Monday, February 15, 2010

The Chopping Block

30 Days of Nothing helped our family return to weekly menu planning. We've found it takes a lot of the stress of nightly dinner out of our evenings. Duh! It wasn't like we didn't know this, but our discipline was lacking. Sometimes Mr. Silly Pants and I aren't as good at being cooperatively organized as we could be, or as I imgagine we actually are. I think I am seeing this piece more clearly now. We kinda stink at the day to day cooperative stuff. We're pretty good at our own stuff. Perhaps we needed to muddle through some struggles in our daily lives (schedule) to get a little closer to 'smooth.' We both admit, it has been stressful to add a little whirling dirvish into our daily lives - precious, amazing, delightful, AND STRESSFUL! Blueberry requires cooperation and communication - no more fending for ourselves and then coming together at the end of the day. We changed the deal with marriage and little boy.
Honestly,  it's not just about getting our evenings in order - there IS Blueberry. Add to "the boy" effect that  I have been cooking for my family for many many years - um, like 21 to be exact - and there should be no surprise when I state, I'm just pretty darn tired of the work of family dinner. Frankly, I'm burned out on dinner cooking (that must be a thyroid of 9 talking). It seems the structural parts of this marriage and family have me right back in the thick of prepping the family meal for my husband's arrival home after work. I work part time - I'm home first, I'm home more, I'm home longer. I KNOW it makes sense to prepare the provisions most of the time. But, I don't exactly enjoy the dinner duties. Nope, I don't.

Tonight's meal was chicken salad the easy way; Organic Girl lettuce with our veges added and some breasts of chicken grilled up and added to the bowl. It's an easy dinner designed for tonight because I worked today, because Mr. Silly Pants and I try to eat a good salad meal at least once a week, and because our veges and greens are best at the start of the week before the wilt has set in.
The key is to make the prepping of dinner something that Blueberry and I enjoy doing together. This isn't easy for me; I'm sometimes about just getting the job done, I'm not too happy about dinner cooking anyway, I'm tired (9 again), and a toddler at the chopping block isn't exactly an efficient or even pleasant use of time. Yet, if we're going to eat as a family and eat at a reasonable time (say, 6:15-6:30) I have to figure out how to include our son in cooking dinner. (This is one place I feel the lack of sibs in the house, to be honest). 

Chef Blueberry and I got to work tonight and chopped and diced our little hearts out. His favorite addition was the handful of cashews; which he mostly crammed hungrily in his mouth
ate, although he added a few to our burgeoning bowl of greens and veges.

Frankly, if I can learn how to handle the slow pace, the dropped whisks and spatulas, the saliva licked fingertips touching every food item and adding some half-way chewed items back to the bowl, the yells for "more", the little legs trying to inconspicuously crawl up onto the chopping block to reach the olive oil and last night's bottle of wine, and the danger of topples off his chair along with accompanying's all good!

Tonight worked. If' I'm smart and pay attention, tomorrow night will too. Maybe?


Mama Papaya said...

I chose to think that toddler saliva has nutritional value.

Glad you are finding your food groove. Meal planning has made a world of difference out west as well. :)

Mark and Sarah said...

Oh Meghan, I feel you on this one--dinner prep here is difficult. I wish it were easier. I have only been preparing meals for our family for 3 years (though many years before i was preparing meals for just the two of us)...I can't imagine I'll have stamina after 21 years. Good golly, that's a lot of meals.

Stacy said...

glad it's not just me! I like cooking but am tired of it too. It is really hard to make it something enjoyable with child especially since a semi-definate final product needs to be produced by a certain time. Yup, raising one small child at a time might have it's "easier" factors at times, it really requires a lot more relational input from the (tired) mama. Glad you are getting your groove on and hope it makes it a little easier.

Liz said...

I'm with you on this one too - it's hard! I actually try to cook while Elfe is sleeping to avoid this problem, though I'm not quite sure how that is going to work now that I'm back to work - cooking at midnight?