You can’t win with kids at dinnertime
THE unavoidable afternoon rush. I hate it, but a 5pm finish at work means a late pick up for my tired kiddies and an unavoidable dinnertime battle for me.
Usually in these instances, and being the "I know I can't do everything perfectly, so who cares?" mum I have become, we'll have beans on toast or something reheated from our freezer's "frozen leftovers" section.
But on this particular day I was wearing my "Marvellous Mummy Halo" and had dinner bubbling away in the slow cooker ready for our late arrival home.
Pea and ham soup. My cousin had brought a pot of it over for dinner a few weeks earlier and my kids loved it, so of course I was sure it was going to be a hit.
Child #1: "What's for dinner Mum?"
Me: "Pea and ham soup. Smells good hey?"
Child #1: "Yuck...I hate pea and ham soup."
Me: But when Emma (my cousin) made it the other week, you said you loved it, remember?"
Child #1: "Yes, but I only said it so I didn't hurt her feelings...I want toast."
I don't take demands very well.
Clearly on this occasion my feelings were non-existent to my darling little "princess".
Of course, without delay child number 2 heard her complaining and joined the bandwagon with a list of alternatives he would like for dinner.
With steam pouring from my ears, I promptly sent them both off to have their showers before I lost it.
Adjusting my Mummy Halo and ignoring their protests from the other end of the house, I took a deep breath and carried on with my busy night-time routine.
Finishing off the dinner, sorting out the lunches for the next day and feeding Audrey the cat.
Now I've seen her drinking from the toilet several times in the past, so one can only assume she acquired her newfound superiority from my children whom she could hear complaining from the bathroom.
Because even Audrey had the nerve to look up from her bowl of Friskies with a look of disgust.
I'd opted for the cat food that was on sale this week.
A far cry from the "grain free, because I'm a fussy cat" brand of cat food she was used to eating.
She refused to eat it and continued to meow "I'm starving" as she followed me around the kitchen. I ignored her and in the end she gave up.
With shower time eventually over, dinner was on the table ready to go.
Both children sat miserably in front of their bowls and continued to complain, telling me that the dinner I had made was "yuck".
I dug my heels in further and decided to ignore them, too. I figured it worked on the cat, so why not give it a go?
They finally started eating when my almost six-year-old (whose favourite food is sausages mind you) proceeded to tell me that he was not eating his dinner because he wanted to be a vegetarian.
By this time I was just about ready to stab myself in the eye with a fork. (Luckily for my eye, we were eating soup.)
Me: "Oh, you want to be a vegetarian, do you?"
Child #2: "Yes."
Me: "Why do you want to be a vegetarian?"
Child #2: "Because I don't want to eat dead things and this dinner has dead things in it."
Me: "You know that sausages have meat in them, don't you?"
Child #2: "Well I want to be a vegetarian, but I still want to eat sausages...and ice-cream."
I'm unsure where the correlation between dead things and ice-cream comes from, but okay. We do know plenty of people who are in fact vegetarian, so my guess is he's been listening to our conversations. I, on the other hand, was brought up in a pretty standard "meat and three veg" kind of family.
Of course if I thought there was some kind of truth to my son's newfound desire to be a vegetarian, I would allow him to embrace it.
But it was evident this was just another ploy to get out of eating dinner.
In the end, they both refused to eat their soup and in a long and exhausting battle, both went to bed early without finishing.
Of course the next night both of them had the same bowl of pea and ham soup, reheated and waiting for them on the dinner table.