One Grilled Cheese

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Categories Feeding Older Children, Parenting Twins, School-Age

A mother makes dinner for 3 on autopilot, instead of just for herself and one of her twins.

This year, my daughters’ after school care provider, the YMCA, began offering free dinner to children who are still in their care at 5:30 pm.

While it take some relinquishing of control on my part, I’ve come to love it. The girls aren’t grumpy from hunger when I pick them up. Waiting to feed myself until after they’re in bed gives us that much more time together. I don’t have to do backbends to ensure that they’re fed before evening activities such as dance lessons and Girl Scouts.

Sadly, as the novelty has worn off, my daughters have discovered meals they don’t like and won’t eat. They’ve always skipped the same meals… until last night.

M overheard her friend Tori’s mom say that there were bad unhealthy things in corn dogs, so she decided to do without. J, on the other hand, gobbled dinner down.

When I learned this, I offered M a couple of dinner options, from which she chose a grilled cheese sandwich. When we got home, I sent the girls off to wash their hands and put their backpacks away while I made M’s sandwich. I began heating up the sandwich press, washed my hands, laid out two slices of bread, topped them with cheddar cheese slices, layered on a second slice of bread.

Once the sandwiches were warm but not crisp, the way my kids like them, I put them each on a plate and assembled a turkey sandwich in the sandwich press for myself.

When I served the sandwiches, J didn’t come to the table, of course, since she’d already eaten. And then I realized what I’d done. From habit, I’d made a sandwich for each child, even while consciously aware that only one would eat.

M ended up taking the extra sandwich, plus an apple, into school today for dinner. And then, after a friend sneezed on her sister’s dinner, she gave her half.

What do you do on autopilot?

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Sadia

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

3 thoughts on “One Grilled Cheese”

  1. When one of my guys is sick, or we’re traveling, and they somehow get onto different schedules, I am totally lost. I can’t remember who had what or what time someone woke up. Makes me realize how much I rely on autopilot for the practical stuff so I can focus my energy elsewhere (like being in the moment)!

    1. I heard somewhere that a habit is something you do without thinking so you can think about what’s important. It’s so true!

  2. I do that all the time when one kid is at school I get two snacks. I often have moments of panic that I’ve lost track of one kid and start to momentarily search the house/store/library for the other, even though he’s at school.
    My kids talk in plural pronouns even when alone it’s always “We like this.” Or “Can we do such and such?”
    I chuckle when I get out a snack or a drink for one kid and the other comes up “I want that too!” And I already have it ready. As IF I could just do something once!

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