So, I bet when you picture the scene at this rambler's table, you envision genteel conversation and good manners. We are all speaking softly, talking about our day. Everyone is eating their food, no complaints. I'm sure that's what your image is....I'm so sorry, I'm afraid I'm about to burst your bubble.
Last night I was actually trying to encourage good manners in my girls. This is a frequent endeavor at our house. I'm not sure why my success is beyond grasp. Bookworm tends to eat with her arms spread out, resting on the table. Since it's just her and her sister over there, this isn't a problem here. But can you imagine sitting next to her in a restaurant? She'd hog the whole table! She says she doesn't do that at school. Of course, that's impossible in such a tight fit.
Popcorn has difficulty sitting down to eat. We actually had to send her to bed 2 times with no supper before she took us seriously on the sitting down and eating factor. She prefers to stand to the side of her chair. She also tends to sit off-center in her chair, which makes it difficult to get food from her plate to her mouth without it going all over her chair and the floor. She has destroyed the cushions on our chairs, and they are now her first housewarming gift when she gets a home of her own.
Last night we had an etiquette discussion. We talked about manners. How to hold a fork. How to sit. How to chew with your mouth closed. How to not spread your arms as wide as you can, and yet not keep them crammed up against your sides and shovel your food in like a total freak. We talked about lisps. We talked about thumb-sucking and it's relativity to lisps. We talked about the possibility of an appliance to stop thumb-sucking in a certain child's future. This lead to tears. Which lead to me regretting mentioning it at the table (by the way, I didn't mention it...another adult who shall remain unnamed at this time brought up the dreaded appliance). Which lead to her not finishing her egg sandwich....
Did you know we love egg sandwiches in this family? Seeing a whole 1/4 egg sandwich sitting on a plate, and not being eaten really tests the fortitude of this family......
Me: Ummmm, I'm sorry you're upset....Are you going to eat that?
Studmuffin: Leave her alone...She's going to eat it.
Time passes by. Tears are dried. Topics changed.....The egg sandwich remained (mind you, a whole 45 seconds has passed.)
Me: Are you going to eat the rest of your sandwich?
Child: No, you can have it.
I eagerly scoop up the sandwich off of the plate, attempt to get it to my mouth when Studmuffin tries to jerk it out of my mouth. I gnaw off a hunk, the rest falls on my plate. I am trying to grab it, but Studmuffin is holding my hands down. I'm laughing, practically spewing egg sandwich all over the table. Studmuffin tries to eat the remains of the sandwich, trough style (for those of you with better manners than us, and incapable of imagining a trough style of eating, this involves planting your face in the plate and eating off of it.) I free one hand, and scoop it out from under his nose, and shove another bite in. At this point the children have joined in the fracas and are tickling me, trying to keep me from eating any more. I'm in serious peril of choking now. I give up the remaining bite of sandwich to Studmuffin. He wolfs it down like he hasn't seen food in months.
So, the question I have for you is this:
Why can't my children learn basic etiquette?