Monday, January 4, 2010

pool in the kitchen

If there's one thing I know about getting through the day, it's that late afternoons before dinner time are of critical planning importance. No matter if the little fellas wake up from afternoon nap at 2:30 or 4, they whine, cling, and cry their way through until dinner is on the table. By this time, I am also tired, and sadly, I rarely have a solid dinner plan. I do a lot of wandering around the kitchen, looking blankly into the cabinets the same way a person like me might look under the hood of a car, dumbly expecting the solution to emerge with neon lights and a happy little tune.

As I enter this new year, I have rededicated myself to planning this time of day ahead of time. I have reserved Sunday nights for menu planning, and unlike many of my friends who only make dinner menus, mine will include all three meals plus snacks. How much easier is my life going to be when I know what needs to be cooked when, which snacks to pack up or set on their little table, and what meals are on the way? It is a relief just thinking of it.

Last week, the whining was really wearing me down. Typical meal-prep video distraction was not working. I was too tired to try to make dinner with one 30-pounder on my back and another 20-pounder in my arms.

making dinner is challenging with only one hand.

I ran out in the rain and grabbed the summertime wading pool, flicking off those ugly Portland slugs as I jogged towards the door. I carried it in over the pulling hands and whiny cries and dumped it on the floor, then put two small bins filled with warm, soapy water into the pool right in the kitchen and let the boys go at it.

We turned up the heat, stripped off their clothes and dropped in some toys, and I bought myself 20 minutes to get dinner ready. Granted, it resulted in a wet floor and extra cleanup for me, but this is definitely a trick to remember for hard days that I will no doubt be using again.


  1. and they got a bath! :) yay resourceful mama!

    PS I have considered planning 3x meals a day. I just might.

  2. So you gotta let me know how the whole snack planning goes. I want to try it but my kids seem to want something specific and I wonder if I'd be able to persuade them to have the snack of the day instead of the one they are asking for. Maybe it'll work better for you since you are starting at a younger age and they will maybe get used to it. It sounds like it would save a lot of fussing.

  3. Awesome resourcefulness! You rock!

    Have you ever tried ignoring the whining and crying? I know it's hard when they're grabbing at your legs and such. But that's what my husband does, and he swears they whine and cry a lot more when I'm around!

    I'm sure you've also tried distracting them with kitchen stuff - tupperware and wooden spoons.

  4. Oh, yes, Jen... they have cabinets they have free access to, and I recently bought them a play kitchen, hoping it would help with the dinner time madness. They play with it, but not at meal prep time.

    If I ignore their crying... how long would I have to do that for? If I ignore them, someone ends up getting bitten. It just doesn't seem like an option.

    Dads have their magic, I believe it to be true!

  5. That is Awesome. With a capital A.

    I haven't found ignoring to work all that well. It usually ends in screams or some other horrid mess.

    I also plan meals and snacks. Makes life so much easier.

  6. Miriam, do you have a sample menu that you could share? pretty please?

  7. i adore you and your written word. i have twins, too, and a 3 year i relate to many of your struggles and challenges. Keep up the good work and thank you for your inspiration!

  8. Hi Elaine! You're so kind - thanks for sharing the journey with us and for leaving a comment! What's a wrangling strategy you use for your three kids? I'd love to hear!

  9. this is a great solution to a tough time of day. Do you put a big towel down under the pool?

  10. I just dragged the blanket we use to cover the carpet in the living room into the kitchen. Worked just fine.

    I will say this, though... when they were done, they were DONE. They were cold and wet, and I was still making dinner. It was a little crazy in the end, but I'll definitely use it again. Maybe tomorrow!