Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Mommy Version of the 30 Minute Meal

Rachael Ray has made 30-minute meals very popular.  I have perfected the art of a 30-minute meal.  Here's how this 34 week pregnant mom makes a 30-minute meal for her 4- and 2-year-old.
I decide on a can of spaghetti O's for the kids dinner.  Hey, when you are this pregnant, you sometimes opt for easy over healthy.  And it's is one of the few items that both kids will eat without complaint.
I start to open the can of O's.
My son needs help undoing his suspenders so he can go to the bathroom.
I finish opening the can.  I grab a bowl to put the O's in.
My daughter informs me that she needs her diaper changed.  I take a look and decide it is something I need to take care of right away.
I start to pour the O's into the bowl.  I stop midway to get a frozen cube of spaghetti sauce I've made with lots of vegetables (my pretense at healthy), plop it in the O's.
My son needs help with his clothes after going to the bathroom.
I finish pouring the O's into the bowl.
I am asked to help find my son's conductor hat (a small blue purse he puts on his head, the straps go under his ears).  I don't see it, so I suggest he look in the dress up box.
I resume pouring the O's into the bowl.
I put the can down to stop the kids from fighting over who gets to close the bathroom door (we have a strict rule about doors) since the conductor hat is NOT in the bathroom.  I suggest looking under my desk, where I see a tell-tale patch of blue.
I finish pouring the O's into the bowl.  Before I can get it into the microwave, my daughter is told to go sit on the stairs in time-out.  I put the bowl into the microwave and start it.
I go over to ask my daughter why she is in time-out.  She knows why.  I go and set the timer for her time-out.
I stir the O's after the microwave beeps for the third time (conversations with two-year-olds are never short), and start them on their second round.
I call my daughter to me after her time-out.  She brings a toy over with her.  We then talk about why toys are not allowed in time-out.  She runs off. (Meanwhile, my son lets me know the microwave is beeping.) I call her back because she needs to apologize, which she takes her time about doing.
I take two bowls out to distribute the kids' O's and wonder where I put the spoon I was stirring with.
My son lets me know that the microwave is beeping again.
My daughter races past me and hits me with her bracelet.  I stop what I am doing to speak to her and take the bracelet. She hands me her bracelet and pouts, but doesn't dispute because she knows she was wrong.
My son lets me know the microwave is still beeping.
I discover I forgot to cover the O's and have to wipe down the microwave.
I pull out cups for the kids.  I ask my son what color he wants.  He wants blue.  My daughter throws a fit.  I ask her what color she wants.  She wants green.  It was a needless fit.
I pour the milk and warm it up in the microwave.
My son needs help undoing his firefighter uniform.
The microwave beeps about three times before I am able to retrieve the warmed milk (my son lets me know every time it beeps, as if I can't hear it).
I start to distribute the O's into the kids' bowls.
Someone got hurt on accident and I am needed for comfort. 
I finish distributing the O's.
My daughter runs screaming to grab my legs as my son is running after her.   I untangle myself and send her on her way.
I put the bowls on the table and ask my son to get spoons while I put my daughter in her booster seat.
The kids both complain that they don't want spaghetti O's.  I tell them they are eating pasta zeros.  That seems to pacify them.
I bring the milk to the table amid complaints that my daughter wants green, which is what I set in front of her as she deflates and says with a pout, "Oh.  Thank you."
I finally sit down.
We pray, first my son, then my daughter (they both whiz through "Thankyouforfoodamen."), then it's my turn for a short prayer.
Approximately thirty minutes after I pulled the can out of the pantry, the kids are finally eating.  And that, my friends, is how you cook a 30-minute meal.