One at a time the brats.....I mean..... cutesie wootsie little munchkins - make their way into the kitchen to see what dad is whipping up for eats tonight. The oldest one has lately grown himself a pair of big brass huevos. On his way out the door with his toy rifle to play with his friends he loudly proclaims, "You need to learn how to cook right!" (For those of you that know Butch, this is nothing short of blasphemy. The man can mimic just about anything you can eat in a restaurant. In my world, I consider him a Cooking Legend. It's my world, you don't have to live in it.) Seconds after the little Food Critic stomps down the stairs and sticks his tongue out at me my phone rings.... "That disrespectful thing DID NOT come from my loins!" (This might seem a tad rude - but he truly didn't. Butch is step-dad. But that's a topic for a different time.)
Fastforward to the four of us around the table with our plates of .... dare i call it.... spaghetti. Due to the fact that I heart washing dishes the boys and I are sharing a large styrofoam cup of orange soda. Our noodle mixture is covered in parmesan cheese (except mine which has the Oregon-loved ranch dressing). And the timer begins......
Do I have to eat the pees? (Xavier)
Xavier - get back in your chair and stop turning on the fan! (Me)
Dad, if you win a million dollars can we have a pool? (Austin)
Austin if I win a million dollars you are going to military school! (Butch)
Honey, of course we would get a pool! (Me)
After military school could I swim in it? (Austin)
..... and so the conversation drags out for over in hour as they pick at the ends of their food. By now I've finished and snuck away to play on the computer. Voices escalate and I look up to the sound of stomping down the stairs as I see Butch's head peek around the corner. "Why do I always get stuck with them?" His twinkling eyes tell me as we join forces and march back up there. I notice that Austin's plate is down to 2 bites left, but Xav (prounced Zav) is maybe half done. I resign myself to rinsing dishes while Butch corners me for a parent pow-wow. We agree that they have 30 minutes to eat or they are in bed for the night (mind you it's only 4:25pm) and when they are finished they get a 30 minute time out.
Austin finishes first (HUGE miracle - he's the one that usually gives up on eating and ends up in bed in 5:30pm playing Pity Me parties for the rest of the night). Xav is another story. I'm in my own little world rinsing dishes when I get nudged by Butch's knee. Xav is up playing with the fan - again. I tell him to sit down. Two seconds later he is prancing around (yes - I said Prancing) next to his chair. Sit Down! He comes over to where I'm at acting like he's done. For the third time - SIT DOWN! After another 10 minutes of this game he finally finishes.
And that's how a semi-productive meal goes at our house....