Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Baby Nuthouse: dare to dream

Everyone has a dream, and here is mine: I'd like to sit down to a pleasant breakfast with all three of my children.

Most days, I hide my plate on the kitchen counter and snag bites from it as I walk by on my way to the table, delivering plates, refilling cups of milk, and replacing dropped utensils.

Even if I do decide to sit down, and risk having my 18-month-old daughter grab food off my plate, one or more of the kids are usually finished eating by the time I make it to the table. This morning, though, I was exceptionally efficient in getting the meal together and distributed onto four plates. Cups were full, forks still on the table.

Suddenly my dream seemed within reach: there we were, all of us at the table together. The only part missing was the “pleasant.”

The moment I sat down, my daughter pointed at my plate and said, “More?”
“You have your own food,” I told her.
“No, this is Mommy’s food. You eat your food.” I pointed to her plate for emphasis.
“Bayel?” she said, reaching toward my bagel. Sighing, I tore off a piece, handed it to her, and then began devouring my meal as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the boys abandoned their half-eaten scrambled eggs to get an early start on the morning’s argument, entitled “This engine is ‘James’ and you may not call him ‘Harvey’!”

My daughter, finished with her own meal, slid off her chair and made her way around the table, polishing off what her brothers had left behind. She kept eyeing my bagel, so I stuffed the rest of it in my mouth and jumped up from the table to make tea.

Having children has greatly accelerated the rate at which I consume food. It began when my firstborn was just a tiny infant. He cried any time I put him down. All day I carried him around, in my arms or in a sling. I burned a lot of calories performing every activity with a rapidly growing child attached to me, and I had never been so hungry in my life. I found myself eating frequently, but quickly, before the baby needed something.

Two kids later, I am even more likely to be interrupted or distracted, and I have been known to feed everyone else lunch but forget to eat anything myself. Nap time rolls around, I finally have a moment of peace and quiet in which to think, and my first thought is: Wow, I sure am hungry.

So, I might eat lunch at 2:00, but at least no one is harassing me. Still, I find myself scarfing down my meal way too quickly. This is partly out of habit, partly because there are SO many things I want to do during nap time, but mostly because I am just so darn hungry.

For the time being, I think I should abandon my improbable dream of a pleasant breakfast for four, and just be glad we are fortunate enough to have food on the table. Or in my case, on the kitchen counter, tucked away behind a cereal box.


Angela said...

so true. ry out eats me. and eats half of mine. daily.
i'm with ya, girl... but honestly, i really can't wait til our youngest 2 are eating off my plate, too!!!
where food is available to them, always. and they will never hunger again.'d my funny turn into something so serious? such is my life these days. i'm ruined. as kay warren would say 'gloriously rouined'.
i love you.

Maureen said...

HAHAHA, I'm totally with you on this! Except my breakfast usually isn't on a plate, it's in the car out of a wrapper (Odwalla Bars are my staple). Just like water, I forget to drink it at home, I drink it in the car, or at 10:00 at night when I realize how thirsty I truly am.