Friday, January 20, 2012

Table Traffic Cop

The supper table is the funniest place.
My two oldest boys dominate the air with their hockey talk, rhyming and under the table antics. My daughter (who take FOREVER to say anything) tries to get a sentence or two in there while she picks fussily away at her meal. My youngest son, the observer, makes hilarious facial expressions while watching the big boys talk. Sometimes, if there is a moment of silence, he surprises all of us with a dry, cleverly thought out comment...those are the best moments. My husband and I just throw coded looks across the table at one another. We don't always have to talk, just looks and smiles that sufficiently communicate over top of the commotion.

One boy is continually guided to chew with his mouth closed. The acoustics of a very large mouth are great for singing...not so great for chewing. Another is encouraged to pick up his plate and eat the meal he has left under and around it and the chipmunck has to be saved from certain death by choking about every 5 minutes as he is commanded to swallow his mouthful before taking another bite. I'm sure when he is old his cheeks will sag to his shoulder blades from the stretching. My little princes likes to PEEL every piece of food presented to her...with her fingers. Maybe she thinks it is a present and something amazing is waiting underneath the wrapping. Or maybe she is just too fussy and scientifically examines every morsel for her own protection. Quite the opposite of the gorger on the other side of the table, who could be eating a shoe and not realize it.

Besides these regular table-keeping jobs of mine, I also have to be a food traffic cop. I must keep the flow of the serving bowls smooth, preventing the inevitable traffic jam at the slowest person's plate, blowing my whistle at the impatient motorist who is trying to shortcut the pickles ACROSS the table, and calming the drooling driver experiencing road rage as he glares at the sibling holding the Ketchup too long. Of course I am always vigilent, ready to give out a ticket to anyone caught plate licking...that's a 3 point loss. All the while, trying to follow the discourses of mumbling adolescents and precious little, struggling word finders.

We have a rule (I don't like rules, but sometimes they are just necessary) that movies or TV shows are NOT allowed to be quoted if they are longer than two sentences...or something like that. It amazes me how an entire scene from a comical show can be memorized in one hearing, and yet "a noun is a person, place or thing" is just too advanced to store and retrieve. They can feel free to relive these scripts to one another, if both are in agreement, but anyone over the age of about 16 must give written consent to endure the proceedure. Especially at the dinner table. The only thing more difficult to give my attention to than this is adding the constant glimpses of digesting mashed potatoe and green beans throughout the whole episode. Lips are for more than kissing. They keep what shouldn't be seen, unseen.

These regular table times are redeemed by constant laughter, the sharing of daily experiences and the amazing joy of good food! It's so true that dining together is a kind of bonding and fellowship. I am doubly blessed to experience this at lunch and supper (yay homeschooling) even if it means double duty as the table traffic cop.

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