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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Next year, pots and pans

Holidays are such freaking events.  Really.  I mean, not to get all back in my day and such, but back in my day on New Year's Eve, should we make it to midnight, which, let's be honest, rarely happened, we were allowed to go onto the front porch and bang some pots and pans.  For like, 15 to 30 seconds.  And then it was off to bed.  Holiday over.

Joel painted our upstairs on New Year's Eve, and through a series of unfortunate events a project that should have lasted a few hours lasted 12.  12 whole hours.  On a holiday!

I started the morning out fresh.  I wanted it to be a special day for the kids since we decided to go low-key this year.  No parties or outings, just us at home.  But since it's been just us at home for basically three weeks now I thought I should do something to set this day apart.  To make it special.

And so I turned to Pinterest.  I found one post that laid out a schedule of activities, hour-by-hour, from 6 pm to midnight.  It all sounded so sweet and lovely and I could barely wait to start.  It was only 8:30 in the morning, though, so I decided we could prep instead.

First activity: Homemade toilet paper roll poppers.  This one sounded perfect because my kids already have an unhealthy obsession with empty toilet paper rolls.  Seriously, they're like gold around here.  I still don't know what they use them for, as I usually find them randomly scattered throughout the house with no visible changes, but for a moment at least (the moment I'm about to throw them away) they love them.

Things went fairly well.  Even Benjamin enjoyed cutting, and of course, scattering the confetti.  I thought it was a good sign for the day.  I thought it would all go so well.  But I forgot that I just finished my coffee and I forgot that it was the morning and we were all so very fresh and I couldn't foresee that I would be responsible for the feeding and the cleaning and the family fun for 12 whole hours that day.

Mid-morning I decided we would make some Oreo truffle pops.  They looked so simple.  They looked so yummy.  It looked like such fun with the chocolate and the sprinkles and I forgot the very crucial fact that I hate, hate, cooking with kids!

I start snapping at the kids before they even set foot in the kitchen.  I can barely stand the screech of chairs and stools and the fact that they stand right in front of wherever I need to be.  As if I'm the least important one in the equation.  As if they could somehow manage to make Oreo truffle pops without me!

The thing about melted chocolate and sprinkles is that they look like so much fun, but they are actually evil.  When melted chocolate and sprinkles combine with three squirmy kids they are the worst things in the world.  They're all over your kitchen floor and under the cutting board and covering the sticky, slobbery fingers of your children who CANNOT STOP licking them.

Cooking with kids is one of my greatest acts of love as a mom because no matter how much they love it, I hate it more.  But I do it.  I actually do it and I don't even get an award or money, I just grit my teeth and try my best to bite my tongue when I feel like shouting, "Why can't you stir like a normal human being?"

I was literally sweating by the time I finished and looked at the clock only to realize these now sugared-up children would soon expect to be fed.  Can I seriously be responsible for feeding my children?  On a holiday?

But meal times just keep on coming no matter how tired and stressed you are trying to make the day so freaking special for your kids who still have the nerve to get hungry.

The afternoon was something of a blur.  I remember the feeling of exhaustion and, at one point, entering the bedroom, staring at an also-exhausted, paint-covered Joel with that certain look of crazy in my eyes and stating, "I need five minutes."  After ten years of marriage, let's just say he knew enough to put down the brush and head downstairs.  Immediately.

By late afternoon I had refreshed enough to go a little crazy once more.  Since our farm-stay in Italy at the end of October I had been promising Finn that we could make homemade raviolis together.  I kind of hoped he would forget, but every few days for the past two months he would mention the raviolis, and I would promise him soon.

It seemed like a good special-occasion dinner and I hadn't planned anything else, so I called Finn to the kitchen and told him to get on his apron, it was time for raviolis.  It started out great.  I was patient and calm and I thought, perhaps, this just might work.

Until the little one, from the corner of his eye, noticed he was being left out of something.  And so he charged over like a rhino, drug a chair right in front of me, of course, and started demanding, "My turn!"

I happened to glance at the clock.  It was six.  The hour in which the Pinterest countdown was set to begin.  And so it began...

6:00

Cook dinner.  The most complicated you can think of, preferably.  Perhaps a homemade pasta with a fresh, cheese filling.  The more difficult, the better.

Get the whole family involved.  When your oldest calls from the couch, "Can I help?" don't shout, "No!" with such force so as to stun the entirety of your children, but invite him gently to join in the fun.  And when everybody insists on taking their turn at kneading, let them.  Don't worry about the fact that they suck, suck, suck at kneading dough, just encourage their grandiose delusions that they are great at everything they do.  Just great.

7:00

Lovingly situate your darling kids in front of a TV program of their choice.  Attempt to rectify the pasta that they ruined with their sweet attempts/insistence on kneading the dough.  Think about what helpful little angels they are as the freakishly large, tough blobs of dough float reluctantly to the surface of the boiling water.

8:00

Dinner time!  Your little sweethearts will jump to set the table after all the hard work you've put in their dinner/day.  Expect full compliance and complete gratefulness when said dinner is placed before them.  Try not to notice that your husband is snatching the uneaten raviolis from each of their precious little plates and choking them down before mommy completely loses it.  Follow up dinner with Oreo truffle pops and try your best not to laugh hysterically when they ask for another.

9:00

Forget the treasure hunt that you almost planned earlier in the day and get those little cherubs some more TV.  It is a holiday, after all.  And if you watch Charlie Brown on a holiday it doesn't even count as TV consumption.  It's just part of the festivities.

Give up all hope of your children making it to midnight and pray that they fall asleep mid-show.

Try to remain your smiling, happy self when you notice the only one who adhered to your wishes is your husband.

9:30

Show's almost over.  Perfect timing, you'll say, because it's just two minutes until midnight!  Have husband commence fake countdown on you-tube, ready the poppers and... 3, 2,1... Happy New Year!

Beg children to go to bed as they repeatedly gather the scattered confetti and replay the big moment over and over and over again.  Shut off all the lights and wait for them to take the hint and come join you upstairs.

9:45

Tuck your children into bed and with every last reserve of patience in your body ask their favorite moment of 2015.  Again, try not to laugh when the middle child says, New Year's Eve.  Kisses and lights out.

10:00

Fall into bed.  Feel unusually grouchy about all of the fireworks.  Why are they so loud? Doesn't anyone realize it's bed time?

10:05

Sweet sleep.

Next year... pots and pans.

Happy New Year!




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