Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Dinner Hour Pastimes

 Dinner last night: Nigella's Lemon Linguine, and Salad

The antidote to a long, tiring day must surely be relaxing around food.  I always think it's far more relaxing to watch someone else bustle about in the kitchen, so this afternoon two of the kids, and I, sat down to a few episodes of Nigella Express.  In between a chicken was directed into the oven and there will be vegies later.  Dinner is on its way.

A cup of tea and some more time with my feet up and I feel a little less stretched.

I've just started reading a book (a freebie from Amazon for my Kindle app) titled The Hour that Matters Most, all about the family dinner hour.  My children were astonished when I suggested that we are, in fact, a very unusual family and that there is a trend towards rarely sitting together over a meal.  It has been a practice in our home since Miss Sunshine was barely a year old.  It made practical sense a way back then and its a habit that has been retained, no matter what.  In the early years of my husband's move from sales to management I used to fret about him missing dinner time.  In the end I decided that there were more of us present than absent and that we would carry on with our daily routine regardless.  Young children in a home tends to demand it.  It gave Dh the freedom to do what he needed to and me the ability to release us all from my anxiousness and frustration.  The children and I almost always sit together at the table.  In fact we almost never sit anywhere else.  Dh is here as much as he can be.  And I try to insist that everyone remain until the last one is finished.

Sitting at the table makes sense to me.  My children are (still!) messy eaters.  I can't tell you the mess around Mr Busy's place, let alone the floor beneath.  I would much rather have only one space that requires diligent sweeping, than trying to keep up with it spread throughout the house.  And during ant season I don't want those little pests running about the entire house.  Again, limiting the damage to one area is much more manageable.  If dealing with ants could be described "manageable"!

We talk and laugh.  We tease.  Sometimes we are silent.  Sometimes we are listening to the news on TV.  And I'm OK with that.  What is important to me is that our children see that cooking a healthy meal and valuing the people at our table is important.  Perhaps this is one of the secrets to having raised, thus far, children who enjoy spending time with us and one another?

What are your meal time habits and practices?


Joolz said...

We always sit at the table for meals. Our girls groaned through their teenage years but it has taught them that we value their opinions and input into conversations. Sometimes we are there until the meal is consumed, sometimes we are there 2 hours later, engaged in animated banter!

Tracy said...

I like the idea of having space at the end of the day to relax like that. We're still doing homework and getting people to bed in a timely manner around here!