Thursday, December 13, 2012


5:22: Everyone is screaming. Dylan throws a plastic bug at Ruby and it bounces off her bulbous head.

5:23: Ruby screaming very loudy.

5:24: I frantically chop vegetables no one will eat in the hope that their dazzling color and the dubious Mayan predictions will somehow combine to make them try them tonight.

5:25: Timer goes off on the nuggets. Fish is almost done. Phil will not eat nuggets. Ruby will not eat fish. Dylan will eat everything. I prepare as many different meals as possible. I’d like to see Rachel Ray do that in 30 minutes or less.

5:28: Hand-washing. Ruby and Dylan fight over who will wash their hands first. I stare at them blankly for some reason forgetting to remind them that we have something like 4 sinks in the house. I set the table with our finest rainbow colored plastic cutlery. Also, for another reason I can’t quite explain, I forget the napkins.

5:29: I open the wine.

5:30: We sit down to dinner sans Phil. Though intellectually I know this dinner will be over in 4 minutes, the more fantastical side of me tells myself he will join us at 6pm when this dinner somehow proves to miraculously still be in progress 30 minutes from now.

5:32: I serve Dylan his fish and turn back to get Ruby her nuggets. I serve Ruby her nuggets.

5:33: Ruby announces she does not like chicken nuggets. Dylan is already done with his first helping. I am still trying to serve myself.

5:34: I sit down and force Dylan to suck on a carrot. If he won’t chew on it, maybe his saliva will inadvertently pick up some vitamins while I stall and try to shove a bit of food into my mouth and negotiate with Ruby on dinner.

5:35: I cover Ruby’s plate in ketchup hoping this will entice her to eat nuggets.

5:36: I can no longer put Dylan off. I am back up serving seconds.

5:37: I sit back down.

5:37 and approximately 12 seconds: Ruby reminds me I forgot the napkins – again. Did I mention Ruby hoards napkins? She goes through something like 10 per meal. Also, she is eating ketchup with a spoon making her napkin request have a greater sense of urgency.

5:38: I get the napkins and sit back down.

5:39: Dylan spills his milk.

5:40: Towelling off the table and floor.

5:41: Ruby tells me in a remarkably off-handed way given the severity of the situation that she is starting to pee a little bit.

5:42: In the bathroom with Ruby.

5:43: Looking for the Clorox spray so that I can hose down the kitchen chair.

5:44: I remember I forgot to eat.

5:45: Phil arrives. He is greeted with a hero’s welcome while the children eye me suspiciously like an evil, disorganized war-lord trying to coerce them with poorly prepared fish and condiments.

5:46: Phil reminds me he doesn’t like salmon.

5:47: There are dishes and food and uneaten nuggets and some of Dylan’s milk scattered throughout the kitchen as though our house has been “tossed” by the neighborhood thugs looking for a real meal and reacting in anger when all they found was this.

5:48: The kids spell words with letter cookies. I nurse my wine and tell myself that dinner tomorrow will be different. I will be different. We will be civilized. I realize we look more like the Klumps than the Cleavers.

5:49: I smile, reflecting on how my family is doing its small part to keep the concept of family dinner alive and well. Or at least alive. Or mostly not dead.

5:50: I declare the concept of family dinners a farce made up by television shows from the 50s and people who never actually had small children.

5:51: Ruby finds some pirates booty on the floor and eats it. And voila. Just like that – dinner is served.  I realize I should throw nuggets on the floor more often and wonder if the thrill of her finding them would somehow make her more likely to try them.

5:52: Dinner is over.


  1. Hey, friend of Emily Yolkut's here. Just found your blog and now I'm an addict. Thank you for this beautiful description of why moms like--and deserve--a glass of wine with dinner (if you ever get a chance to eat it!).
    Janice Easton-Epner

    1. Janice - thanks so much! I'm glad you stopped by! Come and visit again!

  2. I remember those times when my children were small when days were long, sleep was spare and my nerves shot. But I still have grand delussions that if I could do it over again I would get it right. LOL Who am I kidding? Children are unpredictable messy creatures that only a parent can love. As a mom of 4 adult children and a 12 year old i speak from experience that there will come a day when family dinners will become a civilized affair. Wen sticky fussy children will be a long lost memory that you dig out, marvel and wonder over. Treasure these messy mom moments because in a blink of the eye they will be gone.

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