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Family Dinner or Dante’s Inferno?

#tbt — from April 2014


Family Dinner.

What does that phrase bring to mind?

Maybe something like this?

Family_Meal
Could we BE any happier? Look how eager we are to eat!

Or this?

family-dinnertime
Look how attentive we are! No, no, brother, finish what you were saying. We’ll wait.

Think again, people.  ‘Cause family dinner at our house this past week has been more like the 9 circles of hell than any Brady Bunch picture you’ve conjured up.

Let’s look at last night, for example.   I spent about about 45 minutes making our meal.  Carrot coconut soup and cornbread.   Knowing that there would be objections from the ingrates children if it was too spicy, I went easy on the ginger in our soup.  I also took great care to be sure there were NO EXTRA BITS when I pureed it.   Corn bread is always an easy win so honestly, I thought we were home free.

I mean, come on.  The veggies are hidden IN the soup.  And cornbread!   No cajoling to try a few more bites.  No whining, no problems.  Really, I did us all a solid by being so clever.

We took our seats.  Isaiah immediately started helping himself to some butter.  He had divided his cornbread into 3 pieces and wanted to make sure that each piece had butter on it.  Understandable.  I get that.   But the glob of butter he scooped off was the size of a clementine so we told him, “No more butter, Bup.  You’ll have to spread that around onto all three pieces, ok?”

He spread the golfball-sized butter ball onto just one piece and handily reached for more.  I told him, “No, sorry, that’s all the butter for tonight,” and I reached across the table for the butter knife.  Hysterical crying ensued.  I explained again that he already had plenty of butter and showed him how to scrape some of it off so that he could use it for his other pieces of cornbread.  I stealthily passed the butter knife over to Jason while I did this.

At that exact moment, whilst Isaiah was still weepy over the loss of the butter knife and I was trying to talk him down, Gryffin started crying.  Apparently he wanted me to pass the butter knife to him.  Obviously.   Jason was looking like his head might explode so I explained to Gryffin through clenched teeth that next time he could just TELL me that he would like a turn with the butter knife.

Moving right along.  Time to pray for our meal.  We were off to great start.

As soon as I said amen, Isaiah declared that he doesn’t like cornbread anymore and Gryffin spilled his milk on over the floor.  Jason informed Isaiah that there were no other options for dinner and since I didn’t want to eat anyway, I cleaned up the spilled milk.

Feeling like we needed fresh horses, I decided that this was a good time to announce that I had made dessert!  A rhubarb crisp!   I’ll take my Mother of the Year award now, thanks.  All you need to do is eat your scanty serving of soup and it’s all yours, sweet ones.  Gryffin took on a determined air and gamely started sipping on his soup. Each bite came with the requisite grimace and quick sip of milk but he didn’t complain so we turned a blind eye to his passive aggressive reaction to the apparently disgusting soup I had made.

Isaiah, on the other hand, started crying.  Again.  “But I don’t (gulp for air) liiiiiiike my soup.  It’s yuuuuucky.  I (gulp for air) want deeeessseeerrrttttt.  This soup is (gulp for air) yuuuuucky.”

Jason pointed out to Isaiah that he hadn’t even tried it yet.  Which only fueled further weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Gryffin, meanwhile, spilled a DROP of soup onto his shirt and decided that he would start crying again as well.  And then insisted on a wardrobe change.

Jason and I just stared at each other blankly for a few seconds before slowly returning to our own food.

Freshly donned in a new shirt, Gryffin finally managed to gulp down the last of his soup so I served him some dessert.  We lauded him with praise and admiration.  Good job!   Wow!  What an adventurous eater you are!  He took one TINY bite of the crisp before he announced, “I don’t LIKE this!  And I’m never having dessert AGAIN!”  and he stomped off to the living room.  Awesome.

Isaiah was still crying.

At this point Jason looked so dejected that I thought he might start crying.  We stared at our plates.  When we finally looked up, we discovered that Isaiah had surreptitiously moved over to brother’s chair and was quietly gobbling up the rhubarb crisp as fast as he could go.   We knew then that we had lost.  We surrendered.  We threw in the towel, waved our white flags and just watched him eat his little heart out.   Tonight, though?  Come hell or high water, tonight we’re getting take-out.


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