Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Funny Valentine

OK, I admit it. I forgot it was Valentine’s Day. I thought February 14th was maybe a Wednesday – certainly not a Monday.

So when H woke up and Big A rolled over and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I smiled and blurted out, “Oh no!”

While H shouted his alphabet and numbers back to his favorite Sesame Street characters on TV, I scrambled to find something special to make for the lovely holiday.

After clicking through two of my favorite sites – Food52 and DesignMom – I had come up with an easy craft and a dinner menu, neither of which would require a trip to the mall.

H and I hurried through the morning: swim class, trip to the supermarket, lunch, and an early afternoon nap.

While H dreamed, I whipped up some lemon sponge cakes. By 3pm, H was up and I was rubbing a chicken down with some melted butter and had hacked up some sweet potatoes to roast. The broccoli rabe was in the steamer, ready to be jazzed up with some garlic, raisins and toasted pine nuts.

While singing “Baa, baa, black sheep” and “Twinkle, twinkle” with H, I clipped some red felt into hearts and colored in some eyes with a black Sharpie. With some teal, orange and hot pink thread, I wove the shapes together and stuffed them with cotton balls.

At 4pm, the doorbell rang as I shoved the chicken into the over. I scurried down the stairs. A lovely woman handed me a vase-full of roses and hydrangea, wishing me a nice Valentine’s Day. How has the man who hates holidays remembered to send me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and I – the one who excitedly looks forward to any occasion to celebrate – forgot?

By 5pm, everything was in place for a nice evening for the three of us. Chicken roasting: check! Potatoes in the oven: check! Adorable heart-shaped pillows for dinner place settings: check!

And then, splat! Things turned precipitously downward.

Big A came home early, while I was tossing some shrimp onto a plate. Then, as I was trying to plop out some cocktail sauce, H ran straight into me, yelling, “I run fast, mama!” and the sauce splattered all over the floor. Welcome home, darling!

In my haste, I forgot about the chicken and it was now overcooked. The potatoes were burned on one side, since I didn’t remember to toss them once they were cooking. The rabe was bitter despite the sweet raisins and crunchy pinenuts.

As Big A and I ate our less-than-special dinner, H took a few bites and refused to eat any more, opting to gulp down water out of his big-boy cup and throwing his heart-shaped pillow on the floor.

And then came the burp. It was a big one. It was the kind of burp you expect from a seasoned old man, saddled up to the neighborhood bar. It was a juicy one.

Our heads spun toward H, just in time to catch the torrent of water and some dinner bits blow out of his little mouth.

“No problem!” H smiled. The burp and barf didn’t even phase him. I cleaned him up, let him have some special lemon sponge cake dessert and released him to run some more before bed.

Big A kept eating. I could not.

That’s when H came back into the kitchen, carrying the cordless phone, aimlessly pressing every button. When I leaned down to ask for the phone, he promptly bonked me on the forehead.

“Boink!” H exclaimed. I guess Cupid decided to substitute his arrow for a phone tonight.

The sink was full of dishes, my baby smelled of vomit, and I now had a growing welt on my forehead.

I got H ready for bed and tucked him in. I love you, sweet boy.

When I emerged from H’s room, Big A just looked at me and smiled, “I know you think this was a disaster. It’s really not bad. I like my potatoes a little brown around the edges. The chicken is good and so is the rabe. It’s tough to get a meal like this on the table by 6pm with the little guy running around. This is very nice. Thanks.”

His kind words overshadowed the red, yellow and pink roses.

“I guess now’s the perfect time to tell you,” I couldn’t help but laugh. “H plugged the toilet while I was making dinner. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

1 comment:

  1. This is a tough call, I suppose my ability to continue eating would come down to how hungry I was to begin with. But I'm guessing it would take a little more than this to put a chubber like me off dinner.
    (Nice work on this one)