Maxi and Midi were already tired when they got home from nursery. I probably should have read the warning signs. Instead I persisted in my little fantasy that we could have some Quality Yummy Mummy (yuck) & Giddy Kiddy (c) time. Fool.
My plan was to bake some chicken pies for dinner, partly to use up the mountain of cooked chicken my mother in law left in the fridge, and partly to squeeze in some easy fun time with the girls. I had visions of all 3 sat at the table rolling and cutting short crust pastry while I happily stirred up some white sauce, chicken and peas for the filling.
The reality: Mini Minx filled her nappy then was too hungry to play, and Maxi Minx wanted to watch CBeebies instead. “I gon hep oo cook!” asserted Midi, wiping a thick rope of green snot away with her fingers, then testing the consistency between thumb and forefinger. Right. You can keep your little petri dish of a self at the other end of My Kitchen, little girl!
So I fed Mini some breadsticks and plonked her in her Kitchen Safe Area (playpen travel cot) while I got on with the sauce. Maxi decided she wanted to roll pastry after all, so started fighting with Midi over who got to use the pink rolling-pin. Mini filled her nappy again. Took the sauce off the heat to clean up. Asked Maxi to help Midi wash her face and hands. Gave Mini another breadstick and stirred out some lumps from the sauce. Hysteria from the bathroom and screaming from both eldest 2. Took sauce off the heat again, raced upstairs. “She splashed me!” “She hit me on a head! Like dat (slap)!” “I can’t see past her stupid fat head to see if the tap’s hot or cold!” “Dat my soap! Waaaaaah!” Yelled and scolded, heard Mini start to wail, ran back downstairs. Dug manky breadstick out from under Mini’s chin. Sauce back on the heat, got out the whisk for the new lumps. Fed Mini a last breadstick, wiped her nose, more lumps appeared in the sauce. Midi came in and pulled the flour out the cupboard onto the floor. It rises into the air like a mushroom cloud. Sauce off the heat yet again, more yelling, more lumps in the sauce. Decide to make pastry in the food processor and give the little devils a piece each to play with. Abandon sauce (now one big lump) and start all over again.
And anothe thing: the recipe was duff – how could it ever take 15 mins to cook raw pastry at 200degC? It was still only slightly brown after 30 mins. I gave all 3 minxes a banana each to curb the hunger pangs. It’s now 45 mins past their normal dinner time and I’m way past my final warning. I hit the wine to combat the whines. Just a little half glass to take the edge off the Whinge Volume. It makes things worse because I stop caring that we’re all miserable.
Finally dinner is ready. It smells delicious. The recipe book promises it will be beloved and praised by all. Here’s hoping it just gets eaten. Mini throws her pastry to the cat and thumbs a pea up her nose. Midi eats a bit then starts to snore. Maxi takes one sniff and wails that she hates chicken, and anyway, she wanted a pie with a cut-out pastry cow decoration, not the sheep, so can’t POSSIBLY eat this. I start clock-watching, willing it to hit 1850hrs.
The Boss is late in at 1855hrs. And boy, did I feel every one of those extra 5 minutes. I don’t like to ambush him with the kids the instant he comes in, but just once in a while it happens. He can generally tell how bad the evening’s been by how fast my eyes are circling, anyway. I think he could hear the roars and squeals and whinges right down the hill into town. The poor man downed some wine (the volume was getting to him, too), demolished some pie then cleaned up Maxi and Midi and got them to bed while I hosed down the kitchen (for the 3rd time that day – why oh why oh why is a freshly-mopped floor such a slop magnet?!)