Before you have your baby you're like:
Of course we're going to sit down at the table as a family for a home-cooked dinner every night. What is life for if not to use gold charger plates and cloth linens at every meal?
Studies always show that the number one cause of sociopathy is not enough family dinners.
And I read Bringing Up Bebe, okay? I know that the only way for my kid to be French (and French = everything) is to make sure that he eats the same food I do - no chicken nuggets or cheese quesadillas in this house! We will sit for an hour every night and eat a four-course meal ending in a wedge of bleu cheese for dessert just like they do in the creche.
Plus, family dinner will really help me and Ryan stay close and connected.
Darling, won't you please tell me a complex, uninterrupted 25-minute-long story about an article you read in the Economist, while our children sit quietly and absorb an advanced understanding of the role of the ruble in international finance?
What a special time for our family to come together. We will break bread as a unit, talk about the day's accomplishments and challenges, love and support and truly, deeply know each other.
IT WILL BE MAGIC.
And then you have the baby. And it is magic.
HOW? I ask you, HOW can a family of four use TWELVE SPOONS for a single meal?
There can be only one answer, and that answer is the devil wants us to always be out of fucking spoons.
|Two spoons and a fork.|
And dinner was A SANDWICH.
Actual conversation in our house:
Me: Where are the spoons?
Ryan: We used them.
Me: ALL of them?
Me: The spoon slot is totally empty.
Ryan: Oh. I know.
It's not like that dream of family dinner is immediately shattered like so many of your nice wine glasses. It's just chipped away, bit by bit.
You eat pizza on the couch while breastfeeding your newborn and you think, well shit, not YET. He's practically still covered in birth goo. Family dinner can wait until he can sit up on his own.
A few months later you're starting him on solids but he only wants to eat literally every minute of the day that is NOT an adult mealtime, so you and your husband eat spaghetti in front of the TV because you CAN, dammit.
Then you go and get yourself knocked up again, and you really don't need to have family dinners every night because you're pregnant for God's sake so just give me the milkshake and get the hell out.
And one day you wake up with an almost 3-year-old and an almost 1-year-old, and those nourishing, adult dinners have turned into... well... it's not sol meuniere and bleu cheese, that's for sure.
It's, like, some diced tomato... and a deflated pouch... and some yellow crap... and a brown... thing...
... and Cheerios... and... is that a piece of pineapple in a red plastic bag? What am I even looking at here?
It's Buster's used diaper, left in the high chair because he won't wear a bib, but even if he did wear a bib that wouldn't solve the problem of him cramming the stainiest, greasiest bits of whatever we feed him all the way down into his lap and rubbing those stainy greasy hunks of nasty all up in his jeans. The good Lord has yet to make enough Shout spray.
And that fantasy you had about a pleasant, uninterrupted conversation with your spouse? The chance to reconnect after a long day apart?
Try this on for size:
Me: How was your day, Ryan?
Chicken: I DON'T LIKE THIS.
Me: It's chips, Chicken. I gave you chips for dinner because I know for sure you will eat them.
Ryan: My day was okay--
Chicken: I HATE CHIPS!
Me: Are you having some feelings about chips, Chicken? What kind of feelings? Are you feeling--
Buster: GAH! GAH! GAH! GAH!
Me: -- frustrated. Or mad? Mad about your chips?
Ryan: I had a lot of meetings, so I definitely left the office feeling--
Me: RYAN CAN YOU JUST WAIT PLEASE WHILE I RESOLVE THE CHIP ISSUE. And Buster just asked for more cheese.
Ryan: What? When?
Me: JUST NOW. Didn't you hear him?
Chicken: I NEED CHEESE!
Me: OK, baby. Orange cheese or white cheese?
Chicken: NO JUST CHIPS!
Me: Well you already have chips. Do you want some cheese with your chips?
Buster: GAH! GAH!
Me: RYAN! Buster's cheese! Please!
Ryan: Where's Buster's cheese?
Me: USE YOUR EYES AND LOOK FOR IT.
Chicken: Probly in his diaper.
Ryan: Oh, yep. There it is.
They are a time for connecting with your family.
Nourishing your loved ones.
Saying "you can't have ice cream until you finish your chips."
Digging warm cheese out of your baby's thigh folds.
And oh yeah, using a different spoon for every bite.
Because this is America.
Because we can.