We usually try to eat our evening meals together at the table. It’s not always easy, with my husband sometimes working late and the siren call of Scooby Doo on the television, but we do our best. I like to think that it’s a good opportunity to share the day’s events, to make announcements and start discussions, and an ideal time for anyone to ask questions while everyone’s there to offer an answer.
“Why didn’t you call me Delilah, or Baby Barbara?” demanded small daughter, in the middle of a discussion about something completely different.
“No, not Baby Barbara, maybe Barbara!”
I don’t know whether we were more surprised at the choice of name (we don’t know anyone called Barbara) or the fact that we were talking about summer holidays at the time. We had to tell her that it hadn’t occurred to us to call her either Delilah or Barbara, Baby or otherwise, and fortunately she was happy with that answer and carried on with her dinner.
It did remind me, though, that small peoples’ minds work in mysterious ways and we would have missed that if she’d been mindlessly watching Shaggy and Scooby chasing ghosts whilst attempting to shovel food into her mouth at the same time.
One of our family traditions is to eat Sunday dinner together. It’s something that both my husband and I experienced with our families when we were children and now we want to share it with our own. My Dad comes over as well and commandeers the kitchen to prepare the vegetables and the whole event ends up as a cheerful joint effort. Big daughter is usually doing her homework at the table, plugged into her music and prompting the inevitable discussion on how she can concentrate when she’s singing. Small daughter has realised that Sunday is the day that Grandad brings treats as well as the vegetables so he’s even more welcome than usual! On the odd occasion that big daughter is out with friends she will come home especially for her Sunday dinner, quite often bringing one of her friends with her who sits at the table and beams that she really likes having dinner with us. It’s quite a compliment, I guess, especially as she is usually interrogated by small daughter with her odd line of questioning.
Just recently, small daughter has been extremely helpful in offering to set the table. This seemed like a wonderful idea until we discovered that she does this simply so that she can choose who she sits next to at any given meal time instead of sitting in her usual place. Of course, this ends up in riot as big daughter likes to sit where she sits, so it’s less of a blessing than I originally thought, but on the positive side it has encouraged big daughter to try to get in to set the table first. Now all I need to do is think of a way to incorporate them making the dinner at the same time and I can put my feet up!