Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Family Dinner

WARNING: If you feel strongly that small children and off-color humor don't mix, you will NOT enjoy this essay. But remember, it's just a joke. Well... you know... sort of .

Everyone knows that “family dinners” are the key to creating close happy families and psychologically healthy children. Well, that is, unless the children have parents like my husband and me, in which case some take-out in front of the TV is probably the healthier way to go. Here’s a sampling of the enriching and bonding nature of our dinner table conversation.

My five year old son, J, will start us off by stating, apropos of nothing, “There’s no such thing as the Lochness Monster.”

To which my husband will firmly answer, “That’s right J, there’s not.”

And then I’ll annoy my husband by saying, “But there is such thing as Big Foot.”

He’ll roll his eyes and assure the kids, “There is no such thing as Big Foot.” And then he’ll change the subject by asking how my day was.

And I’ll answer, “Do you think my parents would take these guys?”

“For how long?” he’ll ask, taking a bite of salmon.


And he’ll sympathetically ask, “That bad of a day?”

“Pretty bad,” I’ll say, “Is there anywhere we could just drop them off?”

And he’ll shrug, “I dunno… an orphanage?”

Then I’ll explain that we don’t have orphanages here anymore and drearily add, “We’d have to take them all the way to Romania or something.”

Right about this time J will do this charming thing he does at every meal and list everything on his plate that is too heinous to touch, “I’m not eating my avocado… I’m choosing one thing not to try and I’m not even trying my avocado… or my lettuce! I don’t like it Mama and you shouldn’t have not put it on my plate!”

And since we’re on the subject, my husband won’t miss a beat. He’ll calmly say, “Just eat it, or you’ll go to the Romanian Orphanage.”

This will cause me to nearly choke to death on my wine, and the whole family will laugh and laugh… the kids have no idea why they’re laughing, but they evidently think we’re kind of funny. And I’ll ask J, “Are you going to eat the rest of your salad, bread, salmon and drink your milk?”

“Yeah,” he’ll answer.

So I’ll do my best good mom impression saying, “Then just leave the avocado and lettuce on your plate, you don’t have to taste them.”

And then the Little One will chime in with, “Daddy says there’s no such thing as Big Foot,” to no one in particular.

But I’ll answer, “Well… Daddy doesn’t know that for sure.”

And my husband will gleefully exclaim, “If I ever see Big Foot I’ll pop a cap in him.”

To which I’ll answer in disgust, “You can’t shoot Big Foot! Are you out of your mind?!”

But no one will have heard me because the Little One will have just finished saying, “Daddy, you be Butthead and I’ll be Beavis…” and the two will be completely engrossed in their respective roles.

When my husband is done performing his best Butthead impersonation (which he does frighteningly well), he’ll change the subject, “There’s no Big Foot, guys, but there are aliens.”

And I’ll screech, “There’s no such thing as aliens… Daddy’s crazy.”

My husband will think he’s being very clever as he says across the table, but in a tone meant for only me to hear,

“Are too… they’re all over the roof tops of construction sites.”

And I’ll suddenly be overcome with fear that he’s being a bad influence on the children and very seriously say, “Knock it off… not funny.”

And he’ll excuse himself from the table, rolling his eyes at me.

Oh the glorious memories we’re creating! But despite the beauty of it all, I just can’t believe it’s really such a bad thing that we rarely get to eat dinner together as a family.


Oh, The Joys said...

Nicely done! Great post about dinner!

mad muthas said...

what's off about that? all sounds very waltons-ish to moi! (except the waltons never got avocado)

Anjali said...

Please tell me that there really IS a Big Foot and Lochness Monster. It took me forever to recover from learning that Santa Claus didn't exist. There'll be no hope for me if BF and Lochness are lies as well.

Jill said...

I tell my kids that I'm selling them on e-bay.

Kristen said...

This sounds like our table growing up- and what my table will be like when our daughter gets old enough lol.

Mom101 said...

This is like a perfect improv sketch! You guys need your own sitcom - I'm hoping there'll be a gap in the NBC schedule where 30 Rock used to be.

Heather said...

Don't you just love "dinner conversation" with kiddos in company! We have three and sometimes this sounds exactly like us!

My husband tells our 8yr old daughter she lived with a monkey family and we adopted her.

Then there is my youngest daughter who can do the "TOTS" seen from Napoleon Dynamite perfect...that’s; a hoot.

So many memories we are creating...I guess the good thing is we actually can get our families at the table...eating dinner...at the same time!

Wendy said...

Kid torture is a perfectly acceptable form of parental entertainment. For awhile, we had our J convinced that Bigfoot lived just down the street.

Lisa said...


Seriously that sounds almost EXACTLY like Saturday breakfast at our table. (Well, it would be a nightly occurance, but hubby and I work opposite shifts.....so Saturday morning breakfast it is!)

Too funny! I LOVE the alien on rooftop comment!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...


I have a feeling that our dinnertime conversations will sound a lot like this one when my kids get a little bit older.

Kiki said...

The aliens were the off colour part right?
I suddenly don't feel so bad, thank you very much for that, lol.