Family dinners to me, mean taking just a little bit of time out of your day and spending it with those you love most to see how their day went. It means connecting, communicating, laughter and joy. At least that is the fantasy. This is what it's really like. I'll use tonight's family dinner as an example:
Ashe and J woke up this morning sick and Soren still is on antibiotics for his ear infection and conjunctivitis. So at dinner time I had one cranky baby, one boy who is snotty nosed and wiping his face with his arm, the only other adult in the picture is zoning out watching the steam rise from his ravioli as Im trying to talk to him about his day, and one child whose ADHD meds are noticeably wearing off, bouncing in his seat coughing HACK HACK HACK while barely covering his mouth.
I take Soren into my arms so J can actually have a few bites of warm dinner only to have him grab my plate and douse himself in tomato sauce. I beg J to grab a towel and he just sits there and says "You didn't get up last night to get me a cloth when he spit up on me...oh it's sauce, not spit up... ok" and lumbers off to find a towel. Meanwhile Ashe is refusing to eat his meal and only wants a juice box, while Xavier is nattering away bouncing in his seat. HACK HACK HACK
I get Soren cleaned up and try to finagle a bite of dinner into Ashes mouth where he turns his head, wipes his snotty nose on his arm then turns back to me and yells "DELICIOUS" over and over again, trying to get me to sing back "Delightful" a la Upside Down show (good show by the way). I refuse until he takes a bite of ravioli. J is staring off into space again while Xavier is loudly talking about how come Ashe doesn't have to eat his dinner but he has to eat all of his? HACK HACK HACK
Soren starts fussing, Xavier finishes his meal by stuffing the last 4 raviolis in his mouth (at the same time) then tries to ask if he can have dessert with his mouth full. Ashe then whines he wants dessert too (and bubblegum medicine cause MOMMY I SICK) and cries when I tell him he has to eat his dinner first before he can have dessert. Xavier saunters off to the kitchen, trying to unsuccessfully gloat at Ashe without getting caught. J is still zoned out staring at his plate. From the kitchen I hear HACK HACK HACK.
Xavier comes back from the kitchen with Italian Ice and smirks while Ashe is now sobbing for Italian Ice too, but refuses to eat a bite of ravioli. Xavier starts yelling over the table "THEN EAT YOUR DINNER GOOBER" to which Ashe screams in indignation. Soren is still fussing in my arms and I'm trying to shovel down my now cold dinner just to escape. J is in lala land. HACK HACK HACK ("FOR CRYING OUT LOUD WILL YOU PLEASE STOP COUGHING ON THE TABLE?!?!?!?!?")
I look over at J and mouth "I want a vacation!!!!". J finally glances up and says why?
"Cause I want some quiet." Ashe is now singing Rhett and Links Space Trash song and Xavier leans over the table and yells "QUIET ASHE, MOM WANTS QUIET".... thanks kid. HACK HACK HACK.
And thus our family dinner for the night comes to a close as Ashe leaps off his chair, whining for a baby wipe so I can wipe his nose, Xavier puts his plate in the sink and starts his homework, J takes his last bite of ravioli and I stand up to bounce on my toes trying to stop Sorens wails. We all depart from our dining room and go our separate ways. Myself? I push Soren into Js arms and step out on to the porch and shut the door for just a little peace and quiet before I go back in to utter chaos and lose my mind.