Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Help in the kitchen

My husband and I got in a bit of an argument last night. In fact, I believe we've had pretty much the same argument before, multiple times. You'd think by now we'd have learned, but, apparently not.

It started like this: We got home from work with Charlotte about a quarter to 6 and started her with a snack. My husband opened a catalog he'd gotten in the mail and started browsing. I remembered some pork tenderloin that I'd bought the day before and not frozen, so I started looking up cooking times to see if it was a dinner candidate or not. I found good directions on roasting the pork in under 30 minutes, so I declared that I would make dinner. M. barely glanced at me.

I unwrapped the meat and began searching out pans and side dishes, and Charlotte finished her snack. She quickly demanded more, to which we replied that she would have to wait for dinner. She began to scream, as she is wont to do when she doesn't get her way. I suggested to M. that he take Charlotte out of the kitchen and entertain her. I salted and peppered the 2 tenderloin pieces, heated oil, and began searing. Charlotte fussed in her chair until eventually M got her out and tried to take her in the living room (Our kitchen, breakfast room, and living room are all open to each other), where she continued to scream and loudly protest about the various foods that she wanted to be eating (another banana, chocolate, the icee flavoring bottle she spotted in the fridge, etc). I tried to ignore them while I chopped potatoes for a quick high-heat roast.

At some point, the clean dish towel that I'd gotten out to use disappeared. By this time it was not actually clean, since I'd been drying my hands on it between washings (raw pork hands). This threw me off and I searched all over the kitchen, trying to figure out what I could have done with it. Finally my husband admitted that he'd taken it to the downstairs bar because it matches the decor down there. By this point, Charlotte was still alternating screaming and whining for both food and Elmo, and M still had failed to remove her from the site of all of the food and/or tv that she was begging for, and I was starting to get a headache. I don't believe I was very nice about the towel.

Next, my husband decided to entertain Charlotte by bringing her into the kitchen, sitting her on the counter by the sink, and giving her a whisk and bowl of water so she could "help". In the mean time, he kept trying to "help" me by moving things--never mind that I had no idea that he was going to do it and he would either move something that I was using, or end up standing between me and wherever I was going. I don't take well to distractions. Finally I yelled at him to get out of the kitchen, with the baby, and let me finish cooking dinner ALONE. He yelled back, and then stormed to the basement with Charlotte, where she ended up quieter and somewhat more amused (apparently she was still begging for TV, but at least she wasn't screeching anymore).

I admit, and did apologize, that I was not very nice during the whole situation. M. was trying to help a couple of times when he was moving things that I was using. He was also trying to entertain Charlotte, which I know is a huge challenge when she's in one of her terrible two's moments. I realize that I really work better alone in the kitchen, or if someone's going to help, they have to wait for specific instructions from me first. I get myself into a rhythmn and when people "help" without asking first, it usually breaks my rhythmn and makes it hard for me to keep track of what I was doing. I also keep trying to enforce a "no babies in the kitchen while I'm cooking" rule, for safety and sanity (and sanitary I suppose) reasons--I don't want little hands getting burned or cut or pulling out pots and pans under my feet. Unfortunately, my husband likes to entertain Charlotte by bringing her to watch "what Mommy's doing", which ends up annoying the snot out of me (nothing like having an audience *and* distractions *and* safety concerns all at once). He does have a point that there's no reason she shouldn't get to see what I'm doing and feel like she's a part of the experience, but some days I just don't deal well with it.

*sigh* Tonight, I think we're having pizza.


Amanda said...

Sounds like you guys need a night off, need a baby sitter some time this weekend?

the squeaky mouse gets the cheese said...

Once every few years a good yell can let out tension -- I think conflict like that is more in line with being housemates and not a reflection of our marriage. Anyone who's around me all the time is going to push me over the edge one in a while, and vice versa.

The time right after work when dinner runs into all of your other stress that day is just a likely time for stress to boil over.
Ordering out on the odd night is definitely good for that.