Family dinner time is a beautiful thing.
It’s definitely not the most practical way to feed everyone at this stage in life. My husband and I still can’t complete a full sentence to each other across the table. I spend more time on my feet than in my chair. Conversation consists mostly of various bartering tactics:
“Eat another piece of broccoli and then you can have bread.”
“If I eat my chicken do I have to eat my broccoli?”
“If you drink your milk you can be excused.”
“Five bites or four bites?”
“Take one more big bite or two more small bites.”
My dad’s bartering system was slightly different when I was growing up: “Eat your dinner or I’ll kill you.” I guess he was old fashioned that way.
If I play my cards right I can get the newborn down for a nap and dinner on the table right when Dave walks in the door. I usually have to restrain the one-year-old in his highchair well before that and keep him busy with some frozen peas while I finish up. The older two run through the kitchen screaming until I finally kick them outside or send them to their beds with books to look at. I don’t know how it happens, but at some point we are all finally sitting at the table. Let the meal begin!
William (4): Mommy, why do you have food all over your face? Grown-ups shouldn’t get food on their faces.
Me: Well, William, I’m eating corn on the cob. It’s hard to keep my face clean when I –
William: You look disgusting.
Me: William, that’s not very polite.
William: (muttering) Grown-ups shouldn’t look that way. I don’t understand.
Dave: Ok, Everyone. Let’s take a look at what Bible story we’re going to read tonight.
George (3): Oh, Daddy! Tell the one about the giant bunny!!!
Dave: Um…..no, that’s not in the Bible.
Dave: Tonight we are going to read the part where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
William: You mean Jesus is life…..CEREAL??
Me: Peter, stop playing with your food and eat it.
Peter: Weenie, corn!
Me: Yes, William is eating corn, too.
“William” is awfully hard for a one-year-old to pronounce. Some nick names are more unfortunate than others. Hopefully this one won’t stick through high school.
The boys clear their own spots which is great – but it means I find dishes is random places all over the kitchen. They never put them in the same place. It’s a mystery to me. I have also noticed how many clean forks we wind up with at the end of each meal. Apparently the boys think they are for decoration. Peter usually lets me know he’s done by turning his bowl/plate upside down and putting it on his head. I’ve learned that the kitchen sink sprayer is a valuable tool when dealing with toddlers.
Family dinner is like every other part of parenting – messy but worth it.