I’m Thirsty!

Sometimes it feels like all I accomplish in a single day is quenching my childrens’ thirst. Is it like this in your house? Is it a national emergency when you forget a freshly filled Sigg bottle for the hour-long road trip? Do you find yourself filling and refilling sippy cups and drinking glasses and thermoses all day long to the earsplitting chorus of Mom! I’m Thirsty!? Unless it’s mealtime, at which point I always forget (always!) to set out the drinks or have one of the kids do it for us until the moment I collapse my tired body into a dinner table chair. My friend Lori, with whom I worked on the Real Simple Dinner Doula story, said that the single best piece of advice I ever gave her about family dinner was to get the kids’ drinks on the table before doing any cooking. The task was just annoying and afterthought-y enough to set the wrong tone for the meal she worked so hard to get on the table. I will take this so-stupid-it’s-smart tip one step further: When you are entertaining, fill the water glasses and sippy cups before the first doorbell ringing. Then you won’t have to root around matching lids to cups for the 2-year-old at the very moment the sauce is treading the fine line between deglazing and disappearing.

Speaking of thirsty guests. I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a few wine suggestions for the grown-ups. These come from Andy, who doesn’t claim to know much about wine, but enjoys drinking it*. Probably best to go with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay — or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a hardier Rose — if you are serving traditional Thanksgiving fare. Prices are approximate and based mostly on current prices at wine.com and our local wine store.

Louis Jadot ($15); La Crema ($19), Norton Ridge ($20), Simi ($22); Talley ($25-$30), Neyers ($25-$30); Off-the-Chain Options: Ramey ($40+), Kistler ($50+)

Pinot Noir
Castle Rock ($12), Norton Ridge ($19), Veranda ($15-$20); Bouchaine ($25-$30);
Off-the-Chain Option: Schoolhouse ($65+), Paul Hobbs ($75+)

Muga ($15-$20), Tavel Chateau De Trinquevedel ($18-20)

Illustration is by Jessica Zadnik, who also drew the cool pix for the cookbook, and the DALS’ official Picky Eater Taxonomy.

*Andy actually does know a lot about wine. He logged into this post when I wasn’t looking and added that sentence thinking I might not notice.

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My kids (ages 2 and 3) are ALWAYS thirsty. As soon as they were able to open and close a water bottle themselves (I’m anti- sippy cup), I got each one of them their own. I keep the bottles filled and in the fridge. They can help themselves any time they please. It made my life infinitely easier.


A few years ago I finally figured out how much smoother (and less annoying) dinner would be if I got drinks on the table first. My kids don’t notice if the milk is not really cold. I’ve also started announcing that I am sitting down for dinner and if they need anything else, they will have to get it themselves. Curmudgeon 101 is really paying off for me.


One of the first clear “sentences” our daughter said was “Baaa?” while pantomiming raising a bottle to her mouth. Then, after she learned how to walk, she added the stage direction of walking to the refrig., impatiently (indignantly?) pulling on the handle, and bleating, “Baaaa? Baaa??”

As for matching lids and cups, I’m obsessed with the valveless (that’s even worse than finding the right cap…finding the right valve) EIO kids cup–the lid and silicone sleeve fit on any 8 oz. jelly jar. (in the sleeve, it’ll bounce off cement, no problem.)