Dinner and bedtime are perhaps the two most dreaded parts of many parenting days. The pain of these is magnified tenfold when your spouse is out of town on a work trip (shout out to the single parents who live it daily).
Preparations began yesterday with meal planning. Pick something the preschooler enjoys – this will eliminate mealtime battles. A pasta casserole – check.
Spend this morning at the grocery store purchasing supplies. Spend the afternoon cooking the casserole, which for some reason took twice as long as it did last time. Perhaps because every two minutes you are running to fetch the infant who has started to roll continously from one end of the living room to the other. Oh look – some dangling cords for her to roll into. Add babyproofing to the to-do list.
Pick the older child up from school. Hold breath and hope to hell she is in a good mood. She sees you enter. She runs in the other direction. Not a good sign. Whining commences the moment she hits the car seat. Does not end until she has the iPad in her hands at home to watch “Little Bill.” Necessary, Mommy tells herself.
Dinner begins. Ends 30 seconds later when child declares disgust for casserole.
Mother knows trying to bathe both children would be ludicrous, so goes ahead and fills the tub. Kid 1 steps foot in bath when kid 2 awakes crying from nap. Fastest bath in the history of ever takes place.
Mom hears kid 2 struggling in crib, rushes in to find her smothering herself with a blanket. Then hears kid 1 cry from the draining tub, rushes back to find her distraught by a case of accidental face submersion = water in the nose.
Mom asks kid 1 to put on her pj’s while she quickly bathes kid 2. Thirty minutes later, a naked kid 1 has seemingly found a vial of cocaine somewhere because she is racing around the house like a mad woman, singing Chinese showtunes (or thereabouts).
Eventually kid 2 is asleep, and kid 1 is quietly playing in her room, so Mommy sneaks into the kitchen to eat a cookie to refuel her for the final 20 minute push of book reading.
The moment Mommy sits on the bed to begin, kid 1’s frighteningly-sensitive snack radar goes off and she leans in to sniff Mommy’s breath. “WHAT DID YOU EAT. Your mouth smells like…chocolate? I want some.”
Mommy can’t help grinning just a tad. She regrets it immediately, knowing the perceptive child will recognize this as an admission of guilt. She attempts to distract the child with small talk. No luck. “WHAT DID YOU EAT?” The child’s intensity is mostly amusing, slightly alarming.
Phone rings. It’s Dad calling to say goodnight. Successful distraction. Tragedy averted.
One hour later, Mom clears a spot on the crap-filled table to place her computer and glass of wine. Pats self on back. Two nights down, two left to go.