Lunch. How could something so simple turn so ugly? Today's lunch problems I believe stemmed from two key problems: hunger and leftovers. Hunger: obviously people eat lunch because they're hungry; little Jimmy and I, however, get REALLY hungry (personally I think there may be some sort of low blood sugar problem or something) and when the hunger hits, there'd better be food near bye. Leftovers: while in so many ways it is a wonderful thing to have an overflowing fridge, in other ways it's not so great. Trying to put the milk back in the fridge after breakfast can easily become a 5+ minute re-organization ordeal; further, I personally feel the burden of using those leftovers as it is a given that men won't eat leftovers regardless what new and creative ways they are presented to them. (Wasteful Watsons!)
When I picked up little Jimmy from school, I felt really prepared as I'd brought an assortment of granola bars. Unfortunately after having scarfed down two he informed me for the twentieth time that he was "Huuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnggrryyyyyyyyyyyyy" (said with a slight whine). He was really gunning for a stop at McDonalds on the way home, but I was determined to make it home so we could put a dent in all those leftovers.
As soon as we walked in the door, I put Kyla in her high chair and plopped down a few pieces of cold mac n' cheese for her to nibble on while I heated some other food. In the meantime, I pulled out a bag of cold pancakes from Saturday morning's breakfast for me to delicately devour while I raced around the kitchen. As I chewed on a bite of cold pancake with syrup, I noted a certain familiar yet grotesque smell as I reheated the noodles, broccoli, and li'l smokies. Maybe it was the broccoli - as broccoli pretty much always stinks when it's cooked; or maybe it was the combo of broccoli and li'l smokies . . whatever it was, it struck me that "this really stinks," and I sort of felt bad about serving it to my child.
"C'mon, Jimmy. Lunchtime." I called. "Yay - what do you have for me? Macaroni and cheese?" he asked eagerly. "No, I have this" I said as I set his reeking plate in front of him. "But I don't waaaaannnttt that. . " he sulked. Trying to not be one of those moms that gives in to their kids' every want, I took on my stern tone: "Jimmy. Enough whining. Time to eat." I answered as I set a putrid piece of broccoli on Kyla's high chair and began breaking a Li'l Smokie into li'l bitesize pieces for her.
It was right about then that I looked around the kitchen and surveyed the horror of it all. The stinking pan on the stovetop steaming with some hazy looking, greasy liquid, Jimmy's plate of nastiness, the open bag of cold pancakes, the tupperware of cold mac n' cheese (complete with a spoon sized dent in the center where Kyla's spoonful had been pulled from), and finally Kyla - covered in tiny, little, gooey, green bits of broccoli and cold macaroni stuck to her face. . and those pieces of li'l smokies - mysteriously gone. . "Gross. This is just gross" it hit me as Kyla began applauding with her sticky hands out of the clear blue.
After much cajoling, lunch was wrapping up. Jimmy hopped up to go blow his bubbling nose leaving a trail of cold, limp broccoli behind him. Kyla started fussing and yelling "Da dun" (translation: all done). I went to pick her up, but alas, the mess was too great. As I stripped off her sticky clothes there in the high chair, a new sent greeted my nostrils. . Kyla had a poopy that needed taking care of. I abandoned the mess in the kitchen to go clean my daughter's hiney. Just as I was finishing up Kyla's diaper, I heard little Jimmy run past the bedroom door shouting "I gotta poo!". "OK, great." I answered. I went back to the kitchen and began cleaning up the results of our "hunger plus leftovers" combo. While I was working, I could hear Jimmy practicing his letter sounds in the bathroom: " 'B' is for butt." Several minutes later Jimmy called out "I'm doooo-ooone." When I walked in, little Jimmy was laying stomach down on the floor with his pants by his shins and his pooey tooshy exposed. "What are you doing?" I asked - not nearly as surprised as anyone else might be to come across something like this. "I'm laying here" he answered. . and that was the end of that conversation. No further explanation was necessary.
I've now finished cleaning up the kitchen, putting the kids down (though Kyla is still screaming from her crib), and have just polished off some more leftovers. It strikes me that my everyday "normal" could very easily turn the average Joe's stomach. In fact, I know it would. The quick succession of gross, grosser, and grossest is not atypical. I have a feeling this is what humans in their basest forms are like. . just kind of yucky. . eating nasty foods and pooping them out (think of the Lion King's theme: 'The Circle of Life'). They say young kids and very old people have a lot in common. So while being integrally involved with certain aspects of my children's life at this stage may seem nasty to me, it's worth noting that they'll probably observe me in an equally (or more so) nasty state when I grow really old and geriatric. So here's to the Circle of Life!