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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Little Miss Manners

So tell me, O wise Internets. What is your take on this issue?

I am the chief cook & bottle washer in the house. I get home from work around 5:15. I start making dinner pretty much as soon as I walk in. Usually one or both kids are "helping" me in the kitchen. Will's job is making sure that everyone has at the very least 6 spoons and 4 forks at your place setting. Maggie is busy licking(haha, gross; I know!) & then putting ice cubes in Joe's glass for his soda. While I am plating the dinner, and Maggie is setting the plates at the table, Will announces that it is time to,"EAT, EAT DINNA!!!" At this proclamation, the 3 non-cooking people seat themselves. I am usually still in the kitchen, turning off burners/oven, getting drinks for the kids, grabbing napkins, putting away the extra 30 pieces of silverware etc.etc...

By the time that I sit down at the table, they are already digging into/halfway through their dinner. Isn't it proper etiquette to wait until everyone is seated before eating? Don't even get me started on the whole saying Grace before meals thing. I pretty much give thanks while I'm serving so that the little barbarians don't have to wait another 45 seconds to bow their heads and give thanks.

I really don't like to serve dinner "family-style" and just put everything out in bowls & serving platters to just "help yourselves" as:

#1 the table isn't really big enough for that (I could put the leaf in, but I don't want to)
#2 that's just more dishes for me to have to wash (by hand, mind you) later that evening.
#3 I have found that if I leave the whole roast/meatloaf/chicken/meatballs whatever
on the table, Joe takes it as a personal challenge to see if he can eat the entire thing.

There have been many a night when I finally sit at the table to start my (now only slightly warm) meal when everyone else is just finishing. I still try make them wait to leave the table until everyone is finished, but usually, I just let them be excused to go play or whatever.

So, Interwebs, am I just being overly sensitive and feeling more like Alice, than Mommy or do I have a legitimate gripe here? Any and all suggestions /validations will be appreciated.

6 comments:

K said...

Dad especially needs to have the kids wait for you to sit down. That is common courtesy. And dad needs a whooping if he takes one bite before you sit down. ;o)

DD said...

There's nothing wrong with starting a new rule as this stage of the game for everyone.

You could also try not serving anything until you all are ready to eat at the same time and have Maggie and Joe help set the table when the food is ready.

kate w. said...

Cat- have you been peeking in my windows? You have just told the story of every dinner we have here and it ticks me off. I don't think everyone is THAT far along eating BUT when I am plating my food and John calls me to into the dining room for Grace instead of just waiting another 30 seconds pushes me into P.O.ed land at least three times a week. Seriously? They can't wait? Now, I do have to say the John is very good about having the kids thank me for a good dinner etc. but let's not get me ranting about who has to set the table and why... grr...

OvaGirl said...

Yeah i pretty much think that everyone should wait until all the people who are meant to be at the table are seated. ESPECIALLY when that person actually cooked the meal! It's hard when the kids are tiny to make them wait but I really think dad should do his best to distract/amuse them until you are there. Another option is if the kids can't wait a moment longer they can ask "Please can i start?" or whatever. But I agree dad should wait!

Anne said...

This is an issue at our house too. Pretty much every night I find myself taking my first bite just as Sophie finishes hers and wants to get down or have a cookie, and I say, "OH PLEASE let me eat my dinner!"

let me know if you figure out a solution. screaming hungry barbarians totally trump the manners of waiting for everyone to be served....just part of me trying to pick my battles.

liz said...

It's rude for them to start without you. Sincerely.

To speed up your arrival at the table (so that you can eat your meal hot!), your husband can pour the drinks while the rest of the table is being set and the extra silverware can go in a basket by your seat until the end of dinner.

But it's truly important for them to learn to wait until everyone is seated unless you specifically give them permission to start without you (potluck night!)