Monday, December 07, 2009

The List

I love my children. I love to answer their questions. And I love to feed them.

But one day, over a year ago now, as I stumbled through the house in a mid-afternoon new-baby fog, I passed my oldest in the stairwell and he looked earnestly into my eyes and asked a question.

Mama, can I have a snack?

The dreaded snack question. It comes several times before 10:30 and then several more times by 3:30. And, lately, right before bed while we're reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (Lewis and Tolkein and their descriptions of food. My goodness.)

I meant it when I said that I love to feed my children, but during that sleepy period of my life I found it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to think through the options and choose something that didn't fill tummies too much before dinner, maybe some fruit since I didn't slice any at lunch? Perhaps, for the midmorning snack, a protein since breakfast was cereal? Or a carb, since breakfast was eggs? I'm so tired of doling out goldfish, aren't there any other quick options that are also healthy and wholesome and brain food? My boys are big. They work and play really hard. I've got to start doing this better.

And I stood there that day, pondering these things and looking into his amber eyes for so long that he finally placed his hand gently on my arm and whispered, Mama? It's me. Corban.

And after had we made introductions and gotten to know each other again and I handed him a banana and sent him off for quiet time, I sat down to make The List.

It was revolutionary for me; a not-quite-dramatic-enough-idea to be called a life saver, but welcome nonetheless. And it still resides in our kitchen, safely ensconced in a plastic page protector and tenderly affixed to the side of the refrigerator with an old Taco Time magnet.

The List makes snack decisions for me. I love The List. I still get The Question, but now I just point to The List.

Hungry? Choose something from the list, son, and if it needs slicing or dicing or heating, I will be there for you. If not, eat hearty, and I will see you at the next meal table. (Well, I would see him before that, but not looking earnestly, hungrily into my eyes.) Or...

... What is it, Eliana? Oh, you're hungry? Well, it looks like it's snack time- here are your choices! And I read them to her, she (keyword she) chooses and off we go.

Would you like to see the list?
Simple. Holds a little bit of everything. It serves me well.

Later this week, I'll share with you my method for ensuring that the home-baked items on The List are available at any given moment on any given day - it is possible!

9 fellow travelers shared:

Bekki said...

I might come knocking on your door at snack time!

Bree said...

love this-thank you for sharing!

Karen said...

Great post - looks like something worth posting on the fridge!!!

I just tagged you in a Christmas 'meme' on my blog, hope you can play :)

count it all joy said...

This is an amazing coincidence. We've just started school holidays in here in Australia and I'm determined not to become a short-order cook for the next eight weeks. Making a list and sticking it on the fridge was going to be one of my strategies.....making a "Kitchen Closed" sign was another. Thanks for sharing your ideas of healthy snacks. Meredith.

Sheila said...

I have a similar list posted on my "snack cupboard!"

Amy Redelsperger said...

What a great idea. We have scheduled snack times at 10 and at 3:30, however what to serve has been my nemisis as well. I have yet to find a method of meal planning and grocery shopping that works for our new family of seven as well!
Thanks for sharing!

Andrea said...

this is so brilliant elise. you are such a wonderful, care-ful mama. =) can't wait to hear the rest!

Inspiration Station said...

Can't wait to add some of yours to our list. I'm always looking for healthy snacks and these are great. Thanks! What kind of peanut butter do you buy?

Michael said...

I'm curious how you prepare the goldfish. Oh you mean the Goldfish crackers? Oh my mistake. (I seriously thought you were just trying to be funny)!

By the way, you might be interested in these high-protein chocolate chip cookies:

Chocolate Mealworm Chip Cookies

I've tried them...not bad. Not a big hit at potlucks, however.

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