Dinner time at my house has turned into a series of long-distance eating races. It consists of playing, followed by songs and/or bad jokes and is finished up by several rounds of bargaining. This is usually accomplished without break and in that order.
The playing starts as we push the girls towards the table. A table which I’m starting to suspect was made out of kryptonite. Because the moment their chairs stop moving they’re both reduced to fingerless amoebas physically unable to hold a utensil. Suddenly these professional snackers need to be fed in order for the food to make it successfully to their mouths without first detouring all over their chairs and/or faces.
This leg of the race comes to a close as either my husband or I point out that their feet don’t belong on the table and that they’ll fall on the floor if they continue to stretch their hands beneath their chairs. And we reserve the right to laugh at them should this occur.
The second part of the race, when they’re forced to start moving food from their plates into their person, is usually when they break into song.
TWO’s verbal shorthand sounds like, “Mama-abablablablaabablablabla-Mama!” I like to think that she’s singing a Homeric tale of my cooking prowess.
ONE leaves no room for interpretation: “Cous Cous are not my favorite. Sometimes I eat them, but not today…”
If ONE is feeling particularly inspired, by say, spaghetti or something else she deems edible, she’ll break into free verse joking.
ONE: How did the plate get on top of the other plate?
ME (sighing): How?
ONE: By using its tongue twister!
ONE: Then aren’t you supposed to laugh?
After a few forced bites, they bring bargaining to the table. ONE will sit and play with her food until everyone else is done eating and then start with the, “If you sit with me instead of cleaning I promise I’ll eat all my dinner…well, can I play my computer then? You know I eat better when I’m playing the spelling game. Or how about coloring? Crafts?”
TWO waits until all eyes are on her sister and then bargains with her hands. Since she’s still completely uninterested in a counter-offer, if I don’t catch her, her plate will fall on the floor. Right next to the dog.
Winning is clearly not the objective of this race, as ONE is very eager to help her sister. “Want me to feed you, TWO? Want me to help get the food to your mouth?” Apparently the air around the kryptonite table is a word vortex, because my suggestion to “eat-by-example” is always ignored.
The Ironman Trieatathon is a grueling event that pushes the parents of its participants to the limits of endurance. It’s also a great tool in forcing said parents to make dinner reservations and book a babysitter. Because unless they do, the closest they’ll come to tasting and/or enjoying a meal will be smelling the food while it cooks.
©2009 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED