At the end of the day it is nice to finally sit down and have dinner as a family. Or is it? I would have no idea. For almost four years I am not sure I have made it through a dinner without having to get up, feed someone, beg someone to eat, get more food, get something for someone to drink, take food away, pick it up off the floor, share MY food, or make threats about taking away the TV or toys “if you don’t eat your dinner”. It’s exhausting. It really is...Almost... Every...Night! Okay, so maybe once in awhile I will put something on the table that my toddler, Chase, thinks is out of this world and within one bite it is gone. These times are rare.
I enjoy cooking for my family. I like being in the kitchen making food. I also enjoy cooking with my son. We like to bake together. Some nights he will insist on helping me make dinner. I love these moments. I am still practicing not being a control freak and allowing him to help in the best way he can. I hate messes and I am learning to let there be a mess and enjoy his help. I remind myself what matters is making the food together. You would think that would help my situation out when it came down to the actual dinner. No, he can still help me with a meal and decide he doesn't like it or it isn't what he wants.
I have come to dislike dinner. I put all this time into making a meal when most nights I don’t get to sit down and actually finish my meal while it is warm. It’s always “something” : "It’s too hot", "It’s cold", "I need ketchup", “What is this?”, "I don't like the orange ones" (he used this referring to pasta color! You know, because it tastes so different from the white ones. Urgg). Then there's my favorite: "I don’t like it". That last comment sometimes comes before the first bite.
By the time we sit down to dinner mama has lost most of her steam. It’s amazing these poor creatures have made it to the dinner table at all. Isn’t it enough that I got them changed, fed them, entertained them and was able to keep them alive all day?!
Growing up dinner time with my family was always important. We sat down and ate as a family every night. That was always the way it was. As I got older no matter where we were, we needed to be home for dinner. I like that I was brought up this way. I too want to share dinner time with my family. I wasn’t prepared for the reality that it would be several years before I would actually enjoy it.
And now there is my youngest, sweet Wesley. Yes, the darling baby of mine who now finds it hysterical to throw food on the floor. The kid throws food like he is in a high school food fight in the cafeteria. Oh and my favorite; he has taken it upon himself to include the dogs in every meal he has, throwing food towards them. Don't even bother telling him "No". He will just erupt in giggles and continue. Not only am I pleading with a 1 year old to stop throwing food, I am yelling at the dogs to go lay down. If I take his food away then he screams like a Capuchin monkey. More of his food is worn than actually eaten. Worn on him, my walls, and the floor.
It’s been 7 minutes. I have hardly ate any of my dinner yet. I just want to eat my dinner!
I do not look forward to dinner time. It's 20 minutes of chaos. By the time it is all over I am exhausted. I look at the clock wishing for bedtime with the reality that we still have a couple more hours until then.
Some days at lunch I actually leave the dining room area when they eat. I don't go far, just sneak away to do dishes or some other chore. I stick close enough so I can hear choking of coarse, I am not that bad of a mom. Dinner time I would like to do the same thing. I have visions of running out the door and returning hours later long after dinner is done. I don't know where I would go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Rite Aid. Maybe the Dollar Store. Who cares right? I'm easy to please (unlike my children). How about sitting in a nice quiet coffee shop with a book. Hell, I would take a crowed bar and a stiff drink too.
I realize "this too shall pass". I dream of a day that we all can sit together and have a conversation at the table instead of talking over one another and wiping pasta out of the baby's hair. There will be a day when I am going to look back and miss them being so little. I will miss the messes, sticky fingers, and the laughter coming from Wes mouth as he throws food at the dogs. Until then, can I skip dinner please?!