Dinnertime

And the living ain’t easy. I don’t want to give up I think as I’m punching the air in the pantry. I’ve come to hide to take several deep breaths instead of throwing a tantrum myself at my longing for one peaceful dinner.

One peaceful dinner where the baby doesn’t throw his spoon on the floor with a giggle, twenty times. One peaceful dinner where my toddler sits at the table and eats. One peaceful dinner where I’m not lecturing the six year old on the value of eating meat and vegetables. One peaceful dinner where we chat, dissect our day, eat our meal. Imagine, all of us eating and enjoying our meal. And by one peaceful dinner I mean, one whole mealtime from lift of fork to final quiet burp without a spillage, a tantrum, a sigh or a complaint. Just one.

Let’s face it, it would be easier to put on the TV, put them in front of it, chat to the husband and let them eat whatever. But I won’t give up!

Now for the science bit.

Research says. Research says. Obesity. Research. You can skip this bit if you want. High achievers. Dinner together. The experts say. Research on diabetes asserts. Obesity. Family bonding. More research. Seriously, how are we supposed to digest?

Look, I’m not looking for Walton like family meals, ha ha happy nudging and joshing each other. I just want a peaceful enough dinner. Does it happen? Will they reach a reasonable age where it just clicks. I’m not looking to hear a hearty laugh as they pass the potatoes, just one meal where we don’t look like one of the bad families from Nanny 911 or what have you.

I can see her now, the Nanny Lady. Anne, your mealtimes are just crazy. You’ve got to get this together, you can do this. Now, this is the naughty step, come to eye level with them and explain and that is where I lose her. Put them on the naughty step at dinner, I’m hungry. Eye level, I’m hungry. Explain? I’m hungry Nanny. And the question on everyones lips is ‘Does Nanny 911 actually have kids?’ Just saying.

What makes the whole situation worse in a farmhouse, is that we often have another man who works on the farm joining us at mealtimes. He’s a part of the furniture around here, we consider him a friend but it is not easy trying to discipline your children in front of someone else. It often makes the situation more fraught. There we are, trying to make idle chat about the weather, grass and greyhounds (don’t ask) while simultaneously trying to get food into three young boys. Honestly. Why haven’t I been canonized? And you know, that they will be worse because they think they will get away with more. Sometimes, I think If he could pick up his plate and go off and eat alone, I think he would. I would. Poor man. Poor us.

I know I can say this to you. I know if you have children under seven, no, eight even, that they can be hard work at dinner times. I know you won’t judge me.  If they’re not, knock yourself out, feel as smug as you like, but please, for the love of God, just don’t call Nanny 911, I promise I’ll eat all my dinner.

10 thoughts on “Dinnertime

  1. Life on Hushabye Farm

    Oh Anne, I feel your pain. This is what breaks me, what pushes me to the limit. I dream of that day, I can see it, just out of reach, our 8 and 7 yr old have crossed the bridge but we are still held hostage by the 5 and three year old. The day will come…it just has to!

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  2. this abundant life

    We have always made it a priority to have family dinners together with our boys (ages 6 and 9). However, some nights it’s a lot of work. It would be far easier to put them in front of the television with some food, but I think there are real benefits to eating together- hard work and all.

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  3. Lorna

    it will pass – I promise!

    Know what you mean re having someone else at the table, even if it is someone you know well. I was getting on to Brian to get someone in to help him out a bit and he was saying he could get the contractors in but … and I ended up with an even bigger ‘but’ cos I’d have to spend extra time cooking a ‘nice’ dinner or tea, extra time chatting to them – I might as well go out and do the work myself. Have to admit I like dinners to be just the four of us, esp those times when they were under 7!

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    1. annebennettbrosnan Post author

      Isn’t it funny Lorna! Yep, dinner plus one can be just a big deal, I find I have to serve up (and this sounds bad) the real Irish-y dinners those days, no hot curries or stir frys or makey up dinners from the bottom of the fridge! Not easy this farming crack is it?

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      1. Lorna

        Oh gosh, yes, they only eat traditional , that’s a given! Mind you, I had a contractor arrive just in time for dinner once and he ate the vegetable lasagne without complaint!!

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  4. Lynda Sheehan

    I have to say, this really struck a cord with me – I had read this while making dinner for the family – and burst out laughing during dinner – there are 3 boys, 6, 4, 3 and one girl who is soon to be 2 – so my dinner that evening was, trying to coax 3 yr old to eat some dinner, any of it would have been nice – the 6 yr old to stop putting ketchup on everything and the 4 yr old to stop talking long enough so that he could eat. As for herself – she was hands into everything, not a spoon in sight!! I too long for the day that it will get easier and we can actually talk about their day – normally when asked about school, all I get is “I don’t remember!”

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