For most families it’s the highlight of the week. A treat everyone looks forward to. A chance to relax, chat and enjoy some delicious food. In our house, not so much.
I’m talking Sunday dinner here.
With two fussy kids, Sunday dinner is just a big hassle. We don’t always have a roast, in fact we don’t often have a roast. But we do try to provide a break from the pizza, frozen food and microwave meals which make up far too much of what the kids eat.
It might be lasagne or a mild curry. It might just be a shop-bought pie with some roast potatoes and some ACTUAL VEGETABLES. But we try, we really try to get the kids to try something and eat something.
My daughter sees carrots being cut…
‘Oh no, are we having carrots?’
‘No, they’re for the rabbit.’
‘Phew!’ And then…
‘Hang on! We don’t have a rabbit!’
But what do we actually get?
A non-stop comedy routine from my younger son. He’s the non-fussy one, but even he can be heard saying things like ‘it’s too filling’ or ‘I’m not very keen on the meat’. So he tries to make everyone laugh. It works with his brother and sister and distracts them further from the meal they are already struggling with. It makes Daddy cross.
There’s talk of farts and toilets, some inappropriate singing…
My eldest moves his food around the plate and eats it as though he’s a contestant on I’m A Celebrity faced with a kangaroo testicle and a fish eye, rather than some corn on the cob and a Quorn sausage. And his table manners are DREADFUL. He’s 12, yet he seems completely incapable of using cutlery. It’s a pretty disgusting sight. Daddy gets cross. I just despair.
And my daughter? Well she just starts slowly and gets slower…
Daddy and I will be half way through our meal before she stops cutting and drinking and talking for long enough to take her first mouthful. Then she laughs at her brother and gets off her chair. More cutting, more drinking, more chatting…
The comedy routine gets louder and more outrageous. My daughter laughs more and more and eats less and less. My eldest gets told off yet again for using his fork badly.
The rest of us have finished our tea AND our pudding. My daughter’s plate is still almost full. She has only been given four slices of carrot.
‘Have you eaten any carrot?’
‘One, I’ve got three left,’ she seems quite proud to have eaten one.
But still we want her to eat more. We are so mean.
So she tries a new tactic: ‘My foot still hurts’
I say: ‘I’m not bothered about your foot hurting at dinner time.’
And she does a little smile and says: ‘My mouth then?’