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Cheese Please

August 1, 2012

I have good kids.

I can say that now after a hard day, when they are quietly on the couch, having pleasantly enough pulled it together this evening to do a chore without complaining. But the day did involve at least a half hour bout of me hiding out in my bedroom, sacked on my pillow, unwilling to face the chaos I heard from the basement, from outdoors, up the stairs, down the stairs. The yelling, screaming, and the heavily guilty silent third… I just couldn’t face it again. 4 weeks left of summer. We are all feeling it.

I am tired.

Tonight was 6 year old Sophie’s night at dinner. The main ingredient of her menu was cheese: homemade mac n cheese, broccoli with cheese, fruit smoothies and double chocolate chip cookies. I dazily helped her through the cookies, fresh cup of coffee in hand. We were boiling water when the text came in from my husband: Car dead.

For the 5th time this year?

The van that has served us well has become the bane of our existence. The van we proudly purchased off Ebay FROM Turkey, over 6 years ago, and had my aunt and uncle drive from PA to New Jersey to pick up and then down to VA a month later to deliver it to us. The van that has criss crossed the U.S., but has required a ridiculous amount of maintenance. It is dying. And I am tired of driving downtown to rescue Chris!

But in a true testament to the new era we have entered, I hail Aidan from his “boy/man cave” and task him to help Sophie pull off dinner. I cannot tell you the joy of entering the season of being able to leave.the.house.without.kids!!! And now, with a resident kid-expert Chef, I could empower him to aide his sister in her debut. I left with this exchange in the background: A- “Sop, where are you?” S- “Check the water.”

Of course, the van is parked diagonally with no access except to drive up over the curb onto the sidewalk. Embarrassed, I hide during the curb-hopping-jump process and call home. Aidan is initially proud, “We already have the mac n cheese in bowls!” I should have paused, knowing how hot and frustrated and DONE I feel. Instead, I blurt out, “What? We are just now jumping the cars! Put it back in the pot and help her with the broccoli and smoothie.” He hangs up. I call back. Sorry. Now, he too, is exasperated. And he sounds like me: “You know where she is?” Apparently, his protege has abandoned culinary academy for stuffed animals. The resident kid-expert is also DONE.

Oh my.

Miraculously, I come home to dinner mostly done and Sophie still in the kitchen.

What have I learned? I like Kraft Mac n Cheese better than the real thing (is that because we are using gluten free rice noodles? Not sure). Grating cheese is something kids need to know exists, but need not be a regular thing (similar to raising egg-laying hens… good that the kids know where eggs come from, not something I feel the need to repeat.) The older the kid, the more they realize the feat they have accomplished in the kitchen. For Sophie, this was a chore, an assignment she tackled with the same studious approach she has to all learning. For Aidan, this is a creative challenge, something to prove (to me??). For Ella, somewhere in between, I’m still studying her.

All told, I am glad the night has ended.

A few photos from before the van fiasco:

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    August 1, 2012 3:07 am

    Your series has given me so much to think about. I love you for it! Age-appropriate is the big challenge, isn’t it? Apart from the energy to teach, to be patient. I told my kids about your project and suggested that I may have each of them choose one night next month to help me with dinner. They’re excited, I’m apprehensive. Moods matter.

    I am also counting down to the start of school. Summer is hard work.

  2. August 5, 2012 1:17 pm

    Oh, man! What a day! So sorry it was a rough one, but thanks for being so real about LIFE. All I kept thinking was this was somehow a hazy reflection of my present days and a foreshadow of my not-so-distant future! 😀

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