Family dinners aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Before I had kids, I was adamant that we would always sit down together for family meals. In the typical manner of a person who doesn’t have kids judging actual parents, I thought it was silly to be serving your children a separate meal. I also had this beautiful wholesome image in my head of us all sitting round the table and having a civilised conversation.

But now that I actually have to share my mealtime with my little anklebiters, I understand why some would rather not.

A dramatisation of dinner in our house

Dad: It’s teatime.

There is no response. The TV drones on in the background. 

Mum: It’s teatime! Come sit down at the table, please.

4yo: In a high-pitched tone No! PJ Masks is coming up next! I want to watch PJ Masks!

Mum: We’ll record it then. Presses record button on TIVO with intention of surreptitiously deleting PJ Masks after child is in bed. Turns TV off. Okay, now sit down!

4yo slowly and reluctantly walks towards the table. 2yo continues to play with his Ninky Nonk toy. If you don’t know what a Ninky Nonk is, lucky you.

Mum: Come on! It’s teatime.

2yo: NO! Catch the Nonk!

Mum picks up 2yo who does his best imitation of an angry cat in a bag, noises included. She places him in his highchair and attempts to put on his bib as he morphs from cat-in-bag to enraged Kraken. She passes him his food and he merrily starts eating it.

4yo: wiggling around in chair, not eating. MI, MI, MI-MI-MI. I’m being a Pontipine!

If you don’t know what a Pontipine is, lucky you.

Mum: Please be quiet and just eat your food.

4yo: NO! MI!

Mum: If you don’t eat your food, then you can’t have any pudding.

4yo: BUT I WANT PUDDING! MI MI MI!

Mum shrugs, gives up and attempts to eat her own food while 4yo continues to make irritating noises.

4yo: Need the toilet!

Mum: Well, go then.

4yo: But I need you to watch me.

Mum: …

4yo stands there holding himself and refusing to go to the toilet on his own. Mum gives in and follows him to the toilet and watches while he goes, thoroughly losing appetite in the process. After the deed is done, 4yo returns to his chair and starts happily munching his broccoli. 

Dad (to 4yo): So who did you play with at school today?

4yo: Everyone.

Mum: And what did you eat for lunch?

4yo: I don’t remember.

Mum: What was your favourite part of the day?

4yo: Everything.

CRASH.

2yo: FINISHED!

2yo had finished eating and so he had launched his cup onto the floor. 

Mum: Okay, hun, but you need to wait until the rest of us are finished.

2yo: FINISHED!

2yo picks up his spoon, extends his arm, makes eye contact with Mum, and ever so slowly opens his fingers and lets the spoon fall to the ground. Giggles hysterically. Then, he picks up his plate. Mum grabs it before it ends up on the floor.

2yo: PLAY PLAY PLAY! CATCH THE NONK!

4yo: I CAN’T EAT BECAUSE IT’S TOO NOISY!

4yo suddenly falls off his chair from all the fidgeting. Screams at the top of his lungs.

2yo: PLAY! PLAAAAYYY! AHHHHH!

Dual screaming continues.

Dad quickly serves the children some cake.

Silence. Mum and Dad drink wine.

2yo: dropping cake bowl on floor FINISHED!

Are family dinners civilised in your house? Do your kids respond to your efforts at conversation? Do they always need to take a poo halfway through? Let me know in the comments.

Petite Pudding
Tammymum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
The Pramshed
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41 thoughts on “Family dinners aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

  1. Hahaha love this! Looks like I have this to come. We had dinner tonight and little dude was hysterically laughing because he found a new game – passing the spoon to us and taking it back again. Not much eating done. Was super cute tho!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha! Great post Nicole, really made me laugh! 🙂 It makes a great script for a play! I also Googled what a Ninky Nock and a Pontipine are and now I know :p It’s great that A eats broccoli though! x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have maybe one successful dinner table meal a week, the rest of the time it’s chaos! I figure by the time they’re able to hold proper conversations, we’ll be ready to eat together every night, but until then, the kids usually eat around 5pm,and the hubby and I eat after they’re in bed at 7 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved this. I could completely visualize the dramatization in my head. We have tough times at meals too. Thankfully, the little.one is not quite at the food throwing stage yet but she’ll get there…I can already tell. One question, is tea time what you call supper/dinner or is it a separate time of the day say…4 pm when you actually have tea (with broccoli!!)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it depends on what part of England you’re from! My husband is from Yorkshire and they call the evening meal tea. But not everyone calls it that. Of course there is also afternoon tea, which involves actual hot tea and cake.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your post 🙂 We try and have dinner together, but we are still very far from having a proper conversation 😉 Impossible to talk as the baby (11 months) is screamin because she is hungry and for her I am not fast enough to feed her, the toddler (3 years) is repeating the same sentence 10 times and we just can’t hear each other if we talk 🙂 Even if it is a complete chaos, I still stick to this tradition for them to get used to sharing these moments together and dining together. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Haha we can relate to this for sure!!! We now only make those 2 and under sit while we pray. But I think persevering through it while they are young firms good habits when they are older!!! My teen will still sit at the supper table and chat about his day 🙂 hang in there!’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ben has discovered that he can touch the food in the bowl right now, at 7 months old he is a clever cookie but we were given a suction bowl holder so at least it can keep it in place for a bit longer until he learns how to release it! #EatSleepBlogRT

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And then you have to do bedtime!!! I’m living blissfully unaware this is going to happen to me!! At 18 months Robert sits at the table without complaining and sort of eats his tea with us. We’ve been known to string out tea time for an hour and a half and he happily sits the entire time. I hope it continues because it’s my favourite time of the day!! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha, sorry I know this is a snap shot of your actual dinner but it made me chuckle! Especially the line “4yo suddenly falls off his chair from all the fidgeting. Screams at the top of his lungs.” – your fault of course….

    Yet I can also relate. The get-the-toddler-in-the-highchair is a fight several times a day. My girl loves her food but she enjoys being awkward more! I read once that tantrumy children grow to be strong and independent adults. So, here’s to hoping for us all…

    #FamilyFun

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha yep dinner times are zero fun. I spend more time out of my chair then I do in it! We went through a phase of eating when the kids were in bed so we could actually eat but it we can’t always last. Those ideallic images of families sat round eating dinner….ha!!! I am yet to see it come to fruition. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am keen to make meals a family thing. At the moment my fifteen month old eats a lot earlier than us so we only really do it at weekends. But when we do all eat together she only wants to eat what’s on my plate, even if we have exactly the same thing. My food always goes cold and I can’t really enjoy it. And there is too much chaos for conversation. I’m guessing from your very funny post that it doesn’t get. But I’ll try and persevere. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m sorry, but this cracked me up. Just read outloud to my husband and both related on so many levels! Seriously, why do they feel the need to poo halfway through every meal? And why do they need to drop their plate, cutlery, cup, and everything else on their highchair dramatically onto the floor with a shout everytime they’ve finished? Reminds me of that scene from Thor! 😀 #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have tried and tried and tried to enforce family dinners in our house to a very poor response. Mostly my husband is to blame since once he gets in from work he wants to eat in front of the tv even if its cartoons 🙂 Our daughter is 3 and badly needs table manners so I will just keep on trying #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was exactly the same as you, imagining some perfect family sitting around a table discussing our day. Now, I am lucky if whatever I cooked doesn’t end up on the floor after a toddler rejection. Great post, thanks for linking up #fortheloveofBLOG x Sammie x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve also been big on family dinners with no TV, even before we had our boy I refused to eat in front of the telly. Now that we have a little one I don’t think we’re doing too bad but it looks like this might be a sign of all the things I have to look forward to as he gets older! x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  16. hahah love this – sounds very familiar! I just hate the fact i can’t have a proper conversation with my husband anymore without having to pick stuff up of the floor, cut up food, deal with crying and demands for pudding! #FortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

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