I hate family dinners.
There, I said it. I f'in hate family dinners.
Family dinners are one of those things that sound great in theory. The three of us, sitting around the beautifully decorated table, eating a delicious and well-balanced homemade dinner, while telling each other the details of our day. It's the shit that Norman Rockwell paintings are made of.
Prior to having Myra, our "family" dinner consisted of us sitting in front of the TV, totally zoned out and silent, while chowing down on our food. I guess that makes us white trash. In our defense, Josh and I both work hard all day and the by time we get to dinner, we are too exhausted to talk about anything meaningful.
When Moosey started eating actual food, we realized that family dinners really didn't make sense because we had to feed Moosey so early to get her to bed. We would feed her, bathe her, and get her to bed before resuming our spots on the couch.
There were times that we would eat together during the summer and it was great. She would sit with us and eat a variety of sophisticated things such as salmon, asparagus, and pork belly. I'm not kidding.
Nicely eating her grilled salmon in the spring. Those were the days...sigh.
We would also eat together (obviously) when we went to restaurants, where Myra was a perfect angel, not making a sound and eating everything in front of her. Again, not kidding, she is still that way at restaurants.
So, armed with that knowledge and brimming with the enthusiam of
Biggest. Mistake. Ever.
Because my Moose is 2, she is stubborn as hell and has now decided that she refuses to eat dinner unless it is Parmesan cheese.
Why Parmesan cheese, you ask? Well, we had a dinner one night that called for grated Parmesan, so we gave her some. SECOND biggest mistake ever.
We were desperate to get her to eat, so we gave her a mountain of cheese in an attempt to hide the gluten free spinach fettuccine. As you may have guessed, she only ate the Parmesan cheese.
I wasn't exaggerating. It was a mountain.
So, now, the first battle every night is over cheese. The first few nights, we let her have some cheese, thinking that we could "hide" the regular food. Nope. Once she realized what was happening, she chucked her utensils and starting licking her finger, sticking it into the food, and licking the cheese off. I gotta hand it to the kid, it's a pretty smart move to avoid getting any of the food that is underneath the cheese.
So, the cheese had to go. She demands it every night and every night, we refuse it. "No, Myra, the only people who get to eat Parmesan cheese for dinner are the people who never again want to poop."
And then it is over. Not the stupid dinner, unfortunately, but any chance of her eating. Once she knows that cheese is out of the question, she just won't eat. And what can I do?? I can't actually make her eat.
We try EVERYTHING. We threaten her, we take her up to bed, we put her in time out, nothing works. In fact, the little
shit darling now asks for time-out because she knows that it gets her out of her high chair. Myra: 1 Mommy & Daddy: 0.
We even sit there, like the total jackasses that we said we would never be, and ask her nicely, "Myra, darling, will you please do the me the honor of eating this delicious and healthy food that I cooked for you." No damn dice.
We bribe her. We use movies, chocolate, you name it. Doesn't work.
So, every night, we sit there, watching her get pissed that she can't get out of her highchair, while inhaling our food to the point of getting indigestion. Our conversation doesn't include anything about our day, unless our day happens to include working in a Parmesan cheese factory.
Then we look at ourselves, and say, "who in the hell told us that this was a good idea?!"
Yet, we do it again. Every Night. Every. Single. F*&%ing. Night.
And, so, to all of you new parents out there, I have only one thing to say to you: DON'T DO IT. For your peace of mind and sanity, NO FAMILY DINNERS.
UPDATE: I wrote this a few weeks ago, but some how forgot to post it. I am so happy to say that we have turned a huge corner and Myra is now great at meals! It is awesome. She sits nicely and eats every night. When she asks for dessert, we tell her that she has to take 5 more bites and she sits there and counts out the bites. No joke. It is awesome.
So, while I no longer hate family dinners, I am happy to have my eyes wide open because we may have another child someday and I will go back to dreading the dinner hour. So please read on because you will also experience this sentiment at one point, like during the toddler years.
And, if we are totally honest here, while she has gotten much better behaved, I still feel like family dinners are slightly overrated. Unless, of course, "family dinner" refers to a group of adults friends and family going out for dinner and drinks without kids. In that case, I freakin' LOVE family dinners!