It’s Dinnertime — Kill Me Now

by Abby on October 15, 2012

Miles eating pizza with goggles onHonestly, I don’t know why I even try. Probably because I read somewhere that families that sit down to dinner together regularly have fewer kids on drugs or on reality shows. In theory, and to people who don’t have small children, it sounds great: the whole family gathered ‘round the table enjoying a wholesome home-cooked meal. But in reality – or MY reality, anyway – it’s a little different.

I’m putting the finishing touches on the teriyaki-glazed tilapia, basting it with the sauce. “Mom, why are you painting food?” asks my 6yo. It’s actually not such a stretch because my kids do like fish, and they’re big fans of the Chinese restaurant we order from sometimes. But just in case, I reheat some mac & cheese on the side.

“I don’t LIKE this kind of mac & cheese!” wails my 3yo. I guess it’s not orange enough, or perhaps it’s that it’s not shaped like Spongebob. “Just eat the other stuff, then,” I tell him. He gobbles down the fish, but leaves the broccoli untouched. His brother polishes off his broccoli first, then pushes the fish around on his plate. He doesn’t touch the mac & cheese either. “I like the mac, but not the cheese,” he says. Of course.

The 3yo, who is physically incapable of sitting in a chair for longer than 30 seconds, jumps up from the table and begins sprinting around the house. “Come back and sit down!” I yell.

“M-o-o-om, I feel like I’m full,” whines the 6yo, who at breakfast can pack away 2 bowls of cereal, fruit, peanut butter on toast, and still say he’s hungry.

“Too bad, because I made Jello for dessert,” I tell him. He begins stuffing his cheeks with food, like a squirrel storing up nuts for winter. From the other room, Riley’s ear perk up. “Jello?” he calls hopefully. “Not until you finish your broccoli!” I shout.

They say music tames the savage beast, and on that note we’re listening to the smooth vocal stylings of Sade and Norah Jones on Pandora. “I don’t like this song,” huffs Miles. “Put on some rock music.” Anything ELSE anyone would like to complain about?! Also, he is now tipped back precariously on his chair, his filthy Hobbit feet ON the table. I would think he’d been raised in a barn if I hadn’t raised him myself.

If that’s not enough to make me lose my appetite, Riley calls to me mid-chew from the bathroom – which he ALWAYS does conveniently during meals – to come wipe him. Aaaand that’s a wrap. Dinner’s over.

gross-looking JelloAs I am dishing out the Jello, which I’ve cut into whimsical shapes with cookie cutters, I notice the dark purple gelatinous goo looks remarkably like entrails. Blood Jello, anyone? Perfect for Halloween.

My husband walks through the door to a reheated meal, kids who have stripped naked and are sprinting around in anticipation of bath time, and a wife who is slumped over the food-smeared table clutching a big ol’ glass of wine.

Family dinners may contribute to happy, non-drug-addicted children, but they are pushing this mom one step closer to rehab every night. At least I wouldn’t have to cook there.

RANDOM FACT O’ THE DAY: I have been making Jello not as a nod to my childhood, when my mother made all sorts of creative Jello-based salads, but because C. came home with 2 dozen boxes of the stuff taped to a gigantic vodka bottle from a Christmas gift swap at the office last year. I really should have made Jello shots with it.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali October 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Love the title; it made me eager to read your post on my lunch break using my android phone. Mealtime is my worst moment with my little 14mo. He’s such a critic and hides everything I feed him in his lap, as if I won’t figure it out once I remove the tray to his high chair and Voila! every bit of food smushed into the seat. sigh. But these are the stories and memories we will cherish once they’re grown, right?

But Abby, Nora Jones and Sade? Next time try Gangam Style by Psy – hehe.


Abby October 16, 2012 at 9:40 am

That’s just asking for a naked dance party, Ali. And we try to hold off on those till AFTER dinner!


emc October 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Story of my life. Every.Single. Night. Eating with children is torture. At least I get to eat my lunch alone when they have nap/rest time and it is all quiet!


neena October 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Oh, I sing this tune every evening.


Kathleen Basi October 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Ha! I hardly ever enjoy a meal anymore…this sounds so familiar!


Kathy at kissing the frog October 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

I haven’t had a hot meal in years. Also, you would think I’d be thinner with all the jumping up I do during meals rather than eating, but no, apparently that’s not how it works. I’m forwarding this to my husband just so he knows that other families experience chaos during dinner. 🙂


Abby October 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

“I haven’t had a hot meal in years.” Oh, that made me laugh. Ruefully, but still. 🙂


Malia Jacobson October 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

Yup, I hear ya! Either my 5yo non-eater is trying to wriggle her way out of eating a bite or my 2yo bottomless pit is stealing food off my plate and reaching into my salad bowl with grubby fingers. Usually both. And talking at the top of their lungs the entire time. Steve joked that we should bring our phones to the table so we could text each other during meals and at least be able to converse.


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