Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's For Dinner?

As children, and then adolescent people, my siblings and I were made to understand that we could ask our mother anything. No question was taboo and she would answer as straightforward and honestly as she was able. Any time, anywhere, any subject. The lines of communication, she wanted us to know, were always to remain open in our family.

There was one question, though, that was never to be spoken. After a long day of ... working with computers? (I'm still not sure what she does) ... when she returned home, she did not want to hear "What's for dinner?" Now, we were always well-fed and never, for a single night, went hungry, but she wasn't running a boarding house, she was a ... computer person? What was for dinner was whatever she was making for dinner and it will be ready when it's ready. So don't ask.

We haven't had to tell The Quartet yet that they can ask us anything. They ask us anything and everything already. Question after question after question. It's like living with The Riddler times four. They ask who's coming over, they ask what's on TV, they ask where their mother is, they ask what we're going to do next. And they ask, every night, "What's for dinner?" I've told them I didn't want to hear that question because it's rude and because it still scares me a little bit.

The really odd part is that these kids don't eat whatever we're having for dinner. I mean, there's what we (Kristy and I) are having for dinner and there's what they're (they're) having for dinner. And those are never the same thing. Oh, sure, S will accept what the adults are having to push around on her plate and whine about and eat a bit of just so she can get to "What's for dessert?" But you're not going to catch JP having spaghetti or C eating a burrito. It's just not what's for (their) dinner.

So don't even ask, because it's rude. And, coming from you four, it's just dumb.


Stacey Greenberg said...

every morning jiro wakes up and says, "where are we going?"

it is much more loaded than satchel's "is it a school day or a trail day" when he was 3.

Melissa said...

Your loop and my loop should totally have lunch. I was gonna say my loop could eat yours for lunch, but I didn't want to make it feel insecure.

International Exhausted Dad said...

I'm glad I read your loopy blog tonight. It's what I've been looking for: someone else who struggles with being a dad, trying to be good at it and not melting into a pool of self-absorbed preoccupation. My stress level goes through the roof sometimes when I'm trying to get my kindergartner to school on time and his 2-year-old sister wants to place "catch me if you can" instead of helping me while I dress her.
The other night it became perfectly clear to me how my son sees me. We had some friends over for dinner and I said "I dont think I'm that nervous a guy." and my son says, "Daddy, you're really nervous and stressed out. You need to take breaks and stuff." (paraphrasing) It suddenly sunk in to me that I was a highstrung dad. That really sucks. Its exactly what I don't want to be. every 8 months I see it clearly and I try to make changes, try to loosen up. But I guess I haven't fooled my 6 year-old. Who gives a wet noodle about being 3 minutes late to school. My life is so good and yet to me it sometimes feels like a ball of stresss ready to explode. Sorry for the rant. What I want to say is thanks, I feel like I'm not alone. I look forward to reading other posts and laughing and letting go a little. It's 11:18 in Watsonville, California and I've got work tomorrow.