Dreaming of a Downton Dinner

I’m not fancy and I won’t begin to pretend to be. I think I’ve only used my wedding china twice in 13 years and both times were before Logan (age 8) was born. I have used my stemware but that is only because I love wine and sometimes run out of solo cups. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry and don’t buy expensive shoes. (Yes, Trey, I do buy a lot of shoes but that isn’t what we are talking about.) I don’t think I have unreasonable expectations for the dinner table. I require nothing close to the meals depicted on Downton Abbey. I simply want dinners to be time for our little family to enjoy being together. Lately, our dinners have been less than ideal. The Dowager would die.

Below is a simple list of what I expect from my family at dinner.

  • Shirts are required. I recognize that boys often go without shirts but not at dinner. What would you think if I sat down to eat my broccoli topless? (Side note: I would never eat topless because we have too many windows and know our neighbors. Also, I tend to spill food and need fabric to soak up those spills and shield me from burns…not that moms ever get hot meals.)
  • Sit up straight. We don’t lie on the table and we don’t rest our chins on the table.
  • If you don’t like the food, get over it. I make one meal and you either eat it or don’t. After waking up early to get everyone out the door on time, working a full time job, racing to daycares, and then making dinner, I can guarantee it won’t be received well if you turn your nose up. If you say “YUCK” or “I hate it when you make ___” expect Mommy to slam something down, use her scary voice, look at you with her scary eyes…better safe than sorry, just RUN! I don’t expect you to make a “happy plate.” Just try a bite of everything on the table and keep your negative opinions to yourself.
  • Don’t throw food off your plate to the dogs. Jack, I’m looking at you. Banjo and Mojo are fat. You are not helping the problem.
  • If you have food in your mouth that doesn’t taste good to you, politely swallow and don’t take another bite. Do not spit your food, rub it in your hair, or “hide” it down the front of your diaper or between your back and the highchair. Ahem, Jack.
  • Trey, when you say “This is actually pretty good” the compliment is null. The word actually is forbidden at our table.
  • Don’t play with your toes at the table.
  • When you are finished eating, either remain at the table to participate in a family discussion or ask to be excused from the table. It is not necessary to throw your food across the room to signal you are finished.
  • No expression of gas at the table from any orifice. Also, discussions of gas or bodily fluids is strictly prohibited during dinner. (Save it for later, you know I love a good poop joke!)
  • No arguing at the table. Don’t spit at your brother, sass your dad, argue with me, or scream “NO, NO!” Pretend to like your family, damnit!
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