Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Anyone for Leftovers?

There is a lot about being a stay at home parent that most people don't think about. Sure, when I tell people that I am a stay at home dad, most people say things like "I couldn't do it", or "Good for you", but I get the feeling that some of those people think that it wouldn't be that hard or that they wish that they had the means to stay home with their kids. I get that. I feel pretty lucky that I get to be with my girls for all of these important memories. But there are a few things that get old and stay old and never go away. Yes, laundry is harder because their clothes are miniature and hard to fold, but the biggest surprise to me as a stay at home dad was how much time I devote to feeding two kids that together weigh less than seventy pounds.

Breakfast can be easy if they aren't sick of Honeynut Cheerios or cinnamon waffles, but sometimes I make pancakes or eggs and that introduces the second problem with the feeding schedule--dishes. I want to go back to my college self and slap him silly for thinking that washing dishes was hard. I wash more dishes in one day than I did in a week when I was single. The sad thing is that my sink was always full of dirty dishes that I would clean when I needed them. If I let dishes pile up in the sink now, the whole house is paralyzed. When my wife and I were newly married, her grandparents came to see us and the dishes were my job then too. My wife was traumatized to find out that her grandmother did our dishes before she got home from work. I still think about that day when the dishes are piling up.

Lunch and dinner are infinitely harder on the feeding front. This introduces the third problem with feeding two small children--the waste. I feel terribly guilty about the sheer mass of food that I throw away on a regular basis. For a while I went the "Momnivore" route and tried to survive on the food that they didn't eat, but I felt like a vulture waiting for them to confirm that they were done eating, and we would very often have a meltdown from a child who was suddenly hungry for what I had just eaten. I also thought it would help me lose weight, but it had the opposite effect.

If we lived in the country I would get pigs and feed them solely on the food that my girls don't eat. Those would be some award winning pigs. I have also considered opening up a stand at a farmers market to sell the leftovers for compost or to some starving college student.

The only sure-fire thing that they will eat without complaint is macaroni and cheese, and lucky for me, they don't like the microwave variety--it has to be Kraft Three Cheese shells--Thanks to my wife, who likes it too. The pigs would have a great time with the green beans, apples, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc..., but they would have to do without macaroni and cheese.

This leads me to the really big problem with feeding two small children. It is demoralizing and painful (yes I am being overly dramatic) to spend a lot of time preparing a meal that you think is going to be a hit and be healthy, only to have your kids push it around on their plate and say that it smells funny or that they don't like it. With that in mind, Mom, I have to apologize. I am sorry for complaining about the Shake and Bake chicken, or the Old El Paso taco night. I am sorry for complaining that we had pork chops or orange roughy too often. I am sorry for every time that I ever turned my nose up to anything you cooked for me.

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