So, you know how I'm always saying, "Oh, I have no friends here, and it sucks, and I suck at making friends, and what do I do blah blah blah?" Well, I fully acknowledge that it's my fault. I think it's totally unfair that an extrovert gets saddled with sometimes crippling shyness (THANK YOU evil evil elementary school classmates), but that's my problem to deal with, not this mean, unfriendly town's. Well, what makes it worse is that James has a coworker who lives right here in town. Within walking distance of our house. His wife is a SAHM, and they have a two-year-old and a newborn. They are normal and nice people. They shower and do not smell of dirty socks. And yet! Here I am, a hermit in my own house while prime friend fodder lives just a mile away. Idiot.
Well, today we're bringing dinner over to their house (see above, regarding newborn and two-year-old), and I am flipping out. What if the food sucks? What if they die of food poisoning (seriously, I kept sniffing the meat as I cut it up, absolutely CERTAIN that the meat I'd taken out of the freezer just yesterday was maggoty and rotten)? What if I say something wildly inappropriate (okay, so that's a given, and I should just learn how to recover gracefully in these situations instead of worrying about the inevitable happening)? It's times like this a beer would be really handy. I actually laid awake at night, worried sick about how to make conversation without making a donkey's rear of myself.
And do you know what? All this stupid worry always turns out to be for naught. Sure, I say inappropriate things on a daily basis (I have this compulsive need to make everything funny, which means I sometimes do things like make fart jokes at the dinner table), but no one even notices except me. And when I've finally gotten to know people well enough to share with them that I was absolutely terrified of them for the first three years of our relationship, they say things like, "What? Really? You seem so outgoing."
The dinner I am making is this fajita stew. It is fabulous. And it takes five minutes to prepare (provided you do not have a clingy fourth-grader-sized toddler hanging off your hip and screaming in your ear). I've made it twice before, and each time I'm surprised at how good it is. The best part is that you can use a super cheap cut of beef, and it's still tender and full of flavor. I love red meat like I love cheese and chocolate, but I refuse to pay $4/lb for a round steak, thank you very much (on special! in the middle of Farm Country, USA! I do not understand!).
Even The Child loves it. We always go through a few minutes of breathless anticipation before we try to feed her a new meal. Will she eat it? Will she get enough food for dinner that she won't be cranky all night? Will we want to kill ourselves for not making something else for dinner?
These days she rarely rejects anything we feed her, so long as she sees us eating it first. But it still happens. And since I'm evil, I won't just give her something different. She gets other dishes, of course, but only what I'm already serving her. So if all she gets for dinner is apple sauce and Cheerios, that's her problem. Except that it's also our problem because she makes it our problem. As I said, though, this is rare anymore. We actually have a bigger problem with finding enough foods for her to eat. The other day at lunch she had a bowl of stew, a scrambled egg with spinach, two fruit cups, some oatmeal, yogurt, and a trillion Cheerios. I started a mental tally in my head of all the foods in the fridge that were good for her to eat without any preparation. If she hadn't stopped after the Cheerios, it would have been a dessert of shredded cheese in milk. And yet, she's still a string bean. I wish I knew her secret.
I realize there will probably come a day when she's suddenly a really picky eater, but I'm hoping her current zeal for any and all foods means there's a chance she won't go through that stage. Or that it will be shorter. Or less severe. And this is where all you experienced parents clutch your bellies as you laugh and laugh and laugh.
All right. Lots to do today. I need to get off my rear (no small feat these days, by the way, despite my tiny weight gain; it seems I'm a thousand times less coordinated this time around than I was with Grace).