I know that family meals are important. I know that it is a ritual that will hopefully be a source of bonding for our family in the years to come. But can I just say? At the moment, they kind of suck.
My kids are 6, 4, 4, and 2. Right now a typically family meal involves Karis trying to climb out of her chair and onto the table about 5 times, Karis throwing any food she doesn’t like across the room, Karis screaming because she wants a “big girl cup” and then spilling her “big girl cup” all over the table, and then Karis playing a game of Drop The Fork And Scream. But the toddler is not the only one to be blamed for the mealtime misery. At any given meal, it’s also likely the Kembe and Jafta are kicking each other under the table. India is probably crying, LOUDLY, because a vegetable was placed on her plate. Jafta is probably overstuffing his mouth like he’s a contestant on Survivor. Kembe is likely bouncing in his chair and chewing with his mouth wide open.
And Mark and I are likely looking at each other from across the table, rolling our eyes and reaching for a glass of wine before we send someone to their room for misbehavior or threaten to take a star away for lack of table manners.
Remember the mealtime scene from The Miracle Worker? It feels a little bit like that. Only there are four of them.
Maybe someone wants to do an “It Gets Better” youtube campaign for family meals. Families further along the road can record reassuring messages, telling me that it won’t always be this bad. That someday, this will actually be tolerable. Enjoyable, even.
Until then, we will be plodding along, trying to civilize this band of pirates.
(There is one sweet moment of our meal, which is when the kids pray. I actually brought my camera to the table the other day to try to capture it on the sly, because it’s just so cute. I guess I wasn’t so subtle with my videotaping, as Jafta informs me).