Dinner is Served
For the last year, we’ve been doing family dinners. Josh used to get home very late, so either I would eat dinner with the kids, or I would sit with them while they ate and then wait to eat dinner with Josh. It was a rare occurrence to have a weeknight dinner together as a family.
But now he works much closer to home, and it has flipped: non-family dinners are now the rare exception. We sit down and have a proper-ish meal with a proper-ish conversation. It’s practically 1950 in our house, except that I don’t serve highballs before dinner or have Josh’s pipe packed with his favourite tobacco.
I don’t wear a frilly apron.
Everyone has a role to play. I am the cook. Josh is the cleaner. The ChickieNob is the reporter. The Wolvog is the police. I prepare a wholesome, nutritious meal (cough). Josh clears the table and washes the dishes. The ChickieNob not only tells us everything that happened in her day, but everything that happened in the lives of every other child in school. (Ever curious what happened in your child’s life? Come to dinner!) The Wolvog reminds us often that a topic is not “dinner table conversation.” I am the person who gets in trouble most often with the policeman.
We’ve been trying to use the family dinners to teach a little etiquette. For instance, when someone has made you a meal, it’s good form not to whine that you hate what they made. It’s also polite to not openly gag or to throw your body across the table before the meal is set in place and exclaim that you are going to just die if you have to eat something revolting (that you loved as recently as last week). It’s not polite to reach into the salad bowl and remove a crouton or a cucumber with your fingers. And yes, it still counts even if that crouton or cucumber was sticking up at an odd angle, practically begging you to snatch it. Of course, no phones or screens at the table.
We’ve also been trying to teach them to wait until everyone is seated before beginning the meal.
You know, baby steps.
It’s been interesting to flip our life like this and have one year of family meals under our belts. I’d like to keep it up from this point forward until they leave for college, though I have a feeling that we’ll be fighting a battle of schedules in the future. But for now… it works.
What is dinner like at your house? Most importantly, are their highballs and do you wear an apron?
Sidenote: go work on tomorrow’s #MicroblogMonday post.