Monday, February 9, 2015

Dinner with a pinch of children - Guest post from Office Mum

Today I'm delighted to have Andrea from Office Mum guest posting here. 

I love Andrea's blog - funny, informative, tackling both the big issues and the minute details of being a working mum. 

Here she is talking about dinnertimes at her house. Sound familiar to anyone...?


When I’m at work all week, I dream of weekend time with the kids – I especially dream of family mealtimes; the chatter around the table, smallies asking for seconds, everyone helping to clear the table. Of course, that's all it is - a dream. The reality of mealtimes with my kids is something very different.

Last night for example, it went something like this:

Me: "Dinner!"

No reply. Repeat four times. Finally, Emmie and Clara arrive at the table.

"What's for dinner mum?" asks Clara, who is seven.

"Chicken Korma!" I say, in a bright voice that's supposed to infuse the upcoming meal with extra tastiness. "Like the one we had in my aunt's house - remember? You loved that."

My kids never eat curry, are extremely reluctant to try anything new, and abhor almost every vegetable known to man. Yet in other people's houses, they eat whatever is put on front of them - I suspect we are not alone in this annoying trait.

"That doesn't look the same as the one we had in your auntie's house..." Clara says dubiously, as I put a plate on front of her. "It's a different colour? And what are the red things? There were no red things the last time."

"It's just a slightly different recipe," I say, "And the red things are peppers."

"Muuuuummmm, you know I don't like peppers! And what are these other things - they looks like 
Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes?"

I suspect she means the crushed almonds that I've thrown in, because I didn't have the ground almonds mentioned in the recipe.

Clara carries on. "Mum, I can't eat this. It's like Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, which you say are bad and full of sugar, and you know mum, I don't want to be unhealthy. So it's better if I don't eat it."

I start explaining that there's no cereal of any kind in the Korma but get distracted by Sam, who has just walked off. He's three, and usually leaves the table half way through the meal, but this time we haven't even started. I call him back, half-heartedly, knowing I'll eventually have to pick him up and physically carry him.

"You know mum," says Clara, "I have the feeling that because he's cute, you kind of let him away with things? And I don't think it's a good idea. It's kind of spoiling him really?"

Right. Called to action by the seven-year-old, I feel duty-bound to pick up the squawking toddler and carry him back to the table. Meanwhile, Emmie, who is five, is heading towards the door, because she has to "get something important" upstairs.

I pick her up too, and carry her back to her chair. Three unhappy children continue moaning in unison about the apparently inedible dinner.

"You know I don't like this mum."

"You've never had it before."

"You know I don't like things I've never had before."

"Give me strength."

"Why do you want strength?"

My husband is very well-behaved. He doesn't leave the table and he eats all his dinner. He even says it's lovely (it's not).

Eventually, as I do every day, I give in. I give the nod. They scrape their bowls. They declare themselves full. They run to their great love - the TV. My husband and I clear up, exhausted from the effort of our relaxing family meal.   

"Time for bed!" I say to the kids.

"I'm hungry," says Emmie.

"Me too," says Clara, "Can I've a bowl of Corn Flakes?"

"Me want nana," says Sam, helping himself.

Give me strength.

Andrea Mara is shoe-obsessed, coffee-loving mother of three from Dublin. When she’s not at work or looking after the kids, she’s simultaneously making tomorrow’s school lunches, eating Toblerone and letting off steam on . You can also find her on Facebook (more than she should be).
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