where Rage Against the Minivan schools me on mealtime rules
As much as I love me some Howerton family – this article went whizzing right over my head. Granted, my kids are younger than hers – but still we are so not at the stage of asking someone to pass the bread. One of her rules is chewing with your mouth closed. Around here we are just hoping for chewing. She wants her kids to use utensils. We just want them to put food into their mouths.
So for those of you whose family dinners are a little more rough around the edges, let me reassure you – you are probably doing better than us at the moment.
I’ll start by saying our kids are not dinner people. They eat far better at breakfast, lunch, and snack. Dinner seems to just be topping off before bedtime for them. So dinner is their low of lows in attitude and pickiness.
Kids should eat what you are eating – I get that. I also get that mine don’t sleep through the night if they are hungry and I’d rather not fight about food especially at dinner. Thus we humor their food tendencies which at the moment are extremely narrow. Radish eats pancakes or cold pizza for dinner. That. Is. It. Nothing else. And NO she will not try anything else. No food will grace her lips unless it is one of those two things. Pepper is more flexible – she will entertain a variety of foods in the comfort food realm – however lord help you if the macaroni and cheese is yellow on the box and turns out white when prepared. Back to Nature brand – I’m talking to you. None of this false advertising nonsense in our house. Nothing brings out the autism more than white mac and cheese that was yellow on the box. And don’t even try to make it homemade – just don’t go there.
Kristen’s kids sit on their butts during the meal. With Pepper, our rule is that you have to be within a 3 foot range of your spot at the table. That child is on the move. And if she actually sits at the table, she is liable to fall out of her chair at any moment. (her spatial awareness of her body is a wonder.) Radish gets into her chair and gets down to business. Get this eating crap over so she can get on with her life. I feel you Radish.
Our family dinners are less than ideal, but I will give us this – occasionally they will sit at the table and have a conversation. Occasionally they will ask for seconds. Occasionally I’ll feed them early and put on Frozen so Hotstuff and I can eat at the table in a civilized manner and tell funny stories about them in between discussing the realities of adult life.