Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beat the Jell-O into Submission

Today . . . has been an epic day. It's the Saturday before Easter, which means that all that fun holiday stuff that you can't really do on the Sabbath, happens today. You know, shopping for all that stuff you forgot to buy at the grocery store on the four previous trips you made. Making the house all pretty and shiny for Sunday. For my family, that means boiling and dyeing the Easter eggs, so they're all ready to be skinned and eaten alive the next day. Oh, and getting started on all the food that the ravenous children will be eating tomorrow.

Of course, I'm talking about my mother. I am not cool enough to clean my house (well, rooms that I live in at my in-law's house) for special occasions. Or every day. Or at all, really. Have I mentioned I hate cleaning? Yeah. But my mom, who is pretty much the Supermom that other moms try to emulate and usually fail at, is awesome like that. House: clean. Brand new Easter clothes (half of them handmade): done and ironed. Food: ingredients gotten (after 17 trips to the grocery store). I am not this cool. I would go to the grocery store once . . . and if I forgot to grab the French fried onions for the green bean casserole, well, dehydrated onions work too, right? And how crucial are the apples in the Snickers n' Apple Salad? Cut up Snickers smothered in Cool Whip (I remembered to buy that, right?) works just as well. Right?

Well, anyway, my Mom's amazingness aside, here is what else we did today: We went out for lunch and a movie. The movie was Hop, and it was cute and funny and a keeper! I love James Marsden. But the real highlight of this outing . . . was lunch. We went to the Beijing Buffet, all 8 of us, and systematically consumed half the food in the place. And my little brother . . . found the chopsticks. Now, see, normally this is not a problem, since 7 of us are over the age of eight and therefore quite adept at using chopsticks. However . . . my daughter . . . is 3. We gave CHOPSTICKS to a THREE YEAR OLD. Yes, at the time, I knew this was a supremely stupid idea. I knew I would regret it. I was not, however, prepared for how . . . epic of a fail it turned out to be.

First of all, she tried to eat salmon with the chopsticks. And promptly ditched one of the chopsticks out of sheer annoyance. So, three year old, piece of salmon, single chopstick. And next to the plate, a cup of Egg Drop Soup. Want to know what happens when you semi-violently attack a helpless piece of salmon with a chopstick? That's right. A piece of it goes flying hari-kari to commit suicide in the cup of soup, and it may or not have had help from the semi-violent three year old brandishing a chopstick like a Japanese samurai sword.

Most of the salmon (that didn't end up lying peacefully in the soup) ended up scattered all over the floor. Then . . . we moved on to the Jell-O. My sister, with the greatest of intentions, got my daughter some Jell-O cubes to eat for desert, along side the ice cream (just for the record, Sammy ate more of the ice cream than she did of the actual food for lunch). Still using her single chopstick, my daughter decided that the easiest way to make use of these strange, squishy, rubbery-lookin' orange things would be to spear the sucker, raise it in the air, and try to navigate it to her mouth. Didn't work. *Plop* Orange Jell-O jiggler is back on the plate, somewhat holey, and three year old is surveying it with a look of confusion.

So, we moved on to a different tactic, holding the Jell-O in place with a finger while sticking with chopstick and again raising into air and maneuvering to mouth. *Squish* Jell-O, meet table. At this point, it occurred to my daughter that Jell-O seemed way more like a toy and less and less like something to try eating. So she proceeded to chase the gelatin cube around the table, giggling as it bounced off the edges of plates. And then, apparently offended and outraged that it had the nerve to split in half, she then started to beat the Jell-O into submission (that phrase courtesy of my hysterical Dad), and once subdued, sweep it all onto the floor.

It was around this point that I figured I should stop laughing and take the chopstick away. I wrapped it and the masticated Jell-O up in a napkin, keeping it out of her reach. So, Sammy just stole my sister's chopsticks, dropped one a plate, and in the process of smacking it with the other stick as punishment, sent the one on the plate flying over our heads, to bounce off of the table behind us and roll to a stop under a chair.

By now, I was crawling under our table in embarrassment and shame as my daughter shrieked with laughter and kept trying to find the missing chopstick. And then started whacking my sister with the other one, prompting me to get out from under the table and remove all chopsticks from within her reach and hide them. We managed to get out of the restaurant without too much incident (leaving a $12.50 tip for the poor person who had to clean up the smooshed Jell-O, bits of noodle and rice, and flakes of salmon ground into the carpet. Oh, and the chopstick under the chair at the other end of the room).

Apparently her exertions at trying to tame the wild Jell-O jiggler had just worn my poor daughter out, and she slept through most of the movie. Which left her all kinds of chipper and perky at Walmart, which was just so . . . fun. Really. Yeah. The next adventure on the docket was dyeing Easter eggs, and after getting the six dozen eggs boiled (yes, six dozen) and ready to go, my mom and I shared a nostalgic moment together, grinning like little kids as we plopped the little color dye tablets into the mugs, to fizz and bubble in the vinegar at the bottom. The smell of vinegar has always reminded me of Easter, for this exact reason. We watched the little tablets scoot around the edge of the cups as they bubbled, sending the dye swirling up in their wake.

And then . . . my little brother and sister got ahold of the stuff. A nine and eleven year old, 2 dozen eggs, and 12 mugs of pretty darn permanent multicolored dye, and these really nifty "dye pens" we found at Walmart that consisted of thin tubes of dye with a Q-tip fluff on each end. You break the seal on one end, and all the ink rushes to the cotton at the other end. Voila, Easter egg dye pen! Let me just say that it is a good thing my mom's Easter tablecloth is vinyl.

And now, I'm sitting at the table amidst the aftermath of a whirlwind evening of dyeing Easter eggs. We even have a set of eggs decorated as Gru and his minions from Despicable Me, I kid you not. Those were my brothers invention. Oh, and by the way, if you do not know how to juggle, attempting to learn how with hard-boiled eggs is . . . well, hysterically funny, but maybe not advisable.

So now, I'm going to see what I can do about cleaning up the disaster that once used to be the kitchen table, stick the 6 dozen eggs back in the fridge in preparation for tomorrow, and pour 12 cups of dye down the sink (best part of dyeing eggs). I hope everyone else has as . . . memorable an Easter as I did. Ta!

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