Monday, February 11, 2008

My Valentine

**The longest post ever...if not longer. But worth it because my husband rocks!**
If Jared had bet me $100 yesterday that he would have Madeline *asking* to try peanut butter, pepperoni and cheese TOGETHER on a saltine, I would have absolutely taken him up on it. There's NO way. She's not THE pickiest eater ever, but she definitely does NOT have an adventurous palate. And, until today, she doesn't like pepperoni. Or her foods mixed together.

And yet, somehow, he made it happen. I was in the bed feeling pretty lousy (lousy enough to send everyone to church without me, which is rare). Jared and the kids had just gotten home from church. I had thought if I just rested the first hour they were gone, I would feel up to fixing some very minor lunch by the time they got back. But I did not. And due to my poor household management, we had no bread, no milk, no macaroni & cheese, no fast and easy meals. And no more "eat out" money until the 15th. But I was laying in the bed, feeling yuck, wondering how long it would take Jared to realize the food situation, get mad at me for my poor planning, and then fuss at the kids (because he couldn't fuss at me, I was sick). In my mind, it was going to be a rough afternoon.

You would think I would know better. After he had them pick up their rooms (we get out of church early, 10:30, home by 10:40, so this was not punishment or child neglect) and the playroom, I heard Madeline making the usual "daddy's-gotta-cook" meal suggestions...pb&j, bologna sandwiches, hot dogs, microwave mac & cheese, cereal...and Jared searching through the cabinets for non-existent ingredients to any one of these. No luck. But he was still using his "patient voice", so I was impressed. No sarcastic comments about his baby's far, so good. Then I hear him say, "Well, we have crackers, let's see what else could go with them?" They found peanut butter, pepperoni, and sliced cheese. While he took these to the table, Madeline said she didn't think that looked like enough crackers for all of them. I cringed. I, already annoyed by the lack of edible food for Sunday lunch, would probably have told her she could hush and eat or keep talking and go to her room. But instead, my precious husband said, still in his patient voice, "Why don't you and Noah figure out how many crackers you need if you are each going to have 4 cracker sandwiches with a top and a bottom", and left them to their crackers. What??!! A math lesson??!! You turned Madeline's daily-required mealtime complaints into a math lesson??!!

A couple of minutes later, they'd correctly figured out that they needed a total of 24 crackers for all 3 kids to have 4 (made up of 2) crackers. Yippee! I was grinning. Next, he put the few topping choices on the table and asked them, one at a time, what they wanted on their crackers. I think I fell asleep during part of this, or just couldn't hear, I can't remember, but then I vividly remember hearing Madeline princess say, "I wonder how it would taste with peanut butter and pepperoni?" Really...with no threats. If I had even suggested peanut butter mixed with ANYTHING other than jelly, she would have gone into orbit. But it was her idea, so it worked. Jared, sounding a little surprised, made her a peanut butter-pepperoni cracker, and SHE ATE IT. Now, since it had been her suggestion, even if it had made her gag, her stubborn self would have oohed and aahed over how tasty it was. But it sounded like she did actually kind of like it. So everyone peacefully ate their gourmet saltine cracker lunch.

Then Noah asked for dessert. As if we ever eat dessert. They get snacks that are sweet sometimes, but we never eat dessert. Not that dessert could really make a meal of saltines, peanut butter, pepperoni, and cheese any LESS nutritionally sound. I figured that request was Jared's cue to send the kids away from the table to go have "quiet time" in their rooms (as is typical for Sunday afternoon after lunch). No, he played a guessing game with them to figure out what dessert would be. A guessing game. He made it fun. He made ONE oatmeal crem.e pie, split four ways (because that's all we had left), exciting because they played a guessing game. Seriously. And that's not all, folks. He made it into a fractions lesson by having Noah show him how to divide it evenly 4 ways. I kid you not. And they were more in love with him for fixing them a lunch of saltines with 1/4 of an oatmeal creme pie for dessert than if he'd bought out the toy store. Frankly, so was I.

So let me just say: I love you, Jared. Just when I think that because I am overwhelmed, you must be, too, you come through with a day like that. Lunch, math, and a cleaned up house...sometimes you are just too much. I love you and I think you've found my love language. Loving our passel of kids. You are the coolest man ever...if not cooler.


Jeanne said...

"I love you, too, Jared!", says your grateful mother-in-law. What a wonderful daddy and husband you are! I think that's just about the best Valentine story I've heard in a long, long time...if not ever.

Deaton, party of 5 said...

What a great story! It's funny that you mentioned finicky eating b/c that's my 3 kiddos. I think mine might enjoy Jared concoctions too =). Looks like he should be in charge of Sunday lunch.

S. said...

What a great story! And what a good example he is for your boys, especially. I hope you're feeling better...and I'm so glad that you have Jared around. Maybe I'll get to meet him one of these days! -sherrill

ps. My Grandmother (Ganus) used to make us these snacks that sound disgusting, but are amazing. Take a saltine, put a slice of cheese on it, top it with a marshmallow and toast it lightly in the oven. I could eat these all day.

Nancy G said...

I hear about you all the time through your precious mother and I feel like I know you as if we live next door. I was just chatting with her this Valentine's Day and she told me to check out her blog of the beautiful Valentine she wrote to your dad and then guided me to yours. She said, "Melanie's blog is hilarious!!! if you ever want to laugh and cry go to hers..." So I did. She was right! I hope I have kids as great as yours! I'm pretty sure of the fact that I have an awesome husband. I just don't know if he'll make a simple lunch into such a blast! However, he could be full of surprises that I just haven't seen yet! Thanks for making me smile! Que Dios siga bendiciendote. Se que ustedes estan dandole la gloria a Dios a traves de sus testimonios de su amor maravilloso! En Cristo, Nancy (Luna) Gonzalez