This is the snack plate I have put together for my daughters when they return home from school in one hour (one of them with a playdate). If you didn’t know me any better you’d think that I was a pretty organized, pretty thoughtful mother, right? Nope. Quite the opposite. The snack situation in my house is out of control if I don’t pre-empt it this way. From the moment they walk in the house they start asking “Can I have a snack?” Ten minutes later, after eating: “I’m still hungry. Can I have a snack?” Ten minutes later: “MOM! I’m still hungry. Can you bring a snack up to my room!?” You get the idea. It’s a situation that seems exacerbated by playdates — maybe because it’s just one more little voice in the pile-on. The relentless requesting usually ends up with me getting mad and frustrated (those little monsters know exactly what they’re doing) and spiraling into dark places of maternal self-hatred. So I have started retaliating with the Official Afterschool Snack Plate. I load it up with munchies representing every possible kid snack food group: something salty (pistachios or my new infatuation: crimson popcorn), something sweet (dried cherries), something crunchy (tortilla chips), something fruity (fresh cherries), something creamy (cheese sticks, cubed), something indulgent (mini oatmeal raisin cookies from Trader Joes). And then I say, this is your snack plate for the afternoon. I am not replenishing. I am not taking orders. The kitchen is closed.