Mealtime. Family mealtime. The concept is truly an incredible one that I look forward to. That Stouffer’s Stuffing commercial family mealtime image of everyone laughing, passing around big wooden bowls of steaming stuff and the best part of the commercial?
The damn kids are actually eatting the freaking food!
There’s no bargaining, compromising on bites, dramatic Oscar worthy scenery chewing fake gagging or chocking on brocolli, just eating and laughing.
These commercials were clearly not made by those who have small children. Or maybe that’s the idea!
“This product is so good, it will magically turn your dinner table into the joy it was touted as and not the horror movie it actually is.”
I swear every meal with my kids feels like Andy and I are haggling for prices at some open air market in another country. At least we’re speaking the same language… I think?
“Two bites and you can have fruit snacks.”
“Deal.” I feel like we should each have our own lawyers banging out a contract in the back and then wheeling and dealing over it.
Dinner. There used to be a time when this is was relaxing. No longer. As I’m in the kitchen preparing whatever I’m hoping will end up inside of them, I’m also preparing my armor for the stress of the haggling and dealing.
I never thought that part of my job as a parent would be contract negotiations… three times a day.
And then there’s the horrible, horrible, rug pulling trick that these kids play on you where their palettes change at a moments notice.
Oh, Mom and Dad have every meal planned to perfection so that everything on the menu is something that I have already said I loved last week and even asked for seconds of? Screw ‘um, I’m going to scream my head off this week at the very thought of eating any of that.
There are two schools of thought on the mealtime fiasco, let ‘um go hungry or let ‘um eat PB and J. I have always gone with the latter. It seems even more scary to me that mealtime will be horrible and then my night will be horrible when empty bellied children wake at 2AM ravenous and angry.
I always have millions of movie quotes rattling around in my head on a daily basis. When it comes to mealtime, there’s always one that I threaten to pull the trigger on with my kids. It’s from the movie, “My Left Foot” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the incredible Christy Brown. During one scene, Christy Brown’s family, who is destitiute is sitting down to yet another meal of gruel. One son begins to complain about it and the overly gruff father yells,
“Get it in ya’!” When my kids start complaining about how many bites of penne pasta they need to eat, there’s a huge part of me that simply wants to yell,
“Get it in ya’!” But knowing my kids they probably would just laugh and ignore me.
The one thing that helps in this situation is to know that I’m not alone. I had started this blog a few days ago and then just today saw a post on Facebook from a friend with a child the same age as my son, haggling over bites and flavors.
Now, as I’m writing this I remember being six or seven and making myself nearly throw up over peas and meatloaf. We had the “no thank you” helping at my house, this was long before the “two bites club” of today.
But look at me now, I’ve eaten things with tentacles and spices I’ve never heard of and was actually excited to do it.
This is a season, a really, really long season. I have to keep hope in my heart that it is.
Now, excuse me because while I’m working on getting the food into my kids, I’m also trying to get my daughter to poop on the potty, which only leaves me wanting to yell,
“Get it outta’ ya’!”