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Eating Dinner with a Toddler in 38 “Easy” Steps

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Family meals can be a disaster. Mealtime with a toddler feels a lot like riding a bicycle. With one hand tied behind your back. While blindfolded. Pedaling 50 mph. After 17 beers.

After 12 years and three children, I have finally mastered the family dinner in 38 easy steps. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

  1. Race home from work. Speed just enough to make every green light but not enough to draw attention from local police.
  2. Begin prepping chicken.
  3. Realize you are out of salt. Use more pepper to make up for salt deficiency.
  4. Place chicken, buns, cheese, and grill tools outside for husband.
  5. Take out carrots, cucumber, and lettuce for salad.
  6. Realize there is only 1/4 of a cucumber left.
  7. Curse husband for last night’s gin and tonics.
  8. Find croutons in cabinet because crunch is similar to cucumber.
  9. Prepare salad.
  10. Pick toddler up off floor, where he throws himself after noticing lettuce leaf out of the corner of his eye.
  11. Manage to get salad, chicken, and milk on table, along with toddler.
  12. Sit down and begin eating.
  13. Begin bargaining with toddler. Three bites of salad equals one popsicle.
  14. Get up and cut up chicken for toddler.
  15. Get back up and retrieve additional ketchup for toddler because he ate original ketchup with spoon in advance of meal.
  16. Ask husband how his day was.
  17. Stop to reason with toddler that black specks on chicken are not pepper, rather tiny pieces of chocolate.
  18. When toddler’s screaming decibel makes dog bark, get up and scrape pepper off chicken, along with cheese. He liked cheese yesterday. Today cheese is the devil.
  19. Sit back down and take sip of wine.
  20. Tell toddler that he is not, in fact, all done with his meal. Three bites of his bun dipped in second helping of ketchup is not a well-balanced meal.
  21. Explain that he will not get originally promised popsicle if he does not eat 3 bites of salad plus 3 bites of chicken.
  22. Wait patiently for him to figure out what 6 bites means on his fingers.
  23. Settle for 5 bites when he successfully holds up 5 fingers and says 5. He is a genius and should not be held to the same standards as other children.
  24. Explain that licking the chicken does not count as a bite.
  25. Stare at your husband. Try desperately to remember if he actually told you how his day was.
  26. Agree with toddler that 2 croutons and 1 carrot equals 3 bites of salad.
  27. Grab wet napkin to clean up carrot toddler chewed up and promptly spit on dog’s fur.
  28. Sit down and take bite of chicken.
  29. Get up to retrieve third helping of ketchup for toddler.
  30. Shout empty threats at toddler. No Thomas the Train before bedtime if chicken is not consumed.
  31. Hand toddler iPad to watch Thomas while he finishes chicken.
  32. Take another bite of chicken, which you realize is now cold and, in fact, over-peppered.
  33. Throw food away. Fill up wine glass.
  34. Retrieve popsicle for toddler. Two bites of chicken is basically the same as three.
  35. Ask toddler to please put plate in sink.
  36. Retrieve plate from garbage can and put in sink.
  37. Find missing salt shaker in garbage.
  38. Pat yourself on back! Another family meal is behind you. Only 7,143 more to go.
Article Posted 1 year Ago

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