It’s a long running, cruel joke that parents, specifically moms, don’t get to eat their food while it’s hot because of our
whiny little brats children asking for things and being all needy. But I have the answer! I have figured out how we, as parents, can eat hot meals daily, while still tending to the needs of our children.
Here’s what you do, step by step:
While the meal is cooking, set the table. You will need to ensure there is a plate and cup of every single colour in place for any toddlers, as well as a variety of utensils, because you may THINK they will want to eat soup with a spoon but you would be very, very wrong – they will obviously need a fork. Ensure you provide both plastic AND metal utensils because you just never know what the required implement will be on any given day.
Prepare any drinks your children may request. Now, you may be the kind of parent who only serves water at dinner time but you should also put juice and chocolate milk on the table so that you will not need to get out of your seat if you decide you are going to give in to your toddler’s incessant whining, and/or want to have something sugary at hand to use in order to bribe them to eat. Also, if you have a baby you will need a minimum of three sippy cups at hand so that you can continue providing them to your infant without having to pick up off the floor the ones he has thrown down in a rage.
Now add condiments: Ketchup, ranch dip, apple sauce, honey mustard, marshmallow fluff – whatever it is that they may insist is a requirement for making their disgusting dinner edible, make sure it is on the table.
Don’t forget to put a cloth on the table for the inevitable spills, and maybe put two cloths there so that you still have a usable one after your toddler submerges the first one into his water cup.
The table is looking pretty full at this point and so you might need a second table. Also, while you’re grabbing that table, just go ahead and put a potty directly beside the toddler’s chair in case he decides he needs to poop once dinner starts. This may SEEM like a lot of work, but the end result is that you will not have to leave the table once you sit down. Glorious, no?
Ok. So your meal is not quite cooked yet but it’s good enough to feed to kids who aren’t going to eat it anyway, so put the children’s food on a plate. Put it in the fridge or freezer so they cannot complain that it is too hot.
Now it is time to call the children to the table. Sit them down and strap them in. If they do not require a booster or high chair but are still at risk of wandering away from the table before they have completed their dinner, just grab a belt or a scarf and tie them to the back of the chair.
This is the time when you cut up their dinner. DO NOT MESS THIS UP. You need to ask for very specific instructions here because one wrong move could render this entire meal inedible. Cut precisely as they request. If they want it in 3 halves, YOU CUT THAT IN THREE HALVES. Do not argue, obey. Remember the prize: a hot and tasty meal eaten while seated.
Is the food cut up? Okay, now run to the kitchen. The food is actually done now, and you have limited time to load your plate before the children stop eating and start whining so it is important to be quick.
Success! You’re at the table! Your food is hot! With the array of condiments and flatware there isn’t any room for your plate, so just rest it on your knees. The plate is not exactly ON the table, but you’re sitting AT the table and that’s all that matters.
Now here’s the beauty of this plan: Your toddler is screaming that he wants the purple plate and a “breakable spoon.” Your baby has thrown his sippy cup down and is demanding a different one. Your husband wants ketchup and doesn’t know how to find things in the fridge. These may have been trips to the kitchen before, or at least stalls in your eating while you said no repeatedly, but now everything is set up on your (admittedly overflowing) table and you can just use one hand to throw a purple plate at one kid and a new sippy cup at the other and tell your husband that if he can’t find the ketchup that’s right in front of him he doesn’t deserve any.
Boom. A calm and peaceful meal.