I heard an NPR story about how family dinner time is disappearing–and that’s fine. The Secrets of Happy Families cites a study that confirms that even the best family dinners have only about 10 minutes of productive conversation. The rest of the time, if there is any, is spent on the bitter business of coralling, correcting, and coercing people that don’t want to be sitting down and eating right now. So it’s fine to try to move that 10 minutes of conversation to another meal or another time of the day.
My kids and I do pretty well, often really well, in the car. We use our car time to discuss what we’ve done so far that day. Fluffers always gives me the run down on school when she gets in the car, and asks me, “What did you do today?” Once I happened to be on the phone, and after about 10 minutes, she burst into tears because I was violating our car debriefing time with a phone call. After I pick up the boys from the Kids Academy at the gym, Salty loves to tell me, “I got my extra size!” We use our car time to practice memorization. We work on our acting accents. I teach them about all sorts of things like water molecules and Greek mythology. The car is our dinner time–unless I’m in a mood in which case, thank goodness we put in that DVD player.
Actual dinner time generally blows. I’ve been making more of an effort recently to cook meals of some nutritional value for the kids. And they’ve been making more of an effort to express their extreme displeasure at this turn of events.
Witness Flufferella’s dinner time prayer today:
Thank you for this food. And please bless the food that it will taste good. And bless Mommy that she will know how much I love her food. And bless the boys that they will eat their food…all of it…without too much of a fuss. And bless Daddy that he will come home and eat some food. ITNOJC, Amen.
Yeah. The boys ate nothing. At least they got their extra size at the gym.