It happens every day at 3:20 p.m. I brace myself behind the kitchen counter, the door opens and I defend myself with apples, peanut butter and pretzels.
They mow through them like linebackers then retreat to their rooms where they unburden themselves of the three-hundred-pound backpacks they lug everywhere. I prepare for the second wave. Milk, cookies, and fruit are strategically placed on the table and are quickly devoured as they descend on them like voracious insatiable locusts.
Thirty minutes later, I hear squabbling and toss out samples of a spice cake I baked earlier. This calms the hungry beasts for a few more minutes and then they start to howl, "When's supper, Mom?"
"Soon!" I try to placate them. "If you're done with your homework, go out and play." It's a strategic risk. Playing will only make them hungrier.
My husband arrives with the wolves on his heels. I deal plates out on the table like a blackjack dealer. I barely get the food on the table before the beasts are drooling over their place settings.
"Amen." And they're off! Firsts, then seconds, then, "What's for dessert?"
This will continue until snacking tapers off just before bed. But after eight hours of sleep, they will awaken and it will be as if they have never eaten. They prowl through the kitchen stalking yogurt cups, bananas and bagels.
No, these aren't boys; these are my thirteen-year-old twin daughters. They are growing so fast that their bodies and minds are just burning up fuel by the second.
But this growth spurt is not just affecting my daughters; it's affecting me, too. As I watch my babies grow there's a part of me that misses the little girls that they used to be. They eat for nourishment and I eat for consolation.
The girls are spurting upward and growing taller by the second. I'm spurting horizontally and in a circular fashion. People have stopped asking me when the baby is due…because I've been carrying it for four years now.
Note to self: Just because the kids are having a growth spurt, doesn't mean you are, too, woman.
Isn't that the truth?
They say stock your kitchen with healthy food and for the most part I have because I want the kids to make good choices. And I am doing that for myself…but four servings of something good for me is still three servings too many.
It's funny that I started my vocation as a mom eating for three and now I'm doing it again as I watch my babies grow into adults. But I'm calling this stage of parenting the plague of locusts.