Every night I feed my kids dinner. I try to make things that they enjoy. I don’t try to feed them liver and onions, haggis or peas. I make nuggets, mac & cheese, pizza, chicken, fish, burgers, tater tots, rice, noodles, tacos, etc. All kid favorites. However, it never fails that by the end of what is usually an hour long struggle, I feel like I have just emerged from the heart of an asian conflict in the jungle.
Here is a script of a normal dinner:
6:00 Mom starts making dinner. This night it is salmon, rice and green beans (it’s green beans almost every night since it is the one veggie both boys like).
6:30 “Dinner Time!! Go wash your hands and go potty before dinner.”
6:35 Kids sit down to dinner and start eating. Mom helps feed little one and supervises oldest’s progress. Both kids enjoy the food and begin eating it willingly. Mom & kids talk about the day.
6:45 Because oldest is talking so much, he has not been eating very much. First time Mom has to say “take a bite” to the oldest. This will not be the last time tonight.
6:55 Eating slows down as their little bellies start getting a bit fuller. Mom has had to say “take a bite” about 5 times by now.
7:00 Mom starts to get a little frustrated that kids have been sitting at the table a full half hour and not even half of their food is gone. Kids have started singing and making faces at each other to make each other laugh. There is lots of giggling. However, very little eating is happening at this point. Once again “take a bite” is said to oldest. Also, “no singing at the table.” (please note that they are usually singing Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus or Ke$ha. There is only so much Mom can handle).
7:10 Mom realizes that since the little one’s bedtime is 7:30, there is very little chance he will finish his dinner with enough time to play. Mom tells little one this. Words have no effect. Mom tells oldest to stop singing and being crazy and take a bite! Mom tells little one to turn around and put his bottom in the seat, stop playing with his milk, lean over when he takes a bite . . . then picks up rice from his lap.
7:15 Mom actually says this to oldest “we do not play with our feet during dinner, put your feet down and stop picking at your toes” . . . followed immediately by this “and we definitely don’t then pick up our green beans with our feety fingers and put them in our mouth!!” At this point the “take a bite” count is well over 50. Mom tells youngest that napkins are not hats and to swallow the bite he has had in his mouth for 5 whole minutes.
7:20 Mom has started to lose her mind a little. She has started raising her voice to a very high octave and telling oldest that she can’t believe it will almost be an hour and he still isn’t finished his dinner. She will once again tell him to TAKE A BITE!!! Usually the little one is about done at this point. Since Mom has physically been putting forkfuls of food in his mouth the entire time, almost all of his dinner is gone. Mom is tired of fighting. And yelling. And sitting at the goddamn table. Mom needs a drink.
7:25 Little one finishes dinner. He gets a couple minutes to play before bed. Oldest asks how many more bites he has to take. Mom calculates and tells him 2 more green beans, 3 more fish, 2 more rice. Oldest eats those within about 30 seconds, anything to be done his dinner and get away from the screaming banshee that has replaced his otherwise loving Mom.
7:30 If the hubs is in town and/or not hiding in his office at this point, this is when he might decide to do bedtime for the little one because he sees that “Mom looks like she needs a break.” Mom gets up from her pretzel sitting position, hobbles over to the fridge, and pours a great big glass of wine, aka Mommy juice.
Lest you think this is the end of Mom’s day, you are mistaken. This is usually the time that Mom either puts the little one to bed (if the hubs is not around, which is lots), or does homework with the oldest (if hubs is upstairs with little), or in the alternate, lets oldest watch baseball for an hour before bed. We always watch baseball. It’s sort of depressing because our team stinks, but oldest is a die-hard fan. So baseball. Every night. Yay. Go team.
What is your dinner time ritual? Is it as fun and exciting as mine? Any suggestions as to how I don’t kill my kids during this
skirmish, err family bonding time? Please share in the comments . . .