Isn't the notion of Family Nite a great idea?
I have read about it in magazines and even books, so I had this absolutely brilliant idea that I proposed to Yusuke and he very willingly agreed to.
Our plan was to deem Saturday nights to be Family Nite in our house, and our goal was to bond with our kids while eating great food that we had all participated in cooking and then we would expose Ailin to an array of great films (a.k.a. we would let Ailin stay up slightly later than usual so we could watch a kids movie with her.) Then after she goes to bed, we would sit down and watch an "adult" movie. How could this not appeal to my movie-obsessed husband?
The main rule would go as follows:
The menu must include food that we could all participate in cooking. For example, homemade pizza, one-pot stews or soups, homemade sushi, okonimiyaki, etc. Yusuke's only job was pick up a few groceries and then rent 2 movies.
I drafted up a schedule (me and my damn schedules!):
4:30 pm - Yusuke must be home from grocery shopping by this time.
5:00 pm - Luka gets his bath.
5:15 pm - Ailin and Papa take a bath.
5:45 pm - We all start preparing the food together.
6:15 pm - We eat dinner.
7:00 pm - Ailin's movie starts. (try to stick to movies that are 90 min or less.)
8:30 pm - Bedtime routine starts (storytime, songs, sleep)
Oh, you are probably laughing about how militaristic it all seems. As if a 2 year old and a baby will so obediently succumb to my strict schedule, right!
Here is a rundown of what really happened and how it became chaos rather quickly.
4:25 pm - Ailin gets into a container of cream and it ends up all over her face, arms and hair. Time to hit the shower!
4:45 pm - Ailin's bath is done, but Luka has been sleeping peacefully for a last couple hours and is still sleeping. I don't want to wake him, so I put it off.
5:00 pm - I prepare most of the veggies for the pizza.
5:30 pm - Yusuke arrives home from grocery shopping. He was supposed to pick up the yeast and the whole wheat flour for our pizza dough. He has not been able to rent the DVDs because he had some overdue DVDs on his rental card and therefore could not rent again until he had returned those.
6:00 pm - Luka wakes up so I bathe him. I also check around for yeast. There is none.
6:15 pm - Yusuke finally admits that he didn't buy yeast because he bought whole wheat flour, and isn't that all I needed?
6:20 pm - Yusuke goes out to the store to get yeast.
7:00 pm - Yusuke returns with said yeast. He sits on couch to read newspaper.
7:01 pm - Ailin and I began mixing the ingredients to make the pizza dough. Yusuke seems not to notice.
7:10 pm - I set the dough aside to "rise", then go off to do something else.
7:45 pm - I check the dough. It has not risen. Not one tiny bit.
7:46 pm - I mix another batch of dough using a recipe that does not require yeast.
7:50 pm - Ailin and I try to roll out the dough. It doesn't work. I end up just spatula-ling into the pan. Ailin and I are full of dough. Yusuke, still reading the newspaper and watching TV, seems not to notice this.
7:55 pm - I call Yusuke over to the table to help us put the vegetables and meat on the pizza. Each of us gets one portion. He sees that the dough has already been "rolled out." He gets mad for not being "included." He runs off to bedroom to pout.
Argument ensues. Lots of yelling. I am told I am crazy and should check into a mental hospital. He is told he should go to a hospital for angsty teenagers who pout whenever they don't get their way. (Does such a place exist?)
8:10 pm - Things calm down enough to place veggies and meat on the pizza in peace. I put the (god damn) pizza in to bake.
8:30 pm - We start eating. Yusuke comments on how good the pizza tastes despite all the trouble we had. He eats several pieces, but then I notice that he is not eating the crust because it is "too filling." Ailin is not eating much pizza, and is instead filling up on garlic bread.
9:15 pm - Yusuke takes Ailin to bed. I take Luka to bed in a separate room. (No time for a kids movie.)
11:00 pm - I wake up after falling asleep with Luka. I try to wake Yusuke up. He eventually gets up and then goes out the couch and promptly falls asleep.
11:05 pm - I, normally full of spark and energy at this time of night, fall asleep on the couch as well.
12:30 am - We wake up and go to bed. (No adult movie for us either.)
The next day, we laughed a bit over our disasterous Family Nite, and commented that maybe it takes some practice. We vowed to give it another try. I double checked the garbage can to ensure that the raw pizza dough I had thrown out the night before did not rise in the middle of the night. (It had not.)
This past weekend, we gave it another try. This time, Yusuke was working and would not return home until 6pm, so we decided to make a dessert together. I found a cool recipe for ice cream sandwiches involving shredded cocoanut. I made seafood curry for dinner.
To make a long story, another argument ensued, this time time during the actual meal. We did sit down to watch the kids movie (Bambi), but Yusuke slept through most of it. The ice cream sandwiches that we made sucked and were extremely sweet. The ice cream was good though. At 9:00 pm, I took Ailin to bed, and inadvertently fell asleep with her. I woke up at 1:00 am and remembered that I still had a buttload of chores to do - the dishes, the laundry, etc. I found Yusuke sitting on the couch, eating snacks, drinking alcohol and reading the paper. He very innocently claimed that he "just woken up"! I went about my chores, and then we both went to bed.
I asked Ailin what she thought of Bambi the next evening, and she said, "Bambi kirai". (I hate Bambi.) I have never heard her use the word "hate" before. I hate Bambi too.