Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Show Mommy how a piggy eats... Show Mommy how a piggy eats!!!"

Our family dinners are a scene straight out of A Christmas Story, except there are twice as many sons, and an overly-dramatic daughter.  Oh, and I'm not in a freshly ironed dress, nor is Bert in a suit.  And he does actually get off his butt to help, unlike the portrayal of the Fathers from the 50's.

Each evening, around 6ish,  Bert and I form an assembly line to quickly dish out five dinners on brightly decorated plastic plates with separated compartments, so no foods EVER touch.  Typically, there's some type of vegetable that won't be eaten, and a main course that will inevitably make one of the five gag.  Questions start immediately, "Is this the meatloaf we had last time?  Remember, I HATED that kind of meatloaf?.... Momma, why did you put green beans on my plate?  Don't you remember that I'm allergic to green beans??.... Is this the chicken that makes me gag?.... Daddy, do you like this kind of chili?  Well, I don't, so why does Momma keep makin' it?.... Can I just have a roll and mac and cheese instead of all that yucky stuff??... Daddy, why do you only cook french toast and eggs?  Don't you know how to cook anything else? (Sometimes that question comes from Mommy too.)... I know there are starving kids who would love this dinner, so can I just send it to those kids instead??..." 

The little ingrates all have their own personal favorite dishes.  Unfortunately, with so many of them, and their ever-changing palettes, combined with the fact that they all look so much alike, I can't keep track of who will eat what.  Not to mention, Her Highness will absolutely LOVE a meal one night, and the next day swear it makes her sick to her stomach to even think about ingesting.  When it comes to dinner time, I can't win for losing.

Most days, picky eating is not a battle I'm willing to fight.  I refuse to become a short-order cook, so if after taste-testing, you truly hate what has been prepared, I'm happy to hand over the box of dry Cheerios and say have it at.  That is  your only alternative here.  Bert is more of a stickler than I am, and will try to force vegetables down the kids, and guilt trip them with stories of starving children and how hard their Momma worked to cook it, so they would indeed be eating it.  The battle of wills takes center stage, as all the pleasant partakers of dinner, still nibbling on their rolls and baked chicken, watch wide-eyed as Bert goes head to head with the most stubborn child of the evening... "You WILL try at least three BIG BITES of spinach before you get up from this table."  Mouth clinched shut, the stubborn child will boldly shake his/her head no, then bravely stare back at Bert to wait for his next move in this game of dinner-time chess.  The pleasant partakers wait eagerly, for these battles almost always result to their benefit.  "Fine, all the kids who ate their spinach get ice cream.... with chocolate syrup."  Bert will say, raising his eyebrows to the kids who are finishing their plates.  Sometimes the peer pressure works, and the stubborn child will cave.  Sometimes it doesn't and the show down continues.

Once in a blue moon, when the stars are aligned and the cards are all in my favor, I stumble upon a dinner recipe that all the children inhale, without any fuss.  And on those nights, Bert and I take turns hopping up from the table to serve seconds... and thirds.  Some nights, it's not until I'm dishing out a third helping of chicken and rice that I notice if all children are even present.  Occasionally, a poky little puppy will get left out in the backyard playing with the neighbor kids, and I'll have to holler, "Dinner time!!  And no, Matt can't eat with us tonight.  He needs to go home now."  And ever so often, it's not until round three of a dinner battle, or a third helping being served that I even notice if all children are fully clothed.....














Wanna join us for dinner soon??  The offer's always on the table.

7 comments:

brooke said...

Love this!! I can totally relate. You are such a good mommy! Every time I read your blog I can't help but smile or even laugh!

Meg said...

Oh Holly you are so talented. I just love the way you are able to tell your stories!! I just love to read what's been going on with your bunch!

The Hills said...

Well, we would fit right in! TJ could eat the same 3 dinners every night, and if that's not on his plate...I better bring a gag bag 'cause he's shoving at least 3 bites down no matter how long he has to sit there!

Jessica said...

I am so glad I'm not the only one who goes through this! You never can tell whose going to be eating and whether or not my son will have on clothes!:)

Lindy said...

BOL(busted out laughing), at your title from Christmas Story! Thanks again for another good laugh to start off my day! You are the best storyteller! Lightning is one of your biggest eaters so he probably didn't want to deal with unbuttoning his top button on his pants or risk getting anything on his clean shirt! ha!

JHughes said...

That's hilarious! My husband never cooks but when he does it is ALWAYS breakfast for dinner. So instead of being happy when he says "Hey, I'll cook dinner tonight," I have to put on a fake smile and say thank you honey.

LucisMomma said...

ha! That is funny. What, no kid in a pink bunny suit? Christmas Story is a favorite around here.

We just have 2 boys and one girl-- and it's our girl who is never fully clothed. Go figure.

your cousin,
Susan Bryan Willingham (up north in Lauderdale County AL)