I thought I had until Tuesday (that's a solid 48 hours) before I lost it with them, but apparently PollyAnna must've been advising me on my patience length. I've completely had it with them already. We had to have a little discussion with CC and Destructo (9 and 7, respectively) before bedtime (a mere 8 hours after daddy's departure) where I laid down some guidelines to how we could all have an enjoyable week together. Here's the list:
1. They must understand that I am not to be spoken to ONLY when they need, want, don't like, want to change, or broke something.
2. I am their mother, not a servant or maid. I am happy to spend time with them and help them figure stuff out along the way. I am not there to satisfy their every demand throughout the day.
3. They are not the Daddy. They are not allowed to boss around the Animal and mete out punishments as they see fit. If there is a problem with his behavior that cannot be tolerated, they are to inform me and I will deal with it.
4. "Sorry" doesn't mean anything to me if it is not backed up by changes in their behavior. Period.
I am really quite easy to please and am pretty easy to get along with. Really! But these children seemed to find something wrong with almost everything we did today.... going swimming with a new toy (fights! tears! recriminations!), going to a maze with friends (I don't WANT to go! scowl! I want to stay home!), eating spaghetti for dinner (I don't like spaghetti! I want ramen noodles, instead! Ed. Note: Are you eff-ing kidding me??), and ice cream for dessert (I wanted bubblegum! I want Superman flavor! I want a bigger scoop!!).
Seriously, my 9 year old made his own dinner of ramen noodles while the other FOUR adults and FIVE children sat down to devour a mountain of spaghetti. I know I can't make him like something he doesn't, but give me a break. Who doesn't like spaghetti?!? I feel like I have failed as a mother every time he turns down a plate.
I don't feel like I have failed you, though, dear reader, as I am gifting my spaghetti recipe to you all. It originally appeared here, but I'm reprinting the whole thing below. Enjoy!
Using a tip from a friend (thank you, Heather!), I finally modified my old recipe and get an amazing spaghetti meat sauce that only takes about 3 hours. You can eat it sooner and it will be way better than anything you get out of a jar, but if you get it on the stovetop before the kids get home from school and then leave it there until dinnertime-- I swear you will be happy. It freezes really well, too, so I always make a huge batch and then throw the leftovers in a few different containers and pull them out on days when there isn't time to cook and we are sick of Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken (which, actually, the kids NEVER get sick of, just us adults). Serve it with a salad and an oven toasted baguette. That is my comfort food!
1 tsp. olive oil
2 lbs. ground sirloin (if you don't mind the fat, use gr. chuck-it tastes better)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1 jar Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara (or other store brand- just tomato and basil, tho!)
2 15-oz. cans of Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste + 3 cans of water
Add olive oil to a large stockpot, over med. high heat. Add onions and sauté about three minutes, add crushed garlic and stir for about a minute. Add hamburger and cook until it there is no pink left. At this point, I usually tip the pot over the edge of the stovetop to drain any grease out that may have accumulated. After you get the grease out, turn back to medium-high heat and add the spices. Stir the spices into meat until aromatic and then add all the tomatoes, sauce, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook for about three hours. Enjoy!
Bonus Parting Shot: One of my sons, who shall remain nameless, was overheard saying this today: "I have to penetrate from the back AND the front to conquer him!!!" War isn't pretty, is it?