Oh, For Heaven's Sake: The 10-Minute Meal that Could Have Been

Tonight was one of those "Dinner? Was I supposed to make dinner?" nights, but I did come up with a quick plan.  I was quite pleased with myself, figured I'd have it all in the oven in about 10 minutes. Ha!  I was stupidly (shush, we don't say that word) calculating according to non-mama time.  In reality, it took almost 45 minutes to dice and season (with a pre-made mix) potatoes, and mix two ingredients as a sauce for Marmalade Pork Chops.  FORTY-FIVE FREAKING MINUTES.  (By the way, one redeeming factor in all this was that I got to use the marmalade I made and canned last week, which was immensely satisfying.  Of course even making the marmalade didn't take as long as this dinner because I made it after the kids were in bed, and while Grant was watching the movie Touching the Void.  So now this citrus marmalade and horrific near-death-on-a-mountain-slope will forever be connected for me.)
Here is the account of dinner prep taken over by the urchins children:

Me (cleverly distracting children so I can think for half a second): Kids, want to paint?
Kids:  Yessssssssss!  Yay!

We get everyone set up with watercolors and paint shirts.  They have done this before, so it's pretty safe.  I run to the computer to quickly look up a pork chop sauce idea.  My behind was in my chair approximately two seconds.
Wyatt: Mama!  MAMA!
Me (already feeling harassed): WHAT?
Wyatt: Booo!  Booo!
Me: You have blue paint?  Oh how nice.

I find the recipe, toss the pork chops in the microwave for thawing, and then manage to wash all of the potatoes I plan to use.
Wyatt: Mama?  Mama!  MAMA!!
Me: WHAT do you want??  Yes, dear?
Wyatt: Paint!  Paint!
Me: Oh, you are painting?  Look, isn't that nice!
Ava: Me too, I'm painting too!  Look at my picture, it's a rainbow, except I didn't want all that red, so I used pink, and then I found another pink, so my rainbow will have two pinks, so it's kind of like a double rainbow with those two pinks except it doesn't have two reds.  But it's still a rainbow.
Me: Yippee!

I manage to get the oven preheating, splash the marmalade and soy sauce together in a pan, and begin chopping the potatoes.  Wyatt starts saying something incomprehensible, repeatedly and at an unnecessarily loud volume.  I determine that he is finished painting and wants to eat the rest of his "pie."  (The pie was supposed to be these oatmeal and fruit snack bars, but as usual, I did not exactly follow the recipe, so the end result was called pie.  And it was quite tasty.)  Ava decides she wants to finish her left over snack pie too, so we get the paint all cleaned up, and they are eating their pie.  I go back to chopping.

Wyatt (cries of utter panic): Oh no oh no oh no!
Me:  WHAT???
He holds out his finger, the trauma of his situation stamped on his face, and I see that he has a little piece of food on his finger.  I throw a napkin at him, and go back to chopping for another minute.  More crying from Wyatt.  This time I see that Ava has STUCK HER FOOT across the table and planted it on his plate, causing the food and plate to land in Wyatt's lap.  I go get that situation sorted out, moving Ava around to the side of the table after making her clean up and telling her "Use your brain!" "Now child, that's not how we treat people or food in this house."  She is quite upset at this abuse, doesn't see at all why she should have to move, and follows it up with a shrill, "NOT FAIR!"  I give her a look that says, "If I open my mouth, you will shrivel up from the sheer frustration in the words that are about to escape from me," and she suddenly remembers that she does have a bit of self control.

I go back to chopping the potatoes.  I really should have just nuked them in the microwave and dumped sour cream on top.  That I probably could have accomplished by now.  There is another disturbance from the children; something a long the lines of "he's looking at me!"  I know a mother should never ever respond to such a comment, but I was so steamed at this point.  I turned to my offspring (according to the hospital staff) and I say, "I AM CHOPPING POTATOES!!!"  They look at me blankly.  "CAN'T YOU PEOPLE LEAVE ME ALONE LONG ENOUGH TO CHOP THESE POTATOES???!!"
And you know what?  They scampered upstairs and started playing a game with train cars and Disney princesses.


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