There is no way around it. It has to happen eventually and the longer I put it off the worse they get. It starts at around 3:30pm, the afternoon hunger kicks in and I hear the fridge getting raided followed by sneaky little footsteps running to the couch. Giggles. Crumbs (I hate crumbs! And since when did we eat on the couch?) containers opening and rustling packages.
He is hungry again. He is always hungry. Hungry as in he ate whole T-bone steaks for dinner from age 2 and would would eat mine too if I wasn’t quick enough. He would never starve. He has quite good food related survival skills. And he is great at sharing with his little sister. Bonus! The other day I caught him feeding Juju and himself ice cream hiding behind the huge chair in the nursery. “Here you go Darling” he said, feeding one scoop to her followed by one scoop for him. So cute! I must admit I felt proud like a puffed up Mama pigeon at just how well he was sharing with her (and how little mess he had made!) but also slightly appalled that it was only 9:00am in the morning…Pick your battles.
Just quietly I love feeding the Children. Always have. Working in child care I was always told “You give them too much food!” Meh. Now at home with my own Children I love watching the enjoyment on their little faces scoffing down Mama’s home cooked goodness knowing it’s nourishing their belly and brain, and helping them to grow. I am the queen of selection and options. I love putting together a tasting plate and it’s always overflowing. It’s the wog coming out in me. Pršut, marinated olives and capcicums, mettwurst, cod roe dip, salami, feta cheese, (Antipasto I LOVE you) and fresh fruit salad….Mmm.
Arsenic hour on the other hand is a completely different ball game. By 5:00pm we are in full swing – strike attack mode led by a small army that we created. Ugh…dinner bath and bedtime routine AGAIN? It rolls around so damn quick and before you know it you’re tits deep in dishes, screaming kids and more food on the floor than what was ever served on their plates! Sweet little faces instantly turn into gnarly red angry gnashing monsters grunting for food while you are madly trying to buzz around the kitchen multitasking like an underpaid and overwhelmed waitress on a never ending shift. And THEN the telemarketers call. On cue. Of course.
“Hello Ma’am I’m calling from…” “DO you even realise what TIME it is!? I have 2 screaming kids here vying for my attention, the microwave is dinging for the 5th time this minute, I have potatoes that are boiling over and a fuming temper to match! I know you are just trying to do your job but I am trying to do mine and you are NOT HELPING!” “I am sorry Ma’am, is there a better time I can call you?” “Yes…NEVER! Never is a fanfuckingtastic time to call me!” Slam. Now I have found a much more calm and effective way to deal with them. Simply hand the phone to the Fournado and he does all the talking. Brilliant! He can ramble for days about the latest Mr Maker episode he watched and how “you have to use gloopy glue” and that “you might need an adult to help because scissors are sharp” followed by the theme song. Highly entertaining yet he seems upset they don’t want to stay and chat. Between him and myself we don’t get those calls anymore…
But it does not end there. No. Did I mention we went through a stage where the baby would cry the entire dinner time? The moment she was put in the high chair and offered food of any kind we all had to brace ourselves for an almighty ear piercing scream that lasted until we gave in and got her back out. She refused all food of any sort for so long it was worrying. Turns out it was teething. It was particularly bad for her; getting 4 molars at once is not a nice experience. The same as eating dinner with fluro orange ear plugs jammed in your ears is not a nice experience. Thankfully the teething is over (for now) and she is happy to eat again so meal times are back to just the ‘normal’ kind of crazy. Which goes something like this.
Make sure they have eaten enough so they don’t wake hungry through the night. Clean off as much mess as possible before it gets tracked throughout the house. Run the bath,
drag them in coax them in (“I dont WANT to have a bath!”) and quickly wash the important bits. Brush their teeth. (Brushing the teeth of a baby with a clenched jaw is damn near impossible and very frustrating!) Drag them back out Coax them back out, (Of course you don’t ‘WANT’ to get out now) towel dry what you can as nudie little bodies run out the door and off into the night. Clean up the soaking floor and toothpaste from the shower screen, yuk that stuff is ever so sticky. Wash your hands and dump the dirty clothes in the Everest sized pile of washing in the laundry. Hunt them down and wrangle them into their pj’s and then fall into a heap on the bed ready to read the goodnight stories. Watch the clock ticking by. (Don’t look too desperate to get out of there – they can sense it) So close to freedom you can almost taste it. But first the battle of the baby. She gives a good fight. The boy child is much easier to put to sleep…a quick kiss and cuddle and we are done. But no, not the baby. It involves sitting in a chair hunched over the side of the cot gently rocking her bottom until she falls asleep. I nearly fall asleep listening to the soft lullaby music, it can take forever! From the tiny crack of light coming in through the door I can see the minutes and sometimes hours go by on my watch. Sometimes you need to call for back up. Switch out for a while. Take a breath. Hide. It can drag on for so long, but hold your patience; you will be free so very soon. Tired, emotionally exhausted and physically drained of all energy but totally free.