Dinnertime is a double edged sword around here. On the plus side there is a well-planned routine: dinner, bath, 30 min of television, books, songs, bed. No need to try to think of ways to entertain the kids, the countdown has begun to a little child- free time. (Well, not exactly child-free as the baby doesn’t sleep until 10:30, but two out of three ain’t bad.) On the down side, it’s a lot to do with three kids, one being an unpredictable newborn and one being an almost two year old with an attitude, especially when Sean isn’t home.
Lately, there has been the additional complication that either Samantha or Ella won’t eat their dinner. Samantha is generally being picky and stubborn, while Ella is usually playing with her food and throwing it around the kitchen. Then they want to snack all night long. I have recently put a stop to this silliness by instituting the “this is dinner tonight, if you don’t eat now there will be nothing else before bedtime” policy. I have to enforce the policy on one of them four to five nights a week, but it is being enforced and has resulted in more eating of dinner by both girls. Tonight, Ella chose to throw her dinner on the floor despite being reminded of the policy three times before all her dinner was on the floor.
After dinner, bath time went well. The two older girls were bathed while the baby sat in her bouncy seat without fussing. I got them dressed and situated in front of the television while I bathed the baby without assistance from her big sisters. I was pleased with myself as I dressed the baby. Then Ella walked in.
“More,” she said, holding out a green bowl.
I thought nothing of this at first because I knew I had meticulously cleaned the kitchen and thrown out any old snacks from the day to prevent any stealth snacking. I assumed the bowl was a stray that had fallen under a couch or been hidden somewhere by one of the kids and she had found it and was hoping I would fill it for her. Then I noticed the bowl had some type of wet, brown residue inside.
“Samantha, what did your sister eat?” I asked. One of her new favorite activities is tattling, which I use to my advantage when needed.
“What?”, she asked. She was too engrossed in her show to hear me.
“What did your sister eat?” I asked more loudly, finishing snapping the baby’s clothes.
“Dog food,” came the reply.
“What?” I asked, hoping I hadn’t heard correctly.
“Dog food!” she shouted to make sure I heard her this time. “And she made a big mess in the kitchen!”
To the kitchen I went, infant bobbing over my shoulder, Ella toddling with her bowl out behind me. There was water from the water bowl all over the floor. The bowls were missing.
“Where are the bowls?” I asked.
“I put one on the counter,” said Samantha. Ella went to the living room and came back with the other bowl.
Sure enough, they were both empty. There had been only about twenty kibble in the bowl as the dog had eaten dinner, too. But still, my child was so hungry she resorted to eating dog food.
“More,” she said, holding the bowl out in front of her. Bon apetit.