Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Changing Channels

Dinnertime at the Castilo has matured somewhat. I'm afraid to say that for years we have been one those typical American families that would eat in front of the television, if not all of us, then at least most of us. Recently, however, in my infinite wisdom and out of true paternal devotion, I've put an end to that and we've been eating around the massive dining table that Big Mama bought for me several Father's Days ago.

And it's been fun. Mostly. The kids look forward to the dinner hour when we will all sit together to eat and talk. But like so many other things, they've taken it to its most irritating extreme. They talk and talk and talk, and touch, and stand and sit and stand and sit and stand and sit. They need more milk. Now. JP won't leave C alone, and S only wants to eat three or four more bites. C is still telling us how his day was.

Perhaps this is how supper has always been, though drowned out by The Simpsons or 60 Minutes. Or maybe The Quartet was so mesmerized by the predicament Earl had gotten himself into this week that they'd forgotten to pick at each other. Whatever it was, I think I might want it back. It was quieter, less kinetic, and all happened an appreciable distance away from me. Kristy and I could sit at the table, if we chose, to talk quietly, read a magazine or book, or work the day's crossword.

The silence wasn't total, but the interruptions seemed fewer. Messes were still made, but they were out of sight.

This could be seen as parental regression, I know, taking the kids from the family table and putting them back in front of the TV. It's the lazy way out, sure. But who knew that without the inane chatter and hyperactive jump cuts of dinnertime television, that these kids would simply create their own?

3 comments:

Stephanie said...

We've always eaten dinner together as a family, and it has always consisted of me getting a bite almost to my mouth before being asked for just one more thing. I always think of how, in the movie A Christmas Story, Ralphie says, "My mother hadn't had a hot meal for herself in fifteen years." I'm on year four of that.

Kristy said...

Yeah, I pretty much spend the first half of the meal jumping up and getting things from the kitchen, and the last half trying to convince GK to eat and leave me in peace.

Stacey Greenberg said...

ditto