For a house with three young kids, we've stayed pretty calm the last few days. The good moods from this weekend have continued and the kids have been easily entertained. I'm hoping this new trend will continue (other than during the sick weeks to come this winter, when I fully expect horrid behavior). Today, for example, the most difficult stretch of the day (the late afternoon push to dinner time) was, for the most part, a breeze to manage. The girls all played nicely together (well, Lily required some coaching on not crying over every slight, but once she settled down, all was good). While I cooked dinner during this typically stressful time, the girls played "kitchen" in the basement and then moved themselves up to Claire's bedroom to look at books. I checked on them intermittently, but they did just fine without me. I can see why people say that having more than one child can be easier than just having one. When they play together nicely, the pressure on me is reduced significantly. I just wish I could minimize the sibling rivalry.
But let's talk about this dinner I slaved over while the kids played nicely. I made sweet potato casserole (complete with the brown sugar topping, which the kids should like), pork chops in a light white wine and cream sauce (ok, that's a little adult centered, I know), and corn. The kids all rejected it, other than eating a few bites of the corn. *Sigh*. The food battle continues to rage in my household, with the biggest battle being in my head: do I give up cooking "adult" food I enjoy and work toward cooking "kid style foods", or do I cook what I want to eat and either short-order cook (which I swore I wouldn't do) for the kids or let them starve each night? Cooking used to be one of my favorite hobbies. Hobby! Ha - I laugh at the thought now. It's my daily drudgery, dealing with picky eaters and a spouse with a limited range himself. On a weekly basis, I do the meal planning, grocery shopping, and the cooking. My "break" is a once or twice a week take-out dinner or Kyle grilling on a Sunday night. But roughly five nights a week, week after week after week, I am at the kitchen helm, debating what food I'd find reasonably appealing that maybe the kids would eat too. Most nights feel like a failure to me. And for a perfectionist, daily failure is incredibly unpleasant.
So for a while now, I've debated doing the "truly transparent", real life, what-we-had-for-dinner-and-was-it-successful report. We all want to know how other people live, how other families handle the daily dinner routine, so I might do a post to summarize our dinners for a week in the household, or find a way to post it on the side of the blog. Let me think through the concept, and you might just see something soon on this subject. Then you'll know the answers - do I rely on pre-prepared foods? Do I cook from scratch? Do I do more take-out than I own up to? If I were to summarize the week-by-week plan around here, I know that I usually do a great job of meal planning for one week (and shopping for the week in advance), and then the next week, I can't pull it off again. So I have one well-executed week, then a bad week, then a well-executed week, and so on. It's a balance I've come to accept.
I just can't seem to accept eating kid food for the next 10-15 years until my kids' tastes mature.