Two Tortillas, and I’m Good

Molly’s current favorite meal is two tortillas from Taco Cabana. This “meal” fills her up for hours.

And she does not want anything else. Beans? No, thanks. Rice? Nope. Beef fajita tacos? God, no.

Water on the side, maybe. She’s a monk.

I Mean, Really

I decided to make up a fresh, healthy, homemade meal for the girls today. ¬†I got the recipe from a¬†cooking magazine called “Cooking for Two”. ¬†While technically I am cooking for three, I realized that this magazine was perfect because I can cook for Claire and myself and just assume Molly won’t eat it. ¬†Molly is still only¬†interested in six¬†foods total: yogurt, lil’ smokies, raspberries, PB&J sandwiches, flour tortillas, and black beans. ¬†So why not just go with it? ¬†I decided to¬†make a real recipe¬†for Claire and myself and let Molly have an Uncrustable¬ģ and some¬†raspberries.

I decided on the tandoori chicken because Claire always likes chicken. ¬†Let’s add in some fresh apple slices, try sneaking in¬†some steamed spinach, and toss in some potato chips to ease things along. ¬†This was a serious cooking magazine from America’s¬†Test Kitchen designed basically for at-home dates. ¬†This was not a “quick dinner” recipe. ¬†I spent 90 minutes making the tandoori chicken from scratch and finally presented the final meal to Claire for a slightly late dinner. ¬†I was so proud. ¬†Claire and Molly helped out with the cooking some, which made it more fun.

Once I served up the mean, Claire gobbled up the potato¬†chips and apple slices and picked at her chicken. ¬†She ate a few bites and said it was pretty good but couldn’t finish it because she wasn’t very hungry. ¬†Molly ate her¬†Uncrustable¬ģ in like 2 minutes. ¬†It was maybe five minutes before the girls were finished and off to other things while I sat¬†alone eating my hard-earned tandoori chicken. ¬†Okay, the chicken¬†was slightly dry and bland, but I worked hard for it! ¬†And really, it’s tandoori chicken. ¬†It’s supposed to be that way!

So I worked for 90 minutes on a fresh, healthy meal that was partly eaten in five minutes.  This is why Chick-fil-A makes so much sense.   I could have spent only $10 and 10 minutes getting them Chick-fil-A and spent an extra hour playing with them.  After 11 years of practice, parenting is still tricky.  You can never win!



Over dinner, when Kit is not yet home from the hospital, Claire and I often find ourselves playing different fictional characters that we just make up as we eat.  Molly does not really join in, but she does seem to enjoy the amateur performance.

Our¬†favorite characters recently are a father (me) with a heavy Russian accent. ¬†I am simply known as “Papa”. ¬†I speak of my time back in fatherland Russia, where “if you want to eat, you do not go to grocery store. ¬†No. ¬†You chase down dinner and eat it. ¬†Or maybe if you’re not so fast, it eat you.” ¬†I have no idea where this comes¬†from.

I tend to carry on about dinner. ¬†“I work and work and make good dinner, and you turn up nose!”


Claire is Minka.   Minka is my daughter, but she is not Russian.  By her accent, she seems to be from South America or maybe Southern Asia.  She grew up in America and is spoiled by things like grocery stores and chicken nuggets.  Something is not quite right with Minka, who is afraid of televisions, iPads, or really anything electronic.  And she gets confused by forks and spoons.

Minka loves her dog, Cubbie (Muffin).  I adopted Cubbie back in the fatherland, where she helped me survive on the tundra by hunting down dinner with me every night.  Cubbie joined me on my trek to America and is always kind and patient with Minka.

Molly is Minka’s little sister. ¬†We tried to include Molly in this story, but she does not want to join in. ¬†We tried to name her Pepe, but she insisted that she is Molly. ¬†Molly is “normal American kid who loves chicken nuggets and television”.

We’re not sure what happened to Minka’s mom. ¬†She may¬†be back in Russia fighting her way through the frozen tundra. ¬†Or maybe she’s stuck at the hospital. ¬†We’re not sure which is worse.


Dinner with the kids is usually pretty nice. ¬†The¬†girls tell¬†us a little bit about their day, or at least Claire does. ¬†Molly usually doesn’t remember much about the day and sometimes¬†thinks we are having lunch instead of dinner. ¬†She has no idea what day of the week it is. ¬†She really lives in the moment.

Tonight, dinner was a challenge, sort of a throwback to Molly’s toddler days. ¬†Molly convinced herself that she did not like her cheese pizza. ¬†She objected that it had too much sauce on it, actually¬†any sauce at all. ¬†Eventually¬†Molly worked herself up into a full-blow fit, crying loudly, holding up a limp slice of pizza¬†and pointing at the¬†¬†sauce on it. ¬†I reminded Molly the she had enjoyed lots of pizza with sauce on it just like that before, but of course logic would not¬†help right then.

Claire got agitated by Molly’s¬†loud fussing and yelled, “What are you crying for!?!”,¬†like a parent at her wit’s end. ¬†This, of course, made Molly more agitated and loud. ¬†Meanwhile, Claire was on this kick about¬†choking. ¬†She kept asking, “Am I choking?” and “Did I chew this enough?” ¬†I told her that if you’re talking, you’re not choking. ¬†So she would say to herself, “I’m not choking.” throughout dinner as she ate and Molly continued to cry. ¬†Craving some somber music, I had The Joshua Tree on¬†but had to kill it; it was only adding to the cacophony.

Recently, Kit’s work hours¬†have made it tough for her¬†to get home in time for dinner. ¬†By the time Kit got home, everything had¬†calmed down. ¬†Molly had collected herself and was enjoying¬†some salad with¬†ranch dressing but was¬†still¬†red and splotchy from crying. ¬†Kit said Molly looked hot. ¬†Claire and I said in unison that Molly had been crying. ¬†Molly asked us to please not talk about it. ¬†She was a little embarrassed from¬†crying, which I guess is the difference between a four-year-old and a three-year-old. ¬†Molly would go a little crazy later at bedtime too, but she ended up falling asleep with a stomach full of pizza which had she eventually¬†remembered that she liked after all.

Tuesday: The Best Day of the Week

Claire says that Tuesday is her favorite day of the week.  Yes, Tuesday.

First of all, Claire has “specials” in school on Tuesdays: either Spanish or computer, both of which she enjoys. ¬†Then, Claire rides the bus home on Tuesdays (and Fridays) instead of staying at Extend-a-Care. ¬†This is the schedule that Claire has requested. ¬†Claire likes EaC, where she gets to play on the playground with her friends, do arts & crafts, etc. ¬†But she also likes to come home early on the bus and ¬†just relax. ¬†On bus days, she’ll come home, have a snack, watch a little TV, and then get busy on a drawing project while I finish up work in my home office until about 5:00. ¬†Usually Claire and I work in quiet peace, but occasionally there is some frustration on both sides about needing something / needing to focus on work.

A little after 5:00, it is off to pick up Molly at day care. ¬†Then we all head over to Jason’s Deli, still the girls’ favorite place to eat. ¬†While Molly enjoys cheese pizza, Claire enjoys a salad bar or hot dog, and I indulge in a Pollo Mexicano, Kit magically shows up. ¬†It is just a built-in assumption now that we are eating at Jason’s on Tuesday evenings, and Kit heads straight over from work.

Then usually Claire and I head over to the swim school across the street while Kit (who arrived after us) and Molly (who eats slowly) finish up at Jason’s and head home for bed. ¬†Claire is enrolled in a swimming class, but since she is the only one in the class right now, ¬†she basically¬†has private lessons with Mr. Andrew. ¬†Claire and Andrew work hard and have lots of fun (jumping, throwing, plashing games between laps). ¬†Claire has developed a really nice back stroke and is working on going straight. ¬†Then it is straight home and off to bed.

Ah yes, Tuesdays… specials, bus, chilling at home, Jason’s, swimming. ¬†It just can’t be beat!

Eating the Bowl

Claire got to eat her bowl for dinner.  The bowl was made of tortilla chips and contained pureed black beans.  Claire was excited enough to specifically ask me to blog it. She said that the bowl was really delicious and joked that it saved the restaurant from doing dishes.


Twenty Something?

After picking up the kids from school today, we went to the old standby for dinner, Jason’s¬†Deli. ¬†We have gone to Jason’s countless times after school, and Claire invariably orders the hot dog kid’s meal, while Molly gets the kid’s cheese pizza. ¬†But tonight, Claire tried something a little different…the salad bar. ¬†I did say to Claire, who is normally voracious after school, “So, just to be clear, your entire meal is going to come from that salad bar.” ¬†She asked if she could get both the hot dog and the salad bar, but alas I told her that she did have to choose just one, and she went with the salad bar.

So this was Claire’s very first salad bar. ¬†Okay, so that is not a huge milestone, but perhaps mildly interesting. ¬†The funny thing was seeing Claire eat her salad, with no dressing, with bottled water for her drink, her clean haircut, and wearing her new glasses. ¬†The whole scene made Claire look strikingly like a health-conscious 25-year-old woman on her lunch break. ¬†This from the kid who usually stuffs down a hot dog and ice cream. ¬†See for yourself…

Claire and her saladClaire on lunch break from her new advertising job?

Molly, for her part, went to great lengths to demonstrate the crucial fours years that separate her from Claire.  Molly threw a shoe on the ground and refused to put it back on, dumped her booster seat on the ground, got out of her seat to walk around, tried to jump off of her seat, and ate only a little bit of pizza, of course with ketchup on it.