Feeding the Ravenous Wolves

I don't know about your kids, but mine seem to eat non stop from the time they get up until they're asleep. We have a huge pantry, a roomy refrigerator and even a spare fridge in the basement. Yet none of these ever seem to have food in them. And you want to know the worst part about this? None of my kids have hit their teen years yet. What will I do when I'm feeding a herd of hormonal growth surges? They'll have to get jobs just to help pay the grocery bill.

I'm thinking I should start paying rent at the grocery store. I'm there often enough. My mom ran into town with me yesterday and said "you're not like your sister, are you? When she shops it's a 2-cart affair." I said "Mom, I'm in town a couple times a week getting groceries. If I buy 3 dozen eggs thinking I'll stock up the kids all want omelets for breakfast and we're out the next day."

Eggs, bread, milk. Those are the things we have a hard time living without. Still the great American staples. We haven't yet figured out how to survive very long without them. You can't make macaroni and cheese without milk. You can't make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without bread. We could possibly go a few days without eggs, but it's like a little beacon in the refrigerator taunting my inner self. "If you were a nice mom you would bake brownies for the kids. But wait, there are no eggs!"

And of course there are the hot foods of the moment. You know, the ones the kids have decided they must have at all meals. Like Micah's hot dogs. The boy thinks they're real food, and even wants them for breakfast. I've stopped fighting it a short while back thinking that he hasn't died from eating hot dogs for lunch so he would probably survive eating them for breakfast. If we're pretending that they're meat, they are rather sausage-shaped. And it keeps him happy. So hot dogs are a staple in our house.

And don't forget cereal. Anyone with kids knows that cereal is not only a breakfast food but a snack that's highly portable. It also serves as a bedtime snack for kids of all ages (like daddy-aged kids) and a just-before-a-meal snack.

Which brings me to the worst part of feeding the ravenous wolves that I call my children. Mind you, they eat non-stop. Until I actually cook something and set it in front of them. Suddenly they're full. Or it's disgusting. Or they're not feeling well. Last night we had meatloaf, baked potatoes and peas. Vegetables are hit and miss. Some kids like some things and some like others and it's the one entire food group that I will allow kids to pick and choose from. If they don't eat peas they eat green beans, so it all balances out over the course of the week. But it was the meatloaf that caused a stir last night. As the 6 year old was still climbing into his chair he said "I don't like that." I have no idea how he could even see what was in the pan since his head hadn't even cleared the table yet. He ate it, under duress.

It's like this at every meal. Every single meal. No matter what I make someone hates it. Spaghetti is a win-win meal because everyone loves it. Until recently. The 10 year old decided that he won't eat spaghetti. What gives?! He says it's too messy. He's a boy! His hands are so dirty at any given time that he could probably grow something in his palms. And he's worried about getting messy eating spaghetti. So I've stopped putting the sauce on and adding it as a side at the table. For the moment this is helping. But who knows what it will be next.

I used to love cooking. Really I did. I'd experiment in the kitchen quite frequently. I tried new recipes, I modified recipes, I invented recipes. I loved it all. Then I had kids. Now I dread cooking. I hate having to spend an entire day thinking of something that everyone could possible eat, thinking of sides to go with it that aren't totally disgusting, and then spending the better part of the after-school rush trying to get it cooked. Only to have it met with disapproval once it hits the table. And then just to add insult to injury, the kids aren't down from the table 20 minutes before they're making themselves a sandwich or reaching for an apple.

And that is why I have so many dogs. They eat the same exact thing day in and day out and they are happy - no thrilled! - when I refill their dishes. That, my friends, is gratitude.


For the Love... said...

Good to know mine are not the only ones. Magnuts will ask me for little snack AS I am making their dinner plates! Miss-D had a temp. of 103 last night and at some point drug her little tail into the kitchen and helped herself to a giant slice of chocolate cake.

I try to do a big meal usually Sunday night...something like - country fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, white gravy and rolls (healthy huh?) After spending all that time cooking it makes me want to strangle Magnuts when he turns his nose up at it and asks for leftover hotdogs!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Every time I throw away a plateful of unwanted food, I think to myself, "At least I got Fuelperks." It helps to dull the pain.

Deanne said...

My kids would eat all day too, if I let them. Dinnertime is not always pleasant here either. So, I've curbed the snack after nap time to a bare minimum. Then, at dinner if we hear complaining about the meal served it's bedtime for the complainer! That has really deter the grumbling. But maybe getting a dog or two would help as well. Then again I'd have to train/raise them too.....never mind!

Karen said...

Deanne - who says I let them? :) The older kids have learned to just help themselves, which created problems when the younger kids ask. How can I say NO when someone else is?

BB's Mom - Fuelperks are great, aren't they? We just filled up the van AND 2 gas cans for $6.97. In whose generation does that happen? But the downside is knowing how many groceries we had to purchase to get that.

For the Love - Magnuts would fit right into our family. He and Micah can sit and eat hot dogs together while the rest of us dine on real food. But isn't it amazing how you think that since they don't eat what you cook anyway I may as well make something good just for my husband and I. And then after making a 2-portion of filet mignon (yeh, right) the kids suddenly realize how wonderful your cooking is and hover over your shoulder and drool onto your plate.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Karen, just don't do the math on the fuelperks. That will bring a whole new kind of pain when you realize how much you spent on groceries.

Michelle said...

Kayla could eat cereal all day long; she usually has 2 bowls and even then asks, "more cereal?" I have to draw the line at 2 bowls though :) She's also the same way in that she could eat her snacks all day long but forget about dinner! Will hardly take a bite no matter what it is!

Kari & Kijsa said...

Love the "Hot Foods of the Moment"...right now ours is marshmellow ???????? (all of mine have a hollow leg, too)

smiles, kari and kijsa