"We should have a dinner party!"


My husband laughs so loudly that my son stops what he has been doing. What he was doing was everything but eating his dinner. The table is now full of varying types of vehicles. Cars, tractors, monster trucks and aeroplanes.  It has just been one of those meals where he has decided he doesn't like any of the food he has been offered. 


The baby is shocked by the loud laughing and looks at me quizzically.  Since week two he has developed a well-tuned connection with dinner time. Regardless of when he has last been fed, the minute the plate hits the table, he cries. This cry is now fondly called the "boobie cry" by my toddler. If I get to eat, he gets to eat. 


My dinner time now usually consists of nursing the baby while trying to cajole my two-year-old into eating his sweet potato. Conversation centres around the names of "Hot Wheels". I get up and down approximately ten times; to get another plate, wind the baby, get another drink, put my dinner in the microwave etc. When I do get to eat, I shovel my food with one hand. Carefully trying to perfect balancing my food on the fork. I have missed my mouth on occasion and recently can boast to having nearly as much food on the floor as my toddler. 


Dinner parties are a long way in the past and the future for us. I do think that if we ever get back to that stage I will have to attend some form of social etiquette class to stop me leaving the table, making robots out of the food and asking the guests if they need to pee. While it will be nice to once again talk about current affairs or Netflix addictions; I do wonder will I find it all a bit contrived. There is no more honest an experience than a family sitting to "enjoy" dinner together. To hear a two-year-old describe a (slightly) burnt carrot as delicious is the best feedback a "chef" could ever wish for! 


What sort of madness happens at your dinner table?

Michelle Greaves: mum of two boys, writer, photographer, traveller, secondary school teacher.

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