Friday, August 08, 2008

8/8/08 The Bench

After going to Trader Joe's twice and spending $150 on groceries today, we went out to dinner.

I just couldn't gather myself to cook tonight. I'd realized today that we've hardly done any take-out, restaurants or freezer foods, and now I'm working and getting home around 5:30pm. What's wrong with this picture? It's not like I'm cooking anything wonderful or new either.

I also can't make anything that requires more than 20 minutes of oven time. Prep, oven time, cool-down time and serving time puts dinner well past 7pm, and that just doesn't work anymore. Maybe I could sneak in a 40-minute lasagna if I had it ready to go right into the oven, but that would require preparation on weekends. Somehow, I don't see that happening.

I ran into an old friend at the gym today. She works full-time and has two children (6 and 4), so I asked her how she deals with walking in the door in the evening and making dinner. She said her kids are a lot easier to deal with now that she doesn't let them watch TV during the week anymore. That's interesting! But, her situation doesn't apply to mine anyway -- if all I had to deal with were my 6-year-old and 4-year-old, it'd be a different world. It's the demanding toddler that makes it hard.

But such a cute one! Katrina was all charm today (mostly, see below). And she was so good when we went out. Somehow before I got to the table, she'd already been settled in on a bench by the helpful waitress, without even so much as a booster. I was apprehensive about this arrangement, but she was really really good and mostly sat, chatted, and devoured bowl after bowl of fried rice.

The boys were really good too. This was one of the most successful outings we've had since...well, ever.

Part of the reason we went out was because the second we got home, even before we walked in the door, Katrina threw a full-on flailing screaming tantrum. I have no idea what set her off, but she was determined to keep it going. Every effort I made to distract her was met with contempt and a fresh bout of angry screeches. Finally, I finally hit upon something too irresistible to keep up the show: searching for strawberries in our little strawberry patch. I was able to harvest a few handfuls with my now-cooperative helper holding a little pail. Her attitude shift was immediate and drastic, and then she was all smiles, happy chitter-chatter and full-on adorable. But I was out of energy and time to make dinner by then. Such ups and downs: the low of a complete fit, the high of a small child delighting in finding strawberries.

As much as I complain, I really do love the little critter. I think about her all the time, with pride and affection, even about her willful episodes (otherwise known as "tantrums"). The fact that her age and stage of life are not my favorites are not her fault.

The boys, on the other hand, are at a phase of life I really like, especially Gabriel's. I'm in my element with a 6-year-old boy. Arguably a 4-year-old boy, at least ours, isn't anyone's element, but Julian's annoying traits have been slowly fading lately.

They make driving down a busy expressway fun when they see a green light up ahead, and cheer me on to make the light. "Go Mom GO!" then, "Yayyyyy!!!" when I make the green. Katrina joins in the clamor, and they've all succeeded in turning the most mundane chore of the day into genuine fun. This is what's great about kids.

8/8/08 (cool date!)

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