sanity savers: a semi-regular series in which I share quirky tidbits and habits discovered in my quest to avoid panic, head trouble off at the pass, and uphold law and order in the West (or wherever you hang up your spurs). Here’s hoping you find some of these ramblings helpful or inspiring.
During my 11 years as a full-time teacher I honed the somewhat dubious “skill” of foreseeing potential problems during classroom activities and cutting them off before they could occur. Maybe that’s just a fancy way to say I worry a lot. Or maybe that I’m paranoid, but in a good way.
I do know that when I see a way to get rid of some of the “frantic” in our lives I jump on it.
The pre-dinner and dinner hours at our house have the most potential for problems. Math homework causes frustration, toddlers deliberately dump milk on the floor again, children remember major projects due tomorrow! TOMORROW?!? Burners catch on fire (that’s only happened once), I discover that I’ve forgotten to thaw a key ingredient for dinner . . . .
Needless to say, when the dust settles, I look forward to sitting down and enjoying our family’s evening meal.
Note to self: Enjoying dinner with the family is not possible when the aforementioned toddler can’t eat his food because . . .
A.) it’s too hot, and
B.) he doesn’t have the patience to wait for it to cool off, and
C.) he has supreme confidence that Mommy or Daddy can cool it much faster than he can, and other options are not acceptable and
D.) he’s waited very patiently for dinner to arrive and now he can’t eat and
E.) A, B, C, and D cause a minor meltdown.
I got stressed just writing that—imagine how he feels.
I can’t control the unforeseen surprises that pop up each evening, but I can do something about things like Spud and the too-hot food. Wait for it . . .
I dish up his hot food several minutes before we sit down to eat.
Peace is restored. Spud can dive right in to his meal without worries of hot food, and his toddler patience doesn’t have to be stretched unnecessarily.
Simple. Remarkably unremarkable. Dinner time will never be the same again.