Thursday, July 31, 2014

The lunchtime scramble

As I sat down to make yet another feeble attempt at eating lunch, another request rang out from one of my kids.  I smiled to myself and got back out of my chair to meet yet another need and I thought about how much can happen in less than an hour.  It feels like a marathon sometimes.  I decided I should write this down, one for the memory books when I miss the days of having toddlers and small children running around our house.

One hour earlier...

I check the clock and it's nearly 10:30 a.m.  My mental alarm goes off that it's time to feed the baby again which will take about 20 minutes to do.  As I'm quietly rocking in his nursery while he eats, I realize that as soon as he finishes eating it will be close to 11:00 and not far off from lunch time so I know that when he's done I will need to get lunch started.  Zeke finishes nursing, which is just about my favorite thing I do each day, and I head back downstairs to the kitchen where it feels like I live all day long.  I start a pot of water for a box of bunny pasta mac n cheese for the girls and as soon as I say bunny pasta the twins start getting super excited as if we haven't had it every other day for weeks now.  Wow, if only I could get that pumped up about what I ate for lunch!

While I'm putting Zeke on the play mat, they eagerly ask if they can help with lunch and I decide it's worth it to slow down and take the extra time to teach them how to cut up the strawberries I had just pulled out of the fridge.  After washing their hands, Lily and Piper both drag a little kid chair over to the counter and ask me to tie on their aprons. I hand them each a pile of strawberries and a bowl and they start cutting away.

Meanwhile the water for the pasta is angrily boiling on my stove and Rainey is tugging at my legs with that starved look in her face as if she hasn't eaten in days.  I balance her on my hip while I show her how to pour the box of dried pasta into the hot bubbling water.  She wants to eat one first so while she's crunching away, we pour the pasta in together.  I set the timer for 8 minutes and then ask Lily to get three plates and bowls out for lunch.  She and I lay them out on the counter, complete with spoons and forks.  I dump strawberries on each plate while we wait for the pasta.  This is when I realize that I need to eat too.  I put Rainey down on the floor and she promptly runs over to a very vulnerable Zeke lying on his play mat and lays down next to him. I'm just thankful she didn't lay down ON him.

The timer on the microwave goes off and I set about draining the pasta, mixing the sauce, pouring it all together and then into various colored bowls.  As I'm getting their plates filled, Rainey discovers how close she is to stuffing her face and with all the noise she can muster, she wildly gestures toward the island where the plates are.

As the three girls eat, I load my plate with leftover lasagna from the night before and start cutting it into bite-sized pieces before I realize that I don't need to cut my food up like I do for the girls.  Oh well, I guess it will heat up quicker this way.  I pop it into the microwave and fill up my water bottle bottle while it heats.

I'm setting my plate at the table where Rainey is eating and just as I'm sitting down to put a forkful in my mouth, she starts making the sign for "more" and saying, "deh, deh, deh, deh, deh, deh...". I am amazed at how fast these kids eat.  I start getting her more pasta when the older two start asking for something to drink. I give Rainey back her bowl and start filling cups with water.  Just as I'm handing out beverages, Zeke starts crying and flailing is chunky little legs and Rainey is saying, "deh, deh, deh" and signing for more food again.  I scoop out more strawberries onto her plate and more pasta and then I go to pick up the baby and fully intend to sit down and eat this time.  I am swallowing my third bite of lukewarm lasagna when Rainey tells me in her cutest 22 month old voice that she's, "dah done" and waving her hands in the air.  OF COURSE she's all done and I am just getting started!! I tell her to wait while I eat a few more bites and then I have to put Zeke in a bouncy so I can clean her up before she smears cheese sauce in her hair.  Not that the addition of cheese sauce in her hair would matter since there's a nice thick layer of greasy, water resistant aquaphor lotion in it from a few days before.  Oh but that's a story for another day.

I'm wiping her hands when the doorbell rings and it turns out to be our painter with some samples for me to look at.  Sure, I have time to look at samples, it's not like I need to eat so that I can continue to make milk for my chunky little guy.

The girls run off to do more playing and Rainey is content to read books in the corner of the living room and then chuck them to the side when she finishes.  After I select a paint sample, I quickly finish eating before I get interrupted with...

"Mommy!!!! I had an accident in the bathroom!!"