Where I discuss my Thursday lunches
Thursdays are long days for me. If I want to work out, I have to wake up early to do it . . . and, I almost always do. See, I’m about to attack my metabolism at a Chinese buffet, so I do something to burn some calories in an attempt to reduce the damage I’ll be doing.
After a workout, I’ll shower & get ready for work. Most every time, I’m out of the door before anyone else in my house is awake.
Around noon, I meet Duffy and the kids at the local Chinese buffet. Every single time, both kids are out cold in the back of the minivan. I carry the heavier (CJ) across the parking lot and to our seat . . . which is just enough time for Leila to fully wake up.
Despite the fact that my kids actually look somewhat alike, they’re not biological siblings, and that’s never more apparent in the post-nap period. With Leila, in two minutes, she’s her normal self: cheerful, flirty, and eager to be the center of attention. CJ, on the other hand, is a grump. He doesn’t want to head back to sleep, but he does nothing to actually aid his waking. He grunts and cries and is just unpleasant . . . until some set period, when he’s then “awake” and himself.
Leila, the independent spirit, will sit down with her pile of noodles and rice and melon and jell-o, and she’ll be happy1. CJ, well, that first trip to the buffet line always involves him being half-asleep, but I’ll prepare him a plate of his favorites: chicken on a stick, hot dog in pastry, fried noodles, melon, jell-o. Then I’ll make a plate for myself.
That first plate, I typically eat, as CJ rubs the sleep from his eyes. But, then I’m ready for a second plate, and CJ is ready to “help.”
Those of you who are parents know how wonderful it is when a toddler wants to “help.”
So, we’ll go through the buffet line, and I’ll get the things that CJ thinks I should get: a single clam (he likes to play with the shell), honey chicken, more chicken on a stick . . . if I’m lucky, I’ll sneak some green beans and/or some dumplings in there when he’s distracted by something shiny.
We’ll head back to the table, and CJ will ignore the plate in front of him, instead choosing to eat off of my plate (because, don’t you know, that everything tastes better when it comes from daddy’s plate).
Usually, right as I’m plowing through my second plate, Duffy starts thinking about dessert . . . so CJ declares himself done, and heads to “help” mommy get him some mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Leila, at this point, will be begging to watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on mommy’s phone and will blindly shove a piece of cake into her mouth as she’s mollified by the moving pictures.
And then daddy gets up to get dessert, so CJ “helps” daddy get ice cream, too . . . ice cream which he, then, proceeds to “help” daddy eat.
There’s a lot of toddler sugar in here. But things aren’t done.
No, at this point, with dessert finished and Daddy paying the bill, CJ will start focusing on the plate in front of him, from very, very early in the meal. He’s ignored it all of this time — but I think he’s just being smart. See, dessert is his focus, so he eats a bare minimum in order to be allowed dessert. And because daddy
eats a whole lot finishes at a later time, there are two desserts that he can partake in. Only after he’s done with dessert, knowing that the option of a second dessert course is off-limits, then he’ll eat “his plate” until he’s not hungry anymore.
I, then, try to remove as much food as possible from my clothing (because eating with a toddler climbing all over you never leaves you without food-stained clothing) before heading back to a meeting-filled afternoon at work. I’ll leave the office early to head to band practice . . . and then I’ll get home after the kids’ bedtime.
Without this lunch, Thursdays would mean that I’d not see my kids — and that would be very, very bad.