I don't get it. Who are these kids who are brought closer to their families, perform better in school, get into less trouble, succeed in life, because of family dinners together? More to the point, who are the parents who didn't run from the dining room screaming?
Not ours. And not us.
"What is it again they're supposed to get out of this?" Dave asked me dejectedly this evening, during a momentary break in the din of bathroom-talk chanting, banging silverware on glasses, showing of chewed food, bursts of shrieking laughter, hooting sounds. Dave and I exchanging more than a few hastily shouted words, let alone any meaningful information, is completely out of the question. Bonding, enjoying, sharing....? How? Where? Who?
And this is when the boys are being good! Where "good" is defined as "just barely within clear limits we've stated." After all, we're not telling them not to talk at all. Repeating themselves isn't against the rules. Laughing is OK, and handling utensils is fine. Saying "I'm pooped" or "peel the fruit" is OK. But any of those things taken to an extreme turns into obnoxious chanting, banging, shouting and bathroom talk. They constantly look for the zone in which it's just on the edge of being allowed.
It's sad that the supposed glue of family dinner together should unravel an otherwise very pleasant day today.
Julian once again had a fabulous time at daycamp. He gave all the counselors a hug goodbye, and cheerfully said hello or asked questions of anyone we passed. It's starting to make me feel guilty: he needs a larger social outlet than Tonya's.
Today at daycamp, Julian made smoothies, and he told me all about it on the drive home. So, having some bananas and strawberries that were a smidge too ripe for eating directly, we made some smoothies together at home.
I really like making things in the kitchen with the boys, though I haven't done it with Julian alone very much. Julian loved it, talking on and on about how much help he was being, that he was doing his job. Of course, he loved the smoothie he made!
This was made possible by Katrina's rapidly expanding finger-food repertoire. Today she ate the better part of her lunch herself: half a soynut-butter sandwich, bit by bit. She also loves pieces of bagel (with and without cream cheese) and corn cakes, and now, Puffins. She's also getting good at handling a sippy-cup and drinking water from it, which she LOVES.
Today we talked to Grandpa Jim on the phone, and when Katrina got grumpy, I put Grandpa Jim on speaker. He whistled her an Irish tune, and she perked up happily right away!
I'm glad I caught this special moment on crummy-camera video. Grandpa Jim has only met Katrina once, when she was 3 months old, but he fell instantly, and permanently, in love with her.
Ah, seeing that melts away the sting from dinner. It really was a nice day.