have a unique one liner. Here are the titles of the others:
The Potato Bug
The Stuffing and the Bananas
Best Line of the Book: "Chicken. They ate chicken." (Don't let the title fool you!)
The Little Frosting Cupcake
Best Line of the Book: "The friends gotten in line and said, 'I don't want to pop the weasel.'"
The Little Apple
The Banana and the Hot Rose (a romance novel, perhaps ;)
Best Line of the Book: "They ate blue clouds and pickles and chicken."
The Harvest and the Shark (What? Those two things don't go together)
The book about the X-ray and the Little Girl
Best Line of the Book: "That's when they played a game called Six Rules Cereal Coal."
The Pilgrims and the Navajos (her first best-seller)
Pardon my bad photography, but these are the minions the school displayed during the enrollment period about what each student's favorite things about school.
This is a project for which I literally had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands not to intervene and help her with. For Valentine's Day, the kids were assigned to cut pictures of things they liked out of magazines, wrappers, etc. I love that she put Gabby front and center, but the lipstick and weird owl?
A little side story from parent teacher conferences. Faith's teachers were very complimentary of her focus during group time, eagerness to participate and overall progress on writing her name, coloring, etc. They did bring up the fact that sometimes she didn't listen to instructions before beginning her work. When they would stop her and tell her she needed to wait, she would simply turn to them and say matter-of-factly, "I'm an artist."
Well, she is an artist. Love the diversity :)
Last but not least, some abstract work.
To close out, I recently attended an informational meeting about kindergarten that only confirmed how ready Faith is for school. When I think about her singing in music class, eating lunch with her buddies and learning to read, I'm overcome with joy knowing how much she will love it all. While it puts a lump in my throat to think of how fast she's grown up, I am so happy for her to start school. But that doesn't mean I won't cry like a baby at her preschool graduation. Maybe I'll bring "The Banana and the Hot Rose" for a good laugh.
Now that Gabby is talking in sentences, it's time for her very first "That's What She Said" post. It can also serve as a translation guide if you find yourself with her without her translator (aka Rob, me or Faith.) I kid, slightly, but we're definitely at the age where Gabs knows exactly what she wants and sometimes we have a hard time interpreting. Other times, we hear her loud and clear. Like these times:
"Higofaify" = Here you go, Faith.
"Haaaayyy" = Don't take that away from me/Let me do what I want.
Me: You bite?
Gabby: (nods emphatically!)
Rob: (from another room) She wants Birdie!
Gabby: (nods emphatically)
Gabby: (upon walking into daycare) "Hi, Marsha!"
Gabby: (upon leaving the basement) "Bye, money." (to her play money)
Gabby: "Howie, NO!" (this is a common phrase in our household)
"mm" = M&M
"Nack" = Snack, pronto.
"Boppop" = dum dum sucker.
"Binky" = Binky! (so sad we have to get ride of this bad boy soon)
"ABCD" = for any and all letters on anything (She can READ!)
Me: Because (fill in the blank)
Me: Because (fill in the blank)
Me: Because Johnson's likes babies. (This is something my mom used to say to me all the time growing up!)
"Shoose" = Shoes, and I want to put them on myself, so don't try to help me or I will freak out.
Muk = Milk
Wawa = Water
Crying = I want what Faith has.