Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Family table

So, those of you with kids between the ages of 2 and 12 and are lucky enough to have cable/satellite are probably familiar with Nickelodion. So, perhaps you have seen those "public announcements" about having dinner at least 3 nights a week as a family. It always kind of makes me mad and sad at the same time. Mad because, heck, I have been doing that with my husband, and then one and then two kids since 1995, and before that my own family almost always had dinner together. I can't understand how people wouldn't sit down for that one meal to eat together. Then sad, because I realize maybe many more people do eat separately, or in front of the TV and never talk to each other at a meal.

I can't imagine not doing that. I really like to get home and help Mr. Wild finish fixing something or help him get something started. If we can't stand the cooking, then we all go together to get something and bring it home or eat it out. I like my kids telling us things. They are never really profound, but it is nice.

Me: So how was school today?
Wild Child #1: Fine.

Me: Did you do anything interesting?
Wild Child #1: Not really.

Of course, you ask #2 a question and she can fill several minutes describing what Mrs. N taught them, how lunch was, who she played with at recess. But that's her, all verbal.

So, yesterday, Mr. Wild was picking on #1 and #1 was kind of pissed and he had reason to be, so he elbowed Mr. Wild. Mr. Wild knew he deserved it and kind of laughed.

But #2 says: "Wild Child #1, you're mean." Then she quickly adds, "But I still love you." And smiles a big huge grin. It was all out of the blue.

(Me, I turn my head and have a supressed giggle)

#2 says: "Ohhh, that was funny!" (see, because Mom giggled at her statement)

(Me, more supressed laughter at her powers of observations.)

Then, Mr. Wild and I were discussing something about being naughty or not being naughty. Apparently, we must have all turned our heads to #2 because she hollers: "Why do you guys always look at me?!"

Mr. Wild and I dropped our jaws and then fell into lame protests that we didn't do that. Personally, I didn't think we did it that often, but perhaps we do it more than we mean. It's just that she's a sneaky person, sneaking snacks, gum, candy. Sometimes she gets away with it, sometimes not.* So, perhaps we have developed the habit of looking at her.

No matter what, the dinner table has been a source of fun for our family. If you don't make the time to do it, I suggest you do. These are antics that won't be repeated again. Ever. So make hay while the sun shines and enjoy it for as long as you can. Pretty soon, it may only be Thanksgiving and Christmas when you have your family around you again at the dinner table.

*In the sometimes not category: One night, a night that Mr. Wild was out with his D&D buddies (which his does once a week), I could hear #2 moving around in her room when she was supposed to be sleeping. I went upstairs quickly and flipped on her light just as she jumps back into her bed. She makes a quick wipe of the mouth with the back of her hand. Suspicious I say, "What have you been doing?" "Nothing." Why did you wipe your mouth, did you get into the chapstick?" "No." "Let me smell your lips." I lean down and sniff, but it doesn't smell like anything strong. She wipes her mouth again. "WHAT have you been doing? Have you been eating something?" She shrinks herself into her covers, "No." "Wild Child #2 (this is where I would say her name with a threatening tone), tell me what you have been doing."

She climbs out of bed and pulls her open door shut a little. Behind the door is the box of ice cream. From the freezer. Only now it's a bit melty on her bedroom floor. Unbelieveable! (thinking it, not saying it). However, I am not relishing the fact that someday soon my mean angry voice will no longer be enough to get a confession out of her.


True Blue Texan said...

I had/have one of those kiddos. My youngest always seemed to be the one to get into trouble. And for a while she was really damn good at lying. I believe I too have heard the indignant phrase, "why do you always look at me?"

Let me give this (unsolicated) advice:
I subscribe to the belief that our relationships with our children are open ended. That whatever we may do or say that we regret, we can own up to, apologize for and try to do better.

When my kiddos were young I was certain I was going to ruin them and warp their little minds. So far neither has needed intensive therapy to fix my mistakes (they're 20 and 18) so I must have done something right. Though I'll be damned if I know exactly what it was.

Aliceson said...

I don't get those commercials either. The thought of not having family dinner EVERY night of the week has never occured to me. Even if I'm working, hubby makes a meal (in his own special way) and they all gather around the table, discuss the day, whatever. In our house it's routine. That's the thing, if you start any sort of ritual when kids are young they will adopt it.

The ice cream in the bedroom, too funny. I must say your wild child #2 is quite sneaky. I thought my little one was bad, but she certainly doesn't have the stealth for that kind of opperation. She usually pulls a stool over to the snack cabinet, grabs what she wants, then shoves it in her mouth before Mom notices. Usually when I'm selfishly taking a break and ignoring my children, also known as using the bathroom with the door shut.

Anonymous said...

My kids are 11 & 13, so now we're into a bunch of other stuff. But, I don't think anyone stored ice cream in the closet. She's a keeper!

Irish Gumbo said...

We try, oh, we try. And Wee Lass sticks with us until about halfway through a bowl of noodles or a quesadilla. Then she usually gives that big sigh and says "I drank some milk. Can get down now?"

Obviously mom and dad are the two most boring people on the face of the earth. Hard to compete with Spongebob and a Horton the Elephant doll!

Wild Child said...

IG: Take heart, our wee ones out grew that. But between 2 and 5 (or maybe 6, our five year old does a dance between staying seated at the table and getting distracted by toys, napkins, books, ideas) you can't expect them to sit for very long. We had patience and the habit grew on them until they could sit for 15 minutes without too much fuss. On the other hand, Mr. Wild jumps up from the table after he is done eating, which is usually about 15 minutes and starts doing STUFF, when I wish he would stay seated and chat with us all. And THAT drives me more crazy than anything else.