Recently our household has fallen into what appears to be a new tradition. Each night at dinner, we each get to talk about our day. Now, it's not what it seems. It's not like we're the Cleaver family, and little Nancy gets to talk about her new bike with the shiny pedals while Beaver gets to describe how he hit a sody-pop can with his new slingshot. No, this tradition started as a way of curbing the insanity at the dinner table, and unfortunately it has gone horribly awry.
Dinner has always seemed to be way too chaotic. First there was the matter of cooking it. After a long day of dealing with two small children at home, Supermom understandably doesn't feel exactly energized to create a gourmet feast. No biggie, frozen corn is fine by me. But there was also the issue of simply clearing off the table enough to find a place to sit as a family and eat. Our dining table is adjacent to the TV room, so usually the daily viewings of Hannah Montana and Zack & Cody were held while either snacking or coloring at said table. Thus, in order to set it for dinner we first had to call in a wrecking crew just to clear it off.
Once dinner was served, there's the issue of the "get up" chair. The girls had a secret game where they determined that either mommy or daddy was in the get up chair, and with that chair came the responsibility of getting up to obtain refills of milk, macaroni, or steamed peas.
And then there was the general disorder of dinner. The slurping. The spills. The pretend fart noises. And the kids did all that too! We decided we needed to do something to bring the chaos down a notch, so we suggested going around the table and each talking about our day.
What we expected to happen was this. We expected to ask Natalie how 2nd grade was. We expected "good" as an answer. When asked what she did today, we expected a response of "nuttin." Instead, we were answered with a flurry of endless details about the sequence of events from math class to gym class to recess to lunch to the trip home on the bus to the latest details of the new Spongebob Squarepants episode that was Tivo'd last night. Exhausting yes, but certainly descriptive.
And then we turned to Jessica. Having just turned 5, Jessica's view of the world is pretty basic. If it's clay, I should play with it. If it's a crayon, I should color with it. And if it's my turn to talk, I make sure I get every last minute of my allotted time to talk without interruption.
Here's a typical response from Jessica when asked about her day:
"Today at...today...today at pre..at preschool, we made leaf...we made...leaf...paintings. Mine was a green leaf. And it was SOOOOO big! I never seen a leaf that big. And me and Benny...Benny...he chased me all the time today. I mean he chased me on the playground and tried to catch me but I ran too fast and he couldn't catch me. And...and...we had grapes for snack. And guess what! Guess what else I had daddy! For snack! Nope, it wasn't milk! Nope, it wasn't apple juice! It was...it was...Strawberry milk! But I didn't like it. I like white milk. And then....SISSY! STOP INTERRUPTING ME! Mommy, Sissy interrupted me and that hurt my feelings. Look Sissy, this potato looks like a car! And then mommy and I went after school to Target, and she bought me Hello Kitty pencils. And I had a hot dog! And...ooops. Hee hee...I farted. It was a real fart! And then we came home..and then...and then....wait...I forgot what I was going to say...what was it? Oh yeah, Daddy, when are we going to Disney again? We haven't gone to Disney all year and forever and I want to see the Little Mermaid show at MGM and remember the hotel with the log cabin and where Sissy threw up? I like flying."
As a result of all this, we're starting a new post-dinner tradition. Two Advil and a nap after every meal.