1. Remove lunch dishes from table. Stack on breakfast dishes and your hairbrush, both already in sink.

2. Get out plate.

3. Get out the other plate.

4. Get out the right plate.

5. Offer dinner options. Include at least one of four foods toddler is eating this week.


Ultimate Grilled Cheese, pictured with Daddy's already-poured, half-full beer glass, intended to conjure daddy home faster.

6. Compromise on grilled cheese being a “sometimes” food.

7. Decide that today is a “sometimes” day.

8. Heat skillet.

9. Go to the fridge for butter. See milk cup. Bring milk cup to toddler


One of these things will cause World War 3 and one has a cow on it.

10. Notice funny smell.

11. Remove nonstick skillet from gas range.

12. Go to the fridge for butter. Get American cheese slices and a cup of grapes. Fruit! #winning


Pictured: Not American cheese. Unacceptable.

13. Put skillet back on range.

14. Go to the fridge for butter.

15. Toddler starts screaming for grapes. Explain that you have to halve them first.

16. “No, I have them!”

17. Explain the difference in “halve” and “have”.

18. Curse the English language.

19. Decide to halve all grapes at once using YouTube tutorial.

20. Dump grapes on plate.

21. Set another plate on top of grapes.

22. Explain to toddler that mommy isn’t squishing the grapes. At least not all of them.

23. Notice funny smell.

24. Get. The. Butter. Out. Of. The Fridge.


Butter: Nectar of the gods. In solid form.

25. Add butter to skillet.

26. Go get bread.

27. Pull out almost-done loaf and brand new loaf, because “no eat bread rump”

28. Set “bread rump” aside for Daddy.


Someday you'll serve bread like this. Today is not that day.

29. Debate adding mayo to outside of bread. Isn’t that the new secret to the perfect grilled cheese?

30. Notice funny smell.

31. Wipe out burned butter from skillet.

32. Add more butter.

33. Throw butter box away.

34. Retrieve butter box from trash, hand to screaming toddler. “MA! Need box for art!”

35. Distract toddler with art trash while you run knife between two plates.

36. Success! At least four of the 25 grapes are halved. The others are just maimed.

37. Determine maimed is better than nothing. Hand plate of grapes to toddler.

38. Remember plate is glass and take it back.


40. Get a new plate.

41. Nope, still not that one.

42. Not that one either.

43. Settle on plate de jour.

44. Notice funny smell.

45. Wipe out skillet. Spray with cooking spray.

46. Add mayo-less bread slices to skillet, topping with two slices of American cheese.

47. “Woofwoof!” “Woofwoof!” Open another slice of cheese to reward magically appearing, cheese-loving dog. Marvel that dog has trained toddler to announce his presence.

48. Open fridge. Imagine that vegetable is already prepared and ready to serve.

49. Close fridge. Open freezer. Grab steamer bag of peas.


Peas "with leaves" on them. Generally unacceptable. Reserve mint leave for mojito in the future.


51. Flip grilled cheese.

52. Toss peas in microwave. Set cook time for four minutes. Dream of a world with reliable bedtime-countdown timers.

53. Refill milk cup.

54. Pull out cutting board to cut grilled cheese (strips, not squares or triangles).

55. Get plate.

56. Get a different plate.

57. Realize that only favored plate is already in use. Decide to serve on cutting board and call it Euro-chic.

58. Flip grilled cheese.

59. Cut grilled cheese. Remove crust first, then cut into three equal strips.

60. Eat crust.

61. Relish the fact that toddler dislikes the best part of the sandwich.

62. Wish you’d had more butter.

63. Wonder if you subconsciously trained toddler to dislike best part of sandwich.

64. Eat another crust.

65. “Plate” sandwich strips on cutting board. Add more wonky grapes.

66. Realize wonky, maimed grapes don’t roll. #winning

67. Open microwave to let smoggy pea air fill the room.

68. Wipe down microwave, now very humid and tinted slightly green.

69. Deny request for treat.

70. Ponder if two milk cups=1 dinner.

71. Dump peas into glass container to save. Scoop out one serving in slotted spoon.

72. Run cold water over peas in slotted spoon, losing half.

73. Dream up million dollar idea: Microwave that defrosts, cooks, then cools food to toddler-appropriate temperature.

74. Realize peas in spoon are now ice cold.

75. Realize that peas are still spherical, making them non-Euro-chic-friendly .

76. Consider maiming peas.

77. Dump peas onto less favored plate.

78. Win points that plate is partitioned.

79. Add grilled cheese strips (not touching!) and more grapes.


Grapes and Not American Cheese

80. Present plate to toddler.

81. “No, I no want it.”

82. “Pr Br”

83. “PR BR”


85. Get spoon of peanut butter.


A mommy-sized helping of peanut butter. Not pictured: Wine.86. Reach for second spoon.

87. Change course. Select wine glass instead.

88. “Pr Br”

89. Scoop a second serving into a clean spoon.


Note to self: One can love fruit and peanut butter and still lose their minds when served the two together.

90. Pour self a glass of white wine.

91. Take a sip. Feel spirit lift. Start singing happy toddler songs.

92. “All done!”

93. Wet rag.

94. Offend toddler by wiping hands and face.

95. Remind toddler that this happens every meal and that peanut butter is sticky. Duck to avoid grilled cheese projectile.

96. Pronounce toddler clean.

97. Fetch requested third scoop of peanut butter.

98. Regret starting Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes.

99. Toss rag in sink and decide a bath is now in order to remove peanut butter from head, shoulders, knees, and toes.

100. Free squirming toddler from booster seat.

101. Eat grilled cheese strips. Call it dinner.

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel