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?