Two slices of bread of your choice
Two 5.5oz cans tuna fish (or whatever size you like)
macaroni and cheese pouches from Trader Joe’s
veggies of your choice
1. Place two slices of bread on baking sheet.
2. Toddler asks, “What are you doing, Mommy?”
3. Reply, “Making lunch, honey. Would you like some tuna, or macaroni and cheese?”
4. An excited, “Macaroni and cheese, please!”
5. Invite toddler to help you make lunch, because it will be a great learning experience for him, and will look something like the cover of a children’s cookbook, with beautiful food adorning a plate, well-lit by what can only be the glow of yours and his smiling faces.
6. Realize you need the step stool.
7. Go get the step stool from the bedroom, where it was stashed so that your toddler would not climb on it endlessly.
8. Invite him to step on it now.
9. Pour macaroni in microwave-safe bowl.
10. Watch him cling nervously to the top handle as he says, “No you can do it,” with regard to pouring water in the macaroni bowl. Pour 1/2 C water in the macaroni bowl yourself.
11. Move step stool over and patiently instruct toddler which buttons to push. Watch him push wrong ones. Hit reset. Repeat 3 times. Watch him push the right ones, then press start.
12. Move step stool back over and show him how to open a can of tuna. Watch in awe as cat instantly teleports from nowhere onto kitchen counter. Pick up cat and place on floor. Use can opener, and together with your toddler, slowly twist handle until can is opened. Drain over sink. At precisely this moment, the microwave will beep, so place can on counter.
13. Pick up cat off counter and place on floor.
14. Move stepstool back over to microwave so toddler can see. Attempt to take bowl out of microwave. Realize it is far too hot. Stubbornly try to take it out anyway. Realize this was a huge mistake and set it on the small bit of counter space in front of the microwave.
15. Watch in horror as toddler helpfully slams microwave door shut, which knocks bowl of hot, wet, macaroni all over the floor and wall, and dishwasher door.
16. Reassure toddler calmly, as he says, “I’m sowwy, Mommy,” and let him know it’s all right, as you make sure HE is okay, then convince yourself to cheerfully clean it up. Say, “It’s no big deal,” as you realize it probably really is no big deal, though you’re not used to thinking of it like that. Ask for his assistance in cleaning, as you move stepstool to middle of kitchen. Pick up all macaroni off floor, wall, dishwasher door, as well as your and his feet. Place macaroni in trash.
17. Pick up toddler off stepstool, and explain that the middle of the kitchen is not a safe space for him to stand on the stepstool. (Marvel that THAT is the position in which he was confident, and not when it was safely standing up against the counter.)
18. Get new packet of macaroni out of cupboard.
19. Get toddler off stepstool, and explain once again that THAT IS NOT SAFE and remind yourself that you don’t want to raise your voice, because you’re trying to have a fun cooking experience here, and you don’t want to be a yell-y parent anyway.
20. View cat licking and eating tuna right out of the can you left on the counter.
21. Laugh really hard, because it’s basically the only thing you can do at this point.
22. Give cat can of tuna in his own bowl. Because.. why the hell not?
23. Pour new macaroni in new bowl.
24. Pour 1/2 C water in bowl.
25. Put macaroni bowl in microwave.
26. Tell toddler AGAIN not to stand on the stepstool in the middle of the kitchen FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHILD PLEASE, and help him step down himself.
27. Move stepstool over to microwave.
Repeat step 11.
28. Once microwave beeps, USING A POTHOLDER THIS TIME SERIOUSLY, take macaroni bowl out of microwave and place on counter. Pour in cheese packet with your toddler. Stir. Let toddler stir.
29. Carry bowl over to table, while reassuring toddler that yes, he can have juice, you will get it in one minute, one minute please, I said YES, hold on one minute please, okay? Sit here. No, sit. Just sit there. Here’s your fork. No don’t use your fin-… Nevermind. Just sit. Sit and eat. I’ll be right back. YES, with your juice.
30. Get juice and give to toddler.
31. Melt a little when he says, “Thanks, Mommy!”
32. Put on cartoon.
33. Deep breath. Fold and put away stepstool in secret hidden location and return to kitchen.
34. Open NEW can of tuna. Drain. Put in a bowl.
35. Preheat oven to 350*F.
36. Chop up yesterday’s leftover dinner vegetables and mix in with fork. Add mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix well with a fork.
37. Slice cheddar cheese block finely. Scoop tuna mixture onto bread slices. Lay cheese slices over tuna.
38. Put baking sheet into oven and set timer for 7 minutes. Cook until cheese is melted.
39. Remove baking sheet (with potholder that is still on the counter from the macaroni), and let cool.
40. Take photograph for your blog:
40a. (Oh yeah and at some point chop up an apple and give half to your kid. Enter that in anywhere, whatever!)
41. Finally sit down to eat.
42. Share 1/3 of your sandwich with your toddler who says, “Ooh that looks good,” then takes a big bite and declares, “it IS good!” Smile because he’s actually eating, and he’s too darn cute for his own good.
C’est la vie! Bon appetit! 😉