My 28 month old no longer naps, and as a result we are having a huge problem with dinnertime. I think I might need to totally revamp our eating/cooking schedule, but I'm feeling really bummed about it and hope someone out there can help me come up with a workable solution.
So, our typical eating schedule is something like 7:30 breakfast, 11:30 lunch, 5:00 dinner. DD sleeps from roughly 6 p.m. to 6:15 a.m. I usually prep some stuff the night before, then start cooking supper at 4 or 4:30. BUT - DD is completely exhausted at this time of day. My cooking time is dreadful. She whines and cries and claims she has to poop or pee even though she doesn't, tantrums over little things, the whole nine yards. As a result, it ALWAYS takes me longer to cook than I've allocated, so then I feel really rushed because bedtime needs to happen so soon after supper that there's not a lot of leeway. AND, even though I'm generally a pretty good cook, my suppers have been turning out awful (tonight's was inedible) because I'm so rushed and distracted.
To top it all off, she's such a mess by 5 o'clock supper time that after all the fuss and the rush to get stuff cooked, DD almost never eats anything for supper. Clearly I need to be giving her a big "supper" meal earlier in the day, but I don't know how to make that work without becoming a hermit. If I do dinner at 4, then I have to cook dinner from 3 - 4 or so, which pretty much kills the entire afternoon. I could cook dinner the night before, but I feel like most of the things I cook in the summertime are not so great leftover.
Sigh. How do other parents of no-nappers deal with this dinner conundrum without creating a really isolating schedule?