The Ordinary Moments #4 – Mealtimes
It’s lovely when we all get to eat together when at family events like the picture above for my brother Jacob’s birthday last week. We often aim to eat together at home, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. There’ll be times when Eden has gone for a nap, times when Judah has gone for a nap, sometimes we’re somewhere where we don’t all fit around the table (can be a problem when you’re a family of 6), sometimes we have to prepare something separate for Eden, although if we’re at home we cook things that she can eat with us. All these different scenarios make it even more special when we all get to sit together.
One of my favourite purchases when we were expecting Eden was the mamas & papas ‘pippop’ travel booster seat. This lived at my parents for a long time for Judah to eat with us, as it would’ve been a nightmare to keep taking the highchair out with us, not to mention it wouldn’t really fit in the car. Judah got to a place where he doesn’t need to be strapped in, and can sit on a normal chair with us now and eat, this happened at an appropriate time when Eden needed to be able to start using it, so that was a great coincide. We have brought this travel booster down South with us and it has enabled Eden to still join in with us too.
With the girls, the main thing to watch at mealtime is portion control. Depending on how they feel about a meal they can scoff their food and want seconds (definitely the more rare end of the scale, and happens more after a very active day), or they drag it out and make it last so slowly. This can be the same meal as well ie. spaghetti bolognese they shovelled in 2 weeks ago, they drag out for well over an hour the latter occasion. We always insist they finish their food (within reason, more recently we just make sure they’ve made an effort to eat it all, as they’ve got better at knowing to give it a good go) so we have to make sure we portion it out appropriately. I remember a phase a couple of years ago where we were trying to establish discipline for mealtime and they always had to clear their plate to move from the table. This didn’t work the day that James gave Shayla the hugest bowl of Cheerios, I had to then explain to a 2 year old that of course she didn’t need to eat it all but that was just because Daddy had been silly and given her too much to eat. There was a similar incident in Croydon a couple of Christmas’ ago when I didn’t think properly whilst putting the buffet breakfast on Shayla’s plate for her as she pointed at what she wanted. People were actually pointing, and talking about how much was on the tiny 3 year olds plate at other tables. *oops* Obviously, I didn’t make her eat all of that either. Anyway, as a result of our mealtime rules there are sometimes moments where I can snap pictures like this …
Isis is giving me the ‘I don’t really want to eat anymore’ look. To be fair, she kept going for a good while longer before I could see that she was actually full and relieved her from trying. They still always manage to find space for dessert though, of course.
I guess mealtimes will always be shifting form for us for a few more years as we battle with toddlers staying in their chairs, and work around naps, but I look forward to being able to always have that family meal together in the evenings. The children are fantastic at saying ‘grace’ before we eat now. Even Judah prayed yesterday when he had his food infront of him and the rest was still being served out, ‘thank You Jesus for food, Amen’ and then he started munching. So cute, and funny, guess he didn’t want to wait to eat any longer *laughs*.
I love picnics (outside or on the rug when it’s raining), breakfasts, dinners, anytime where we can all be together and I can watch their happy little faces enjoying something James or I prepared for them. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see them enjoy their meal, especially on those days where they’ve not really eaten properly due to illness or being distracted. They are very active children so I’m always glad to know they’ve got some sustinence to keep them going.
I look forward to all the family times, celebrations, hard times that we will be able to share together and relax together whilst knowing we can always come around the dinner table and be together.