• Sarah

Yo Yo meals

Remember meals before you had kids? Carefully prepared and then savoured slowly, perhaps with a glass of wine? Things are very different now we’re a family of four. We try to eat together as much as possible – all of us at the weekends and often just me and the children during the week. Meals are prepared as quickly as possible while the kids are demanding food or distracted by the TV, and one of the main criteria for choosing a dish is how much clearing up I’ll have to do afterwards.

The thing I find most frustrating about eating with children is that it is almost impossible for me to eat my meal without repeatedly getting up and down from the table. During a typical meal I could leave my seat for any (or all) of the following:

- Refilling a drink

- Mopping up a spilt drink

- Picking up food dropped on the floor

- Preparing an alternative (usually toast) if one of the children has tried and then rejected their meal

- Fetching fruit/yogurt if the children have finished their main meal

- Chasing after the toddler to clean his hands and face

Usually the end of a meal will find me eating my cold food alone at the table after everyone else has left (sob!). I don’t have sure-fast ways to avoid this – yes I could be more organised and prepare dessert in advance but most of these events are unpredictable. I think this is a stage we have to ride out with young children and look forward to the day when we can enjoy more relaxed meals together, and perhaps get more than a single-word answer to the question ‘How was your day?’

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