On second thought it was a bad idea to try and have the kids do a craft on the kitchen table while I was trying to make dinner. I can see that now, what with the benefit of hindsight and it’s 20/20 properties. At the time though, in the beginning it seemed like pure genius. I thought I would be awarded with the parent of the week tag the way Kobe and Lebron are racking up player of the week nods in the NBA. I will never be Parent of the year and I am ok with this (too much swearing and child endangerment issues) but is parent of the week too high to reach as well? A topic for another day, let’s get back to this dinner time episode.
The menu for the night was simple enough: Chicken and green bean Panang over brown rice. I even started the brown rice 30 minutes earlier in the rice cooker because the brown rice takes roughly 6 days longer to cook then the white rice. I was feeling good, full of hubris and practicing acceptance speeches at this time. I set Primo and Segundo up at the kitchen table with clean white canvases of paper and small cups of finger paints for both of them. I know what your thinking, you can see this is a bad idea already. Both boys had old t-shirts of mine pinned in the back with chip clips to protect their clothes and plenty of room to explore the space artistically.
I pulled the chicken out of the freezer a little bummed that I didn’t think to defrost it earlier in the day. The boys were happy as clams and on to their second piece of paper each and I hadn’t even cooked the chicken yet. I got the chicken defrosting in the microwave and started some oil, onions, and garlic on the stove when the chicken was defrosted enough to cut. With the chicken in the pan and the papers piling up on the table I moved some of the finished paintings on to the back porch to dry and noticed some finger paint drops all around the table. I grabbed a wash cloth as the smoke alarm went off telling me the oil was a little too hot and the chicken was burning. both boys started cheering when the alarm went off and then tried to clap their hands together sending drops of paint flying in the kitchen. I got them to stop, pulled the alarm off the wall, and went back to the stove to deal with the burning chicken.
“Daddy I need a new paper!”
“Paper, Paper, paper, PAPER, PAPER!”
They chanted until I brought two fresh sheets, brought the newly painted ones back to the porch and returned to the stove to finish cooking the chicken and start the panang paste. The stove was way too hot for the Panang and as I leaned over it a cloud of spicy gaseous goodness wafted up into my eyes blinding me and causing me to swear. the boys both repeated the swear for dramatic effect. I washed out my eyes to the tune of the smoke alarm going off again. I had removed it from the wall but didn’t take the battery out, rookie cooking mistake. Quickly back to the stove I added the coconut milk, reduced the heat and removed the battery from the alarm. I stripped the boys down and washed their hands, the table, the floor, and parts of the wall where paint had splattered. There had to be a third gunman to get paint in some of those spots. I added the chicken and green beans to the simmering panang and set the boys free to terrorize the house shirtless and happy.
My dinner was almost done, just a quick check on the brown rice to see that it was not even close. I put too much water in and had to scoop some out so it would finish faster. Beautiful came home from her first day at her new job to the fragrant smell of curry and soap in the air, two shirtless boys running in circles around the house, one frazzled husband and a nearly spotless kitchen. I replaced the battery back in the smoke alarm, put it back on the wall and sighed heavily fully aware of what a terrible idea that had been. I may not get that parent of the week for my great ideas but managing that chaos has to be worth something right? That really is what parenting is all about, managing the chaos and keeping your head. The boys had fun, the dinner was great, and I got a good story out of it.