Warning. You have just entered a venting zone
I hate mealtimes in our house. Dinner mostly and in a descending order all the way down to breakfast which admittedly isn’t all that bad.
Before I go any further with my complaints, let me just put it out there that I take responsibility for the lack of training and poor food discipline my children have. BUT…
D isn’t home for dinner during the week….he gets home anywhere from 5:45 (absolute earliest) to 6:45pm. The kids are usually hungry around 5pm, so I have dinner ready then and I usually eat with them sometime between 5 and 5:30pm. But, oh how I long for quiet child free dinners. I am so tired of the mess. I find managing the three of them for a meal overwhelming. It’s a bit better when D’s home for dinner.
My children are particularly fidgetty at the table and find it hard to stay on their chairs. At least twice every meal I have to remind one if not both of them to not stand on their chairs. One night as a joke (kind of) I took a couple of large strips of velcro and strapped them to their chairs. They thought it was hilarious to have a seat belt at the table.
The baby often shouts his way through dinner and still hasn’t mastered feeding himself particularly well, so unless I want to have more food on the carpet than in his tummy, he requires almost constant attention. Until recently when he’d finished he would hurl the bowl over the side of his high chair regardless of what was left inside it.
They are also messy eaters. I can’t remember the last time we got through dinner without food or water being spilled on the table and/or the floor. I usually have to vacuum the floor afterwards, particularly after rice. (Which I tend to leave for at least a couple of hours – preferably a day or so, and vacuum up when it’s dry and crunchy again. Believe me, I know all about vacuuming food scraps. Dried weet-bix tends to stick to the carpet quite badly incidentally).
I hardly see a completely empty bowl in a week, unless it contained ice cream. They are fussy. The girl doesn’t like anything remotely spicy (even plain sausages are spicy for her, and tomato sauce has her asking for water to drink). The boy doesn’t like vegetables. The girl doesn’t like meat. Reminds me of Jack Sprat and his wife.
Tonights meal of Beef Casserole and Rice. These are the leftovers of the three children.
I’ve tried not to pander too much to their fussiness, thinking that if I just serve up what ever I plan for the family’s dinner, that’s what they should eat. I appreciate there are the odd things a person has a genuine aversion to, but generally I reckon they should eat what they are given. Our meals a pretty child friendly most of the time anyway. Simply prepared foods. But this isn’t working because if it’s something they don’t like they just don’t eat it. Which in one way is their problem, but is quite demoralising for me. Honestly, what’s the point? Maybe they should just have cheese sandwiches 5 nights a week. Oh, wait, then they don’t eat their crusts and the boy really doesn’t eat sandwiches either.
And….I know this is a big part of my problem…… I give them ice cream for desert sometimes whether or not they’ve finished their food. I’m just a sucker really. I know my problem is because I’m always too lenient with them regarding food.
Help! I so dislike eating with them that I try to get the whole experience over with as fast as possible. Oh, and then no one helps clean up. I’m left with the mess and usually feel so depressed by the whole experience that I run away and hide (and write a long whingy blog post about it while the mess sits there alone in the kitchen and the kids dance to the radio in the lounge).
The problem is I really think family mealtimes are important and precious, especially as the children get older. It would be nice if we could actually have opportunity to talk. I know it should/could be better. How can I fix this? I probably know what you’re all going to say, but say it anyway. It might help to get my head straight, and give me the resolve to change something. (That was a cry for help by the way, so let the comments roll.)