Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dinner tonight (for Aimee, who needs an extra post)

I remember how Greg and I used to eat, years ago. We both have a passion for food and cooking, and recipes were carefully chosen, prepared together, and eaten with a critical yet appreciative palate. We always ate by candlelight, usually in the dark because it had gotten so late, and we would regale each other with stories of that day's trials, comedies, and events.
Tonight, I returned home from tutoring to find my family seated around our beautiful cherry and maple dining table. The candle was lit, the plates were full. My salad and water were crisp and untouched, and my bowl of the casserole I had prepared in advance was steaming, waiting for me.

Other than that, it was a zoo.

The kids were, as usual, full of beans, love, songs, and jokes. Dinner (and lunch and breakfast) is usually punctuated with singing, and arguing about who is going to sing at what time. So we start with this:
Aoife: I yike to rise when the sun she rises...
Liam: (joins in) Early in the morning....
Aoife: I want to sing a so-yo! I want to sing a so-yo! (this is aoife-ese for solo, in case you are having trouble deciphering)
Liam: (keeps singing) No, it's my solo now, I like to hear them small birds singing...
Aoife: Merrily among their yey-yem
Liam: No! It's my solo now!
Me: Could we maybe do a duet? I'd love to hear a duet....

I love to have the singing at the table. It gives this jolly air, I love to hear the kids singing together, and I love to encourage their musical sides. It makes me smile every time, even with the arguing about so-yos.

Tonight, we were pretending to be various kinds of dinosaurs to encourage eating:
Liam: I'm a T-rex! (gobbles food, growling)
Aoife: I'm a... I'm a... (having trouble thinking of something else)
Me: Are you an oviraptor? (we're eating eggs)
Aoife: I'm an oviraptor!
Greg: Do you like to eat eggs?
Aoife: I'm a chicken! I'm a chicken and I eat eggs! I'm a yittle chicken! And you're a T-rex! Roar!
I'm a yittle chicken and you're a big chicken! We're chickens?

It's not really the same as the candlelit evenings, is it? The beautiful chaos and loud singing and coercing to eat and trying to squeak just one more bite out of each child before they dismount, headed to look quietly at books or work at the art table until bathtime begins...
But I love it so much. So, so much. And in the meantime? We're all eating together. My kids sing loudly, but they have napkins on their laps, they use silverware, and we do use pleases and thank yous and please-pass-thes. So it's really, truly, civilized dinner at its best.


Aimee said...


Jess said...

I just love reading your blog and how you describe your sweet, precious family. You should double-post more often!

stephanie said...

what a lovely scene you have painted! it all sounds wonderful.