My Real Life

January 27, 2012

Conversations from my Dinner Table

I made chicken for dinner last night.
Baby Monkey:  What animal does chicken come from?
Me:  Um…a chicken.
Baby Monkey:  Yeah, but what animal does chicken come from.
Me:  Sweetie, it comes from a chicken.
Baby Monkey:  So, is chicken from a pig?
Me:  No, honey.  Chicken is from a chicken.  Like, bock-bock-bock-bock chicken.
Baby Monkey:  So, pigs eat chicken?
Me:  No.  No they don’t.
Baby Monkey:  Do we eat chicken?
Me:  Yes!
Baby Monkey:  Maybe you could make chicken for dinner some night.

January 10, 2012

Dinner by Candlelight

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:06 am
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Our house is loud.

I mean, seriously loud.

My monkeys are good kids, but they are loud kids.

Even while playing chess or doing a jigsaw puzzle, Monkey in the Middle is talking to himself at a volume of about 8 (out of 10).

Baby Monkey keeps up a continuous supply of chatter at about a 6.

Monkey Girl is probably the quietest, but when she gets going, she tries to talk over her brothers and gets up to a volume of 7.

And Tiny Monkey is growing to believe that the only way to be heard in this house is to scream over everyone, and so his baby chatter registers an ear-shattering 103 (again, out of 10).

I’m used to it, but I don’t like it.

I’m the only child of two only children and my house, growing up, was quiet.

Really, really quiet.

Even when we were all home, we were probably all reading, and so the saying about hearing a pin drop would not be an exaggeration.

Anyway, it’s a different story here.

One of my favorite times of day is dinner time, because the six of us sit around the table, together, and talk about our days.

I’ve shared this before.

However, even at dinner, it’s not an orderly sharing of ideas.

Not that it should be.

I have four little kids, and when they are all enthusiastically trying to tell about their days at the same time, it gets a bit…exciting.

So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring it down a bit, around dinner time.

I’m a teacher, so all day I’m saying things like “One voice, please” or “Raise your hand if you have something to say,” and I really don’t want to have to do it at home.

I have friends who have a “talking stick” and they pass the stick around and whoever holds the stick gets the floor.

Like it, but I also kinda like the popcorn talking…just not the volume.

So, one night, I set out some candles and lit them.

I dimmed the lights, set the table and called everyone in for dinner.

At first, the monkeys were mystified.

“What’s the occasion?”  they wondered.

“Nothing special,” I assured them.  “I just thought we could fancy up our dinner a little.”

And, strangely, the low lights and the candles did just what I thought they’d do.

Brought down the noise level.

The monkeys were just as excited to tell us about their days and there was just as much talking as before, but they were finally using, what I would call, “inside voices” and I could feel my blood pressure lowering and my chi focusing itself in very healthy ways.

I don’t really know what chi is, but it sounded very zen.

Not really sure what zen means either, but I’m pretty sure it conveys my meaning.

Basically, I felt good.

The side benefits of the quieter dinner were completely unexpected.

The monkeys ate slower, less milk was spilled, they were happy to sit for longer, and they all managed to get their dishes into the dishwasher when dinner was over without being reminded.

Who knew?

So, each night, now, at dinner, whether it’s something fancy or leftover casserole and leftover pizza, I set the table, light the candles and let a nice, quiet family dinner commence.

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