Step 1: Figure out what to make.
Planning dinner with a toddler can be tricky. Factor in how overtired/cranky/wild they are before committing to a meal.
Step 2: Buy your ingredients.
Take your grabby and vocal toddler to a store filled with breakable objects and alluring sweets.
Step 3: Re-plan.
Now that you are home and ready to begin, realize that you forgot at least 1 key ingredient in the chaos of the store. Now’s the time to decide whether to make something else, start spaghetti, or give up and order take-out.
Step 4: Start the prep (chopping, filling pots, etc.)
Take about 30 minutes to do prep work that should only take 5. Remember to pause every 30 seconds to stop the toddler from: drawing on the walls, eating dog food, flushing your watch, smacking the dog, peeing on the window (yes, this has happened), and stealing your ingredients off the counter.
Step 5: Begin cooking.
Using one hand, start to cook your ingredients. Use the other hand to control a toddler that decides to have a meltdown as soon as you are stuck by the stove. Forget about what you have in the oven and burn it to a crisp.
Step 6: Finish and plate.
With only 5 or 10 minutes before dinner is ready, down a glass of wine because this is a toddler’s favorite time to practice their best whining. Throw everything on plates for everyone and be sure to forget utensils or drinks.
Step 7: Serve dinner.
Sit down at the table. Despite being starving 5 minutes ago, the toddler will not eat. Also, spend the entire meal attempting to avert disaster and control the inevitable mess.
Step 8: Forget.
As you snuggle with the toddler later that night, completely forget about the chaos that was dinnertime. Think about how you love this little tornado more than you ever thought possible. Plan a complicated and healthy dinner for the next night and repeat.