Before I had children, I had absolutely no idea that a standard dinner with a 2 year old and a 4 year old would go something like this. Just to set the scene, we are eating pizza which is a favourite in our house and generally gets met with a similar level of enthusiasm I reserve for cider and hobnobs. Both children sit on tripp-trapp high chairs that they can get in and out of themselves without adult intervention. The Diva (4) eats. A lot. She isn’t fussy. She would eat you if you hung out near her plate long enough. The Hulk has important business elsewhere and will tolerate eating for a maximum of about 5 minutes before the lure of the toot-toot cars is too great. He mainly eats orange food.
Daddy gets the children seated at the table using his excited voice to build the pizza based excitement. The children arrive. They are hungry. The Hulk inhales 2 slices of pizza in as many minutes. Having taken the edge of his hunger he is now looking a bit bored. He carefully picks up the slices of pepper and cucumber I have put on his plate and moves them onto the tablecloth next to him. It is unacceptable that they might touch the other slice of pizza on his plate, and they must immediately be moved. I move them back and try to coerce him into eating them. He throws them on the floor in disgust. As he is now in the swing of chucking stuff on the floor, he lobs his last bit of pizza over the edge of the table after them. He then realises that he actually might like to eat the pizza so he gets off his chair and crawls on the floor to find it. I look under the table, to find him on his stomach on the floor, eating the remaining bit of pizza off the floor like a dog. I can’t be arsed to stop him so we just point at him and laugh instead. (I know, but sometimes you’ve got to pick your fights right…….no?)
Once he’s eaten the pizza, he starts licking a chair leg. I don’t think I have cleaned the chair legs since I had children (really, who cleans chair legs?), so I pick him up and put him back on his chair. He starts throwing a tantrum and spills the water we have optimistically put in an open cup for him. It goes on his plate. his pizza crusts are wet. The tantrum ramps up a notch. Then water starts dripping off the table and into his lap. This fact brings the tantrum to a fantastic crescendo. We let him get down, remove his trousers and we proceed to ignore him.
We continue with the conversation he interrupted, asking the Diva about school. Halfway through a sentence, she stops to announce “Oh my gosh! I just did a poot! (this is the U-rated fart euphemism in our house) She then collapses in giggles, I snigger behind my hand whilst attempting to look on disapprovingly, Mr Mess Stress and Fancy Dress looks on proudly as if this is finest thing he has been able to pass down to his delightful offspring. (It possibly is, unless you count the ability to sing without using a single one of the correct notes) The Diva has devoured all her pizza, all her vegetables and half a jar of beetroot (she once heard it gives you pink wee and has been trying to find out ever since) The Hulk has eaten two mini slices and could do with eating a bit more. We try to get him back to the table. He gives us short shrift.
We move onto pudding. Fruit is distributed between us all. Again the Diva devours hers. The Hulk reappears with a bowl of plastic food and proceeds to make “nom nom nom” sound effects as he pretends to eat plastic broccoli. From the smug smile on his face, I assume he is well aware of the irony, he cant be bothered to talk, but he finds so many alternative ways to express his general disgust in my parenting. He laughs in our faces and runs off again. The Diva has eaten her body weight in strawberries and demands a Cornetto. For reasons best kept to herself she decides to eat the bottom of the cone first. The whole ice cream falls apart in her hand. She loses the plot.
Is it bedtime yet………….?