You may have seen my post for 2 ingredient “faux paws” a few weeks back. Well, my kids went banana-town on the cakey, chocolatey goodness that were made with just canned pumpkin and cake mix. Seriously, it made me wonder why I ever bothered with traditional cookie recipes.
I DID NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT FOOLING MY KIDS.
Not one bit. I watched them snarf their way through the cookies, giggling diabolically to myself. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I was scheming of another way to sneak more veggies into their lives.
My daughter is actually fantastic for eating her vegetables. She will eat a full-sized salad and ask for more, I have no issues with her veggie intake. It’s the boy. The boy will not let a vegetable pass between his lips. Occasionally I slip some through if they are covered in gravy, cheese or some other sauce-like substance.
So here I am, making a quick Monday night dinner. This time it’s hamburger helper, which is about a twice/year occurrence in my house, but it’s quick and the kids don’t complain about it. I’m staring at the Three Cheese Manicotti when inspiration strikes. It’s orange!! And Saucy!! THEY WILL NEVER KNOW!!
The pumpkin makes the sauce incredibly creamy and thick. Very thick. So thick you will want to add about 1/4 – 1/2 extra cup of water after you add the pumpkin, I just eyeballed it and stirred till it was combined. I also added about a 1/4 of mozzarella cheese I had hanging out in my fridge and a tiny bit of extra seasoning. I rarely make something JUST out of the box, I always customize. Also, I added frozen peas. It’s what I usually do and I didn’t want to tip anyone in my family off that something may be different
Ok, so I know it’s not fancy and gourmet. But my kids downed it like I had starved them for a week and no one, not even Hubs had ANY idea that I added pumpkin. For a dinner under 30 minutes, I am cool with that. Maybe next time I’ll try one of the DIY Hamburger Helper recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest. But for now I’m wondering how many other things I can hide pumpkin in
If you don’t have kids yet, you may want to skip to the last few lines, they will have the most pertinent information for you.
For the rest of us…
You’ve all been there. At the local department/grocery/drug store when some poor child has a complete and total meltdown. Tears, high-pitched, ear-bleeding scream, red face, kicking, throwing themselves on the concrete. Most people witnessing this fall into one of two categories:
1. Why do parents bring their children shopping when they clearly can’t control them? I came here to shop/eat/drink my coffee in peace, why should I have to listen to your kids?
2. Dear God, I have SO been in this parent’s shoes.
I fall into group 2. I have been that parent. You see the signs of the meltdown coming and you start to race your cart up and down the aisles, grabbing food at random, because you can make a meal with just canned water chestnuts and cous cous. You’re almost to the end, you know if you can just grab the milk and the diapers, you can race to the till and try to distract your distraught child while you wait behind the couples with no kids. They have all the time in the world,and they stand there and debate the merits of two brands of recycled paper towels while the cashier waits to make their choice. I have felt the disapproving gazes as people whispered that it was obviously past my child’s nap time, and how they hate it when parents can’t listen to their own kids.
I’ve wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, “You people have no idea what my day has been like!” You don’t now that I’ve barely had adult conversation in two days. That I am wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt, not because of how incredibly stylish they are, but because they were the first clean items I laid my hands on in the 5 minutes I had to try to be presentable before my child lost their marbles or their lunch. I’ve felt my face heat up as I’ve desperately tried to keep my tears at bay while simultaneously making goofy faces and letting my child yank my hair out by the root just because it keeps them quiet for five more minutes.
This is a level of hell.
You feel angry and embarrassed and inadequate all at once. You would absolutely leave everything in the cart, pick up your screaming child and leave, but you need these few things desperately. You might be able to pick up dinner at a drive through, but your last diaper is currently on your child’s behind, and as much as you might be tempted to let them poop on that bmw that parked so close to your van’s sliding door you had to crawl in the hatch, you know the odds of your child actually pooping while you held them over the flashy two-seater are slim to none and you just don’t have the strength any more.
Parents are people too. And believe me, the majority of us wish our kids wouldn’t throw hissy fits ever. But when this happens we are struggling. We need help. And if you can’t or don’t want to help, check your judgement.
Someday you may find yourself in this EXACT situation.
When you feel the blood rush to your cheeks, and the whispers start, I can stand behind you in line, studiously reading the gossip mag covers, or I can be the one who gives you a reassuring smile. I can be the one who tries to amuse your child while your debit card isn’t working. I can even be the mom who helps you arrange a portable change station on a park bench. Because I’ve been there. I know how hard it can be when you’re flying by the seat of your pants.
When you see a mom in this situation, think about two things:
- How would you feel if this was happening to you?
- How would you want to be treated by your fellow human beings.
Better yet, think about one thing: STOP ACTING LIKE A SELFISH DINK. THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU.
UPDATE: You can find your Tantrum Mommy cards here.
I was reminded today of those paper lanterns made out of phone books we made as kids. You know, sit down and fold the damn book till it resembled a 2 tonne lantern that would never shed light?
Then it hit me. Our parents/teachers/daycare providers never intended us to make a lantern. They came up with this idea for us to sit down and concentrate and be quiet for roughly 8 days while we folded and turned our hands into inky cramped claws.
This realization reminded me of a time my mom and I had gone to visit my best friend and her family. We must have been all over their nerves because they told us that they had hidden a quarter somewhere in the house. If we found this quarter, they would give us each a dollar to spend at the Red Rooster (I know, I’m dating myself). We took off and searched the whole house. I don’t remember whose idea it was that the quarter was on top of the television, high up in the 70′s style entertainment centre, but we reasoned it could be seen if one of us was on the other’s back.
The quarter wasn’t up there.
It was easy to see nothing was up there after the tv fell. The cord plugged into the wall did manage to save the tv from the worst of the fall, that is until it swung the television into the huge aquarium on the shelf below. Our parents came down to find us scrambling around on the soaked carpet, crying and desperately trying to scoop up the fishies before they expired.
Parents, keep in mind that not all “quiet” activities will stay quiet. Also, weigh the cost of potential household damages against just giving your kids the damn dollar and sending them to the store. Finally, don’t get mad at them if they leave inky fingerprints around the house after a day of “lantern” folding. That stuff is hard to wash off.
If any of you were thinking I exaggerate about how crazy my children are, this is the text conversation between myself (green bubbles) and my husband this afternoon. (please excuse his spelling, he has big thumbs and a tiny blackberry)
I’m still trying to figure out how my daughter accidentally shoved a decorative floral skewer up my son’s nose.
But at least you know I’m not exaggerating.