Lisa Erickson mug

My brother and sister-in-law are the parents of two adorable little boys—well, adorable most of the time. Last week, my sister-in-law, who is a busy RN nurse, posted on social media she was having a sweet moment at home sitting with their youngest who is two. Suddenly, he stood up and farted in her face with no warning. What?  COVID-19 lockdown has many parents stressed to the max. 

Years ago this happened to me, but not during an epidemic. I have three boys. The good thing is, they only do it once. From a young age they learn from each other passing gas is funny and is at the top of the “fun” bodily functions list for boys under the age of 10. I’m sure parents reading can relate, but those who can’t probably have girls.

My children are grown. I have a couple still in college, and home because of COVID-19. But they are self-sufficient and understand societal rules—most of the time. They are still learning, and I am still teaching.  My heart goes out to parents who are not getting a much needed break from your beloved younger-aged kiddos. Time to recharge is incredibly important. 

Parenting is the hardest thing a human being will do. We have to teach our children everything—like how not to fart in our face or anyone else’s, how not to take stupid chances, and to control themselves in all different kinds of situations.  It’s exhausting.

Thinking about the long-term parenting goals helps us make good decisions and from overreacting. We stop sweating the small stuff and focus on major issues like respect, honesty, and empathy. That means we need to do all those things and guide our kids to do the same. It takes time and thoughtful insight to accomplish and have quality conversations with our kids whether they are two or twenty.

I’d rather my kid make a mistake with me or under my tutelage than someone else who may be completely offended. With that in mind, go easy on yourself and make easy meals your kids can make with you. 

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the perfect meal for little kids to help with and create their own creations. This recipe can be adapted to other rock-star sandwiches by changing the cheese, meat, and/or the condiments.

Parents—you’ve got this!

Inside-out Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

4 slices store-bought bread multigrain bread

4 slices Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyere

2 Tbsp. butter, plus more for frying ham

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

8-10 slices of Old Farmer’s Ham, sliced very thin

2 pickles, sliced very thin

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

Butter one side of all bread and sprinkle with Parmesan, lightly pressing it into the butter. Spread the other side of each slice with a thin layer of mayonnaise; set aside. 

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Add a tsp. of butter. Fry ham until hot and lightly browned on edges. Remove from heat and plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel and return to heat. Place 2 slices of bread, cheese and butter side down in fry pan. Add a slice of cheese to each slice and divide the ham and top with the remaining sliced cheese. Top each with the pickles and the remaining bread slices—butter and cheese side out. Cook until the bread is golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Serve immediately.

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