When Lucy turned about 18 months old, we realized that we could (should) probably all have dinner together instead of feeding her whatever “kid” meal she was eating and us ordering out from whatever restaurant after she was sufficiently bathed, read to and sleeping soundly.
And so we started the family dinners. In this day and age where everyone is so busy (I mean seriously how many times do you ask someone how they are and they respond with, “good, but so busy!” I get it! We are all busy!), it’s been a nice routine for us to sit down and eat dinner as a family.
With Rocky, he never got kid-centric meals. From just about the beginning of him eating real food, we would put what we were having into the food processor, dump it on his high chair tray and let him have at it. He tends to be a better eater than Lucy and I don’t know if it’s due to that exposure to more food or just his natural need for more food (“I need a snack” is a common phrase from his mouth). He also tends to spend a lot of time with Jason in the kitchen cooking the food and so maybe the helping to prep it makes him more excited to eat it? I don’t know but he’s always ready to try new things on his plate.
We do have a few rules at dinner time. The main one is, “The next meal is breakfast” (How many times did I hear that as a child?). We don’t make them their own meal; what’s for dinner is what’s for dinner. However, as with anything in parenting or life, we can’t do it 100% of the time. Friday is pizza and movie night and Saturday tends to be a free for all; sometimes we eat together and sometimes they get peanut butter sandwiches and we order out from the Thai place.
But during the week we are consistently sitting down between 6 and 6:30 and eating together.
And then it happens. Every night.
Rocky says, “How’s your day Mommy?” and goes around the table asking the question to everyone sitting down. “How’s your day Daddy? How’s your day Lucy?” We all respond and ask him how his day was. The funny thing is, whenever Rocky notices that we are all eating dinner – even if not at the table – he asks his question. Last night we had dinner at a friend’s house and as he was finishing up some mac and cheese (my favorite part here is that he kept saying “he didn’t like it” while wolfing down bite after bite…I don’t think you know the meaning of that phrase kid), he looked at me standing in the kitchen eating and said, “How’s your day mommy?”
In my head going forward with three kids, dinner time is just going to get louder and crazier. It’s not about Jason and I chatting to each other with an adult conversation (although we do try to do that and inevitably we end up yelling at each other…not in anger just in volume….), it’s about asking all the people at the table how their day was. Because while they are little, they are people too. They have a voice and feelings about their day.
We are lucky because our work schedules allow us to have this time together. As time moves forward and kids become more involved in activities, I know this family dinner time will change, but I hope not soon and I hope we can always keep some routine of a 6pm dinner time. Something we can all look forward to.
Because I always want to answer the question, “How’s your day mommy?”.