Originally published 5/6/2010 on Momaha.com
Meal time is the most stressful time in our house. Part of it is because I am marginally qualified to be a cook. Most of it is because our children are piranhas.
As soon as I open the fridge, the children come running into the kitchen. I don’t know how they hear me open the fridge. They can’t seem to hear me when they’re standing right next to me and I’m yelling at them to clean up their room but somehow they can hear the fridge open from the basement while screaming and chasing each other.
They burst into the kitchen and begin scavenging off the counters. Raw hamburger, uncooked noodles, and unpeeled oranges all try to go into their mouths. They don’t care. They just want to eat and aren’t interested in waiting for that inconvenient cooking part.
After the five hundred and fifty-seventh time of telling them to wait until I COOK dinner, they simply just move to the table. I guess they figure as soon as they sit down at the table, their food will be ready. That’s what they’ve seen on Star Trek (one of my favorite shows that I have brainwashed them into enjoying). When one of the characters uses a “food replicator” the prepared food appears instantly.
Problem is, that’s NOT how it works in the 21st century! I have to brown the hamburger, boil the noodles and peel the oranges. This takes about 20 minutes.
Five minutes in they can no longer restrain themselves and now swarm in for the kill.
Chairs start being pushed up to the counters in an attempt to reach the tasty tidbits. They begin dashing at any crumb that is unfortunate enough to have fallen to the floor. The whining and complaining of feeling like they are “starving to deaf” reaches a fever pitch.
And just an hour ago they devoured a bag of pretzels!
Now these piranhas begin to smell blood in the water. They realize that all this nagging and complaining and generally just getting in the way has worn my patience thin. From experience, they know that to keep them from eating ME, I am going to have to start feeding them something.
I lob in an orange slice to each of them with the vain hope that it will satisfy them long enough for me to finish making their dinner, but, now that they have gotten a taste, they attack. “Dad can I have another orange!” I hear with increasing desperation.
There is nothing left for me to do but to continue to satisfy this feeding frenzy until dinner is finally served.
But once dinner is served a strange calm comes over them. The voraciousness of their appetites has waned and they are content to casually gnaw on their food as they talk, giggle and sing. Right before my eyes they have turned into sloths!
Finally, about 30 minutes later, they are done. They clear the table and I clean up the kitchen thankful to have survived another day in piranha-infested waters…
Until five minutes later when they beg for a snack.
Father of 4, Husband, Catholic, Historian, published author, LGBTQ+ ally, runner, sports fan (he/him/his)