As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I am inevitably reminded of past holiday meals. For many years I had five small children "helping" me in the kitchen. It's easier now but I'd have to say all that chaos was more fun.
Surviving the holidays with children is a completely different affair than without a houseful of them. Mothers of little ones must devise a much more complicated battle plan, that requires careful and complicated organization to come through it all in one piece.
To all you moms of small children who are entering the fray of the holiday season, I salute you. Your valor and drive is enormous and should be celebrated.
Having three little girls fighting over who gets to stir the pie filling can be challenging. "Divide and conquer" is a time-honored military strategy, which can be implemented with success in this Thanksgiving scenario as well.
One girl gets to pour the cream into the bowl. Another tackles the bowl with the egg beater. The third sister can stir the pumpkin, egg and cream goo into the pie shell.
The two boys wisely preferred to back quietly out of the kitchen and go play. They were often successful with this ploy, but sooner or later they would also be pressed into service, carting and fetching dishes and silverware.
After food preparations are done, it's not just time for mom to change her clothes. Each child needs to be inspected and dressed. It can take the skills of a diplomat to get a kid into an outfit that isn't a colorful, visual explosion.
If you're having a big gathering, setting a separate table for the little ones can make things less crowded at the big table, and allows for a more relaxed standard of behavior at the kiddy table.
Having a room where tiny tots who are over-excited and over-tired can be taken and nursed in private, or put down for a nap, has saved many a holiday dinner from disaster.
If you have a play room for the children to dash off to before and after dinner, they will have more fun and the adults will be better able to kick back and carry on conversation at a volume somewhat lower than a shriek.