A realistic recipe for mothers of small children.
You will need:
- 1 packet of hokkien noodles
- 1 head of broccoli
- 3 carrots
- 1 cup of mushrooms
- 1 block of tofu
- 1/2 a cup of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- A bucket-load of patience
- Get out a box of toys for your kids.
- Place the baby on the kitchen floor and open that one drawer of stuff he is allowed to play with.
- Get your broccoli and carrots out of the fridge.
- Close the spice drawer and redirect baby to all the SHINY HAPPY COLOURS in the drawer he is allowed to access.
- Wash your broccoli and carrots.
- Start peeling the mushrooms.
- Put down the mushroom. Go break up the fight that has erupted between your older two kids because they apparently both want the same single toy. In a box of about 20 toys.
- Return to the kitchen. Clean up the pile of mixed spice the baby dumped on the floor while you were out of the kitchen.
- Finish peeling mushrooms.
- Cut carrots into sticks.
- Wait. Stop. Put down the carrots. What’s that smell? Go change the baby’s nappy.
- Finish cutting the carrots.
- Slice the mushrooms.
- Turn on the stove top and heat some oil in a wok.
- Pull the baby off the bin and wipe his hands. Don’t forget to check his mouth!
- Your kids are getting kind of loud. The kind of loud when they are playing a physical game that started at “fun” but is fast heading down the “fight” end of the scale. Remind them to only keep playing as long as they are both enjoying it.
- The oil is starting to smoke! Chuck that garlic in the wok and turn the heat down a bit.
- The baby is eating something. You didn’t give him food. Pull foreign object out of baby’s mouth. It actually is food. Give it back to him.
- Chop the broccoli into florets and then throw all the veggies in the wok and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Start chopping the tofu into cubes.
- There is a thud and a scream from upstairs. Put down the knife and get the ice pack. Comfort the thump-ee, chastise the thump-er, admit defeat and put the TV on.
- Re-enter the kitchen, taking care not the step on one of the 50 plastic kitchen utensils that are now covering the floor, especially the upturned cookie cutter – that thing hurts!
- Finish chopping the tofu into cubes and throw it into the wok with the veggies.
- Pull the baby away from the bin.
- Pull the baby away from the bin.
- Pull the baby away from the bin and put him in a high chair with some cheese.
- Give the veggies and tofu a stir. Pour over the honey and soy sauce, and stir again.
- Add the hokkien noodles and stir them through the veggies.
- Start serving food into bowls.
- Your 5 year old looks over the counter and says “Yuck! I hate that dinner!”
- Say, “Well, I hope you enjoy eating air for dinner then!”
- a) WARNING: Do not say comment in step 31 out loud! If you did say it out loud, then proceed to step 32b. This will add 10 minutes to your dinner prep time.
b) Give your 5 year old a hug. Explain that they will not, in fact, be eating air for dinner. Explain why the dinner you made is, in fact, delicious (mmm, honey!). Go look up sarcasm in the dictionary together, because #teachablemoments.
- Finish serving up the food.
- Get all the children in their chairs.
- You are done! Enjoy dinner! (Just kidding – you have 2 minutes to scoff everything in your bowl before the baby screams to get out of the high chair).
In all seriousness, it’s not often that everything goes wrong like that. And when it does, all I can do really is sigh, and think, “That’s life with kids!”.
I’ve found that chopping the veggies and meat earlier in the day goes a long way to making this time of night go more smoothly.
What do you do to help things run smoothly in the evenings? I’d love to hear from you 🙂