Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sitting at The Table

We make every possible attempt to eat dinner as a family around our little breakfast room table five nights a week. Sometimes we fail. There are nights that the girls are so hungry and so ornery after school that we serve them dinner immediately at the little island in our kitchen. They sit on barstools and eat while Bryan and I finish making our dinner. But the intent is still the same; we're all in the same room together, sharing a meal and mitigating melt-downs while vainly attempting dinnertime conversation (i.e. how was your day, what was the most interesting thing that happened to you at school) with a two and five year old.

It's usually pretty comical.

Monday through Thursday, things are pretty casual. We don't really formally set the table, rather it's more about balancing speed with some semblance of civility. On Fridays and Saturdays, it's wheel's off -- we let them have picnics on the floor, or (gasp) eat in the den around their little wooden table while watching tivo'd episodes of Olivia. I know, I know, BAD mom.

Sundays are formal (or as formal as you can get with my girls). We typically have Sunday dinner with lovely cousin Erin and eat in the dining room complete with a fully set table and candlelight. Audrey always kicks off a toast and ask all sorts of mature dinner time questions. As the girls get older, I'd like to work this set up into one or two additional week nights, as it's really nice.

SO, what's dinner-time like at your house?

p.s. I'm thrilled about all your enthusiasm for the online cooking club. I'll leave it open to folks that want to sign on and get back to you guys next Tuesday with a full list of participants and how will work things...


  1. We also try to eat at the table as a family every night, but like you, and I hate to admit it, our son is sometimes fed while watching the Backyardigans (a la tivo) if we are trying to avoid a meltdown or are having a particularly hard time getting anything in his mouth. He, at two years old, finds the formal dinner ritual interesting and fun, especially the toasting part. His current toast (which we've taught him of course) is "Here's to a good summer!" He also has to 'cheers" everything from shoes to pillows, pretty much everything that he sees in twos...Oh this is such a fun age!

  2. Sounds familiar. Unfortunately, my husband usually doesn't make it home in time for dinner, so weeknight dinners consist of me and my two-year-old eating together at the kitchen table. Now a newborn has joined us as well, which can make things interesting. Sundays are a definite family dinner night, though, and I hope to keep it that way and add to it as well.

  3. Nice to know that others have to fuel the little bellies before the mama and papa eat!

    My ultimate goal is for everyone to sit at the table and eat together or at least be in the same room (sitting not running around or playing). I have a 17 month old and she is a big fan of routine. This week, she started taking her empty dishes to the kitchen! So cute!

    And I also make sure we use linen napkins and eat off porcelain/ceramic plates - even her!

  4. I'm impressed you set the table. We're probably raising barbarians. If everyone has a plate, food, a utensil and a beverage? I'm good. Like you, we think it's important to get the 4 of us at the same table for dinner and we make that happen most every night. Love it.

  5. When it was just my husband and I, we didn't even have a dining room table, so we ate on the couch in front of the TV. It was important to me to have dinners at the table once we had kiddos, because I have fond memories of that from my childhood. Our 3 year old has joined us since he was a tiny baby sitting near the table in his swing. Now his brother sits in the swing and they both entertain us throughout the meal. I hope they grow up with fond memories of these times, as well.

  6. tonight we had steamed clams, potatoes and fresh green beans. everything was consumed within ten minutes of placing the food on the table. a few well placed grunts and a quick thank you and they were off! BUT, everynight we talk about Bryan's fried shrimp. we would love the recipe.

  7. Jane --
    We're having Julie and Tim over this weekend to cook dinner for my friend Achlee's birthday and we're making Shrimp tacos with bryan's fried shrimp! I'll definitely post the recipe ;-)


  8. My dad was at home to eat dinner with us every night when I was growing up. I remember we'd rush to finish dinner so we could then go and watch Dr Who together.

    My own little family isn't so lucky. My husband is rarely home before 7/7:30pm and my girls (2 and 6) just cannot wait until then. They eat around 5 in the winter months and it's around 6pm in the summer. I sit with them at the dinner table, but I don't have my meal with them. Geoff and I usually eat together around 8:30. Saturday is date night and Sunday night is family dinner night. We all eat together early at the girls dinner time and it's a highlight of the week for all of us. The girls choose the cuisine and we go from there.

    I do find it really upsetting that we can't eat together more often and am very envious of husbands who work family friendly hours - but there isn't a lot we can do about that, just make our time together special.