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Ann E. Butenas


I have never been much of a cook, nor did I ever spend much time in the kitchen in my life up until I got married and had children. My idea of "cooking" was opening a package of crackers and a jar of peanut butter.

For me, the kitchen has always been a source of entry or exit to and from other parts of the house. However, now that I have children in my home, the kitchen is screaming for excitement. Before kids, all I had to do was dust my kitchen occasionally. Now, I have to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the floor and wipe grape juice off of the walls.

It amazes me how two little boys can sit at the kitchen counter and turn two or three crackers into a mound of crumbs on the floor. To toddlers, food is not a source of palatal pleasure. Food is a toy. Food was made to be thrown like a football across the kitchen and into the family room. "Can I make the macaroni and cheese fly far enough to hit the TV screen?" is the thought most likely prevalent in a young boy's mind. As I take a warm plate of food from the oven (okay, from the microwave oven!), I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in feeding my young sons' bodies. I eagerly place the array before them. They appear to be salivating on the spot. I feel a culinary victory is in sight as they grab their spoons with zest, dig into the food, bring it to their mouths, and then suddenly realize the food on the spoon can be catapulted across the room. One son, who is still developing a keen eye for aim, attempts to hit the window, but the flying glob hits the ceiling fan instead. The ceiling fan happens to be running at this particular moment, so the glob lodges onto a blade, and, after three rotations, plops off onto the floor below, whereupon a series of laughs and shrieks follows. It is not I who is laughing, but the boys, as, unknown to me at the time, a portion of it has landed in my hair.

Ann E Butenas is a stay-at-home mom of three preschool-age boys. Ann currently owns and operates ANZ Publications, a publications business specializing in family-riented projects.
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